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Online retailer readies Amazon OTT challenger

US-based online retail company Overstock.com has revealed an Amazon Prime Instant Video rival at the NATPE conference in Miami.

Patrick ByrneOverstock, which claims around 25 million to 40 million unique users a month, plans to launch a video-on-demand service with more than 30,000 titles, according to its CEO, Patrick Byrne.

The VOD service is to go live mid-2015, with an SVOD service of acquired and original content to follow by year-end.

Content will be accessed through an unnamed third-party that is connected with major US studios, he added. Original shows from production companies will be part of the “second phase” of the roll out.

Pricing will be based on loyalty programmes, similar to Amazon’s on-demand offer.

Amazon allows consumers to rent or purchase titles or get them as part of its US$99 annual Prime membership, which includes quick shipping and music streaming.

Overstock currently prices its loyalty membership at US$20 annually, with 5% discounted from every item purchased and 40% off select products, plus shipping at no additional cost. Loyalty customers will get the VOD service as part of this offer, with the streaming service made available at an additional cost.

“We will be a competitor to Amazon,” said Byrne. “Our loyalty program is better than Amazon’s; we give you 5-25% back on what you spend, so part of the difference is will actually pay people back for their digital downloads.”

The service will also be competing with the likes of Hulu and Netflix, with HBO also set to launch its subscription OTT service this year.