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Amazon reportedly working on free Fire TV video news app

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Sounds like Amazon is taking some inspiration from The Roku Channel

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Photo by Chris Welch / The Verge

Amazon is apparently looking to follow Roku in building a free app that includes video news updates from TV networks. The Information reports that Amazon has already approached several news organizations and Verizon (owner of Yahoo News and Finance) in hopes of distributing their content through the upcoming app for its Fire TV streaming devices.

As part of its free, ad-supported Roku Channel, Roku currently offers news programming from ABC News, Cheddar, Yahoo News and Finance, and other partners. Amazon might try to get a step ahead of Roku by including local news affiliates alongside those nationwide news sources, according to The Information’s report. That could appeal to cord cutters — assuming they’re not already getting their news fix via an antenna. The company aims to launch this news-focused video app sometime in the next few months.

Apart from giving its customers another free-to-watch option for content, the app could also enable Amazon to bring in more ad dollars by running spots before or in between featured segments. Roku generates the bulk of its revenues not through device sales, but through its booming advertising operation.

The Roku Channel can be watched on third-party devices in addition to Roku’s own living room hardware. Aside from the aforementioned news videos, it also offers a growing selection of past movies and TV shows that users can stream for free. More recently, Roku began offering add-on subscriptions to Showtime, Starz, and other premium networks from right inside The Roku Channel — a model that takes after Amazon’s Prime Video Channels. And now Amazon seems to be taking a page from Roku’s playbook.

The Information says Amazon is ultimately hoping to integrate its news video app into Alexa, but there aren’t many specifics beyond that.