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Report: Amazon Plans Free, Ad-Supported Video Streaming Service

Alongside the growing amount of original content, signing up for one or more streaming video subscription services such as Netflix or Prime Video comes with the added bonus of no ads. However, Amazon is apparently working on a completely free version of its Prime Video service, but it will be full of ads.

According to AdAge, Amazon is currently in talks with movie studios, media companies, and TV networks to plan content for a free video streaming service. Where as Prime subscribers pay $99 a year and gain access to Prime Video without adverts, this service wouldn't cost consumers a dime. In return for that free viewing experience, Amazon would surround content with advertising to cover the costs of the service.

Earlier this year, the number of Amazon prime subscribers went past 80 million, but that still leaves tens of million more who don't or even won't pay for access to streamed content. A free service may entice them to try Amazon's platform, at which point Amazon could regularly try and upsell them to a Prime subscription as well as introducing all the other perks paying for Prime offers. And don't forget, free viewers will likely still need to buy a Amazon Fire TV device to watch.

If this free service sounds like a return to regular ad-funded TV, think again. Amazon is apparently planning a much more lucrative deal to content owners. For example, it has been suggested Amazon will share advertising revenue with content creators by allowing them to setup their own channels and provide a set number of hours of content each week. We could effectively have the equivalent of YouTube, only each channel would be from an approved and established movie studio, TV network, or media company.

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As to what content we should expect to see on a free Prime Video service, expect a little of everything from children's programming, travel, and cooking, to classic TV shows and the thousands of old movies the studios have to offer.

For now, Amazon is choosing not to comment and the focus remains on Prime subscriptions. If a free service does appear, do you think it will use the Prime Video name or some alternate and new branding?

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Facebook mistakenly leaked developer analytics reports to testers

Set the “days without a Facebook’s privacy problem” counter to zero. This week, an alarmed developer contacted TechCrunch, informing us that their Facebook App Analytics weekly summary email had been delivered to someone outside their company. It contains sensitive business information including weekly average users, page views, and new users. 43 hours after we contacted Facebook about the issue, the social network now confirms to TechCrunch that 3 percent of apps using Facebook Analytics had their weekly summary reports sent to their app’s testers, instead of only the app’s developers, admins, and analysts. Testers are often people outside of a developer’s company. If the leaked info got to an app’s competitors, it could provide them an advantage. At least they weren’t allowed to click through to view more extensive historical analytics data on Facebook’s site. Facebook tells us it has fixed the problem and no personally identifiable information or contact info was improperly disclosed. It plans to notify all impacted developers about the leak today and has already begun. Below you can find the email the company is sending: Subject line: We recently resolved an error with your weekly summary email We wanted to let you know about a recent error where a summary e-mail from Facebook Analytics about your app was sent to testers of your app ‘[APP NAME WILL BE DYNAMICALLY INSERTED HERE]’. As you know, we send weekly summary emails to keep you up to date with some of your top-level metrics — these emails go to people you’ve identified as Admins, Analysts and Developers. You can also add Testers to your account, people designated by you to help test your apps when they’re in development. We mistakenly sent the last weekly email summary to your Testers, in addition to the usual group of Admins, Analysts and Developers who get updates. Testers were only able to see the high-level summary information in the email, and were not able to access any other account information; if they clicked “View Dashboard” they did not have access to any of your Facebook Analytics information. We apologize for the error and have made updates to prevent this from happening again. One affected developer told TechCrunch “Not sure why it would ever be appropriate to send business metrics to an app user. When I created my app (in beta) I added dozens of people as testers as it only meant they could login to the app…not access info!” They’re still waiting for the disclosure from Facebook. Facebook wouldn’t disclose a ballpark number of apps impacted by the error. Last year it announced 1 million apps, sites, and bots were on Facebook Analytics. However, this issue only affected apps, and only 3% of them. The mistake comes just weeks after a bug caused 14 million users’ Facebook status update composers to change their default privacy setting to public. And Facebook has had problems with misdelivering business information before. In 2014, Facebook accidentally sent advertisers receipts for other business’ ad campaigns, causing significant confusion. The company has also misreported metrics about Page reach and more on several occasions. Though user data didn’t leak and today’s issue isn’t as severe as others Facebook has dealt with, developers still consider their business metrics to be private, making this a breach of that privacy. While Facebook has been working diligently to patch app platform privacy holes since the Cambridge Analytica scandal, removing access to many APIs and strengthening human reviews of apps, issues like today’s make it hard to believe Facebook has a proper handle on the data of its 2 billion users.

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