Overstock announced that it will be the latest player in the growing video-on-demand and streaming industry with a new service that it hopes will rival Amazon Prime Instant Video.
Speaking at the National Association of Television Program Executives (NATPE) in Miami Beach, Florida, Overstock CEO Patrick Byrne said that his company is planning to launch its own over-the-top content service by the middle of the year. The service, said Byrne, will provide roughly 30,000 movie titles to begin with. However, the bigger goal is to create original content by the end of 2015.
Byrne emphasized that Overstock is currently the second biggest online mass merchant only behind Amazon. He said that he "wants to see a competitor to Amazon for across-the-board digital distribution," despite the popularity of dedicated streaming services such as Netflix and Hulu.
"We already have the traffic," he said [video]. "We are looking for a bigger and bigger share of the wallet."
Byrne is referring to the 25 to 40 million unique visitors that Overstock gets every month. However, data collected by Statista.com shows Overstock is nowhere in the top 10 biggest e-commerce websites ranked in terms of visitor number. In the third quarter of last year, Amazon ran away with the biggest number, getting 168 million unique visitors during that period. eBay comes in a far second with 111 million visitors followed by Apple's websites, Walmart, and Target.
Overstock's streaming service will be tied to Club O, its loyalty program akin to Amazon Prime. Club O members, Byrne said, are growing in triple digit rates and the company expects 10 million sign-ups by the end of the year. For $20 every year, loyalty club members receive a 5 to 25 percent return on all their purchases, a 40 percent discount on select items, and free shipping on all orders. Membership is free for military personnel, first responders and students.
Adding access to Overstock's upcoming content library will likely push the price of Club O membership higher, but Byrne declined to comment on how much it will charge. Amazon Prime, which includes free two-day shipping, unlimited access to streaming video, music, and books, and unlimited photo storage, is $99. Part of Amazon's lineup of original content is "Transparent," which recently won a Golden Globe for best TV series, and Amazon announced it is venturing into movies.
"We will be a competitor to Amazon," Byrne said. "We think our loyalty program is better than Amazon's. We give you five to 25 percent back on what you spend. So we pay people back for their digital download."
The company will use the information retrieved from what people are searching for on overstock to determine what type of content they want to see, said Byrne. The service will be run by a third-party partner that has already acquired content from major networks and studios, although Byrne did not name the partner.