Amazon (AMZN) Preparing Free, Ad-Supported Streaming Service: Report

NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- Amazon (AMZN) is reportedly preparing to launch an ad-based TV and music service in the coming months according to a Wall Street Journal report.

Shares of Amazon were gaining 0.1% to $338.82 in after-hours trading Thursday.

The streaming service would feature Amazon's original programming including shows such as Alpha House and Betas, and could potentially offer licensed content as well. The service wouldn't require an Amazon Prime subscription, making it free for all users.

Amazon may have difficulty getting deals for the content, however. Content providers restrict the free, solely ad-support version of Hulu to desktops, making users pay to watch the service on a TV or mobile device.

News of the service comes a few days before Amazon is expected to unveil its new set-top box on April 2. This service may not be ready in time for the device's launch, however.

Such a streaming service will help Amazon compete against Netflix (NFLX) in the streaming media market. Shares of Netflix were falling 2.8% to $354.01 in after-hours trading.

Must read: Warren Buffett's 10 Favorite Stocks

STOCKS TO BUY: TheStreet Quant Ratings has identified a handful of stocks that can potentially TRIPLE in the next 12 months. Learn more.

TheStreet Ratings team rates AMAZON.COM INC as a Hold with a ratings score of C. TheStreet Ratings Team has this to say about their recommendation:

"We rate AMAZON.COM INC (AMZN) a HOLD. The primary factors that have impacted our rating are mixed -- some indicating strength, some showing weaknesses, with little evidence to justify the expectation of either a positive or negative performance for this stock relative to most other stocks. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its robust revenue growth, impressive record of earnings per share growth and compelling growth in net income. However, as a counter to these strengths, we also find weaknesses including generally higher debt management risk and poor profit margins."

Highlights from the analysis by TheStreet Ratings Team goes as follows:

  • The revenue growth came in higher than the industry average of 8.8%. Since the same quarter one year prior, revenues rose by 20.3%. Growth in the company's revenue appears to have helped boost the earnings per share.
  • AMAZON.COM INC reported significant earnings per share improvement in the most recent quarter compared to the same quarter a year ago. The company has demonstrated a pattern of positive earnings per share growth over the past year. We feel that this trend should continue. This trend suggests that the performance of the business is improving. During the past fiscal year, AMAZON.COM INC turned its bottom line around by earning $0.58 versus -$0.10 in the prior year. This year, the market expects an improvement in earnings ($1.97 versus $0.58).
  • The gross profit margin for AMAZON.COM INC is currently lower than what is desirable, coming in at 30.26%. Regardless of AMZN's low profit margin, it has managed to increase from the same period last year. Despite the mixed results of the gross profit margin, the net profit margin of 0.93% trails the industry average.
  • AMZN's debt-to-equity ratio of 0.71 is somewhat low overall, but it is high when compared to the industry average, implying that the management of the debt levels should be evaluated further. Despite the fact that AMZN's debt-to-equity ratio is mixed in its results, the company's quick ratio of 0.67 is low and demonstrates weak liquidity.
  • You can view the full analysis from the report here: AMZN Ratings Report

STOCKS TO BUY: TheStreet Quant Ratings has identified a handful of stocks that can potentially TRIPLE in the next 12 months. Learn more.

Editor's Note: Any reference to TheStreet Ratings and its underlying recommendation does not reflect the opinion of TheStreet, Inc. or any of its contributors including Jim Cramer or Stephanie Link.

More from Markets

Inside Carnival's Mind Blowing New Horizon Cruise Ship (Video)

Inside Carnival's Mind Blowing New Horizon Cruise Ship (Video)

Jim Cramer: The 10-Year Yield Could Go to 2.75%

Jim Cramer: The 10-Year Yield Could Go to 2.75%

Oil Slumps, Gas Spikes Ahead of Holiday Weekend; Assessing the Chipmakers--ICYMI

Oil Slumps, Gas Spikes Ahead of Holiday Weekend; Assessing the Chipmakers--ICYMI

Week Ahead: Wall Street Looks to Jobs Report as North Korea Meeting Less Certain

Week Ahead: Wall Street Looks to Jobs Report as North Korea Meeting Less Certain

Dow and S&P 500 Decline, Energy Shares Fall as U.S. Crude Oil Slides 4%

Dow and S&P 500 Decline, Energy Shares Fall as U.S. Crude Oil Slides 4%