(GeekWire Photo / Clare McGrane) Fire TV users may soon be getting their news from Amazon. The company plans to debut a free app for streaming video news, according to that cited sources familiar with the plans. The free, ad-supported news app will launch in the next few months, according to the report. Amazon has reportedly approached Verizon, the parent company of Yahoo News and Finance, and the tech giant may include local news as part of the offering. The company plans to integrate the app with Alexa. GeekWire reached out to Amazon for comment, and we will update this story if we hear back. Fire TV competitor Roku already offers free streaming news through , which brings in news from ABC, Yahoo, TMZ and Cheddar, among others. The news platform would give Amazon a shiny new ad revenue stream. That model has and, increasingly, for Amazon, which from advertising and other services. Roku is the leader in streaming services with 37 percent of the market. But Amazon and claimed 28 percent in 2018, according to research firm Parks Associates. Amazon may be following Roku’s lead in streaming news, but that hasn’t always been the case. Roku recently for premium channels like Showtime and Starz that mimicked Amazon Prime’s offering. The dark horse in the streaming race is Apple, which revealed earlier this week. Apple’s latest foray into news is a $9.99/month subscription service called Apple News+ that includes access to more than 300 magazines.
Twitch is getting into the karaoke world with what it calls a new category of game by the name of Twitch Sings. The game-streaming service owned by Amazon announced it is developing a new game concept with Harmonix — developer of the Rock Band and Guitar Hero franchises — at its TwitchCon event in San Jose today. Twitch is testing the karaoke concept at the event and through a closed beta. Players will be able to share their songs across the Twitch platform and perform duets with community members. Audience members will be able to request songs, create challengers and shower the crowd with Bits, the currency used to support streamers on Twitch. , Twitch said that karaoke and Twitch Sings is just the beginning for an entirely new type of game, focused on heavy interaction. We’re just starting to scratch the surface of what’s possible when everyone wants to play together. There are many games and genres that are made better on Twitch, and we believe there’s an opportunity for a new category of game to emerge that’s made to be streamed, where the audience isn’t a ‘nice to have’ — they’re a crucial part of the game experience. We knew karaoke would be the perfect place to start. It’s live. It’s always entertaining. And when it really gets going, the line between the crowd and the stage disappears completely. In addition to Twitch Sings, the company announced it will expand its e-sports program, Twitch Rivals, from 55 events so far this year to 128 in 2019. Twitch also announced a series of new features on the platform that make it easier for streamers to be discovered, monetize their efforts and connect with fans. Amazon acquired Twitch in 2014 for $970 million. Amazon went on to create a series of Amazon Prime goodies for gamers called . This year it started on Twitch. At the conference, the company announced that at any given time, there at least 1 million people on Twitch.