On Nov. 5, 2013, satirical news site The Onion posted an article claiming that online retailer Overstock was going to create a streaming service for original video content. On Jan. 20, 2015, Overstock announced that it was planning to create a streaming service for original video content. For real.
Overstock, a Utah-based online retailer that sells more than 1 million different products, is planning to start the streaming service this year with around 30,000 videos to choose from, CEO Patrick Byrne announced Tuesday at the National Association of Television Program Executives conference. You'll also be able to rent and purchase content.
"It's kind of ironic," Overstock President Stormy Simon told The Huffington Post on Wednesday. Simon said someone approached her after Tuesday's press conference to remind her of the 2013 article. She hadn't remembered the story, but the president of The Onion texted her after Tuesday's announcement. "It's hysterical," she said. "Reading it today, I thought, 'This looks like a press release!'"
Overstock's new service will be part of Overstock's membership program, Club O. For $19.95 per year, a Club O membership gets you extra discounts, free shipping, special deals at restaurants and more. Membership is free for students, first responders and military personnel.
“We think this makes perfect sense for us to get into this business,” Byrne said. He added that the goal is to position Overstock as a competitor to Amazon. Club O is Overstock's version of Amazon's Prime membership, which costs $99 per year and gets users free two-day shipping, access to free streaming movies, TV shows and original content, free streaming music, access to the Kindle lending library and more.
The 2013 Onion story, called "Overstock.com Announces Plans To Develop Original Programming, quoted Overstock's fake "vice president of original programming," Daniel Schulte, as saying "We’re incredibly excited to finally enter the arena of producing high-quality original entertainment, and we look forward to creating some great new comedy, drama, and children’s series that will make Overstock.com a true player in the original programming game.” Pretty on-point.
The Onion did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
This story has been updated with a statement from Overstock President Stormy Simon.