LOS ANGELES — Amazon.com is gearing up to be the first direct competitor to Netflix’s popular online movie service.

The Web’s biggest retailer has held talks with Hollywood studios and several independent companies about acquiring library content for a subscription movie streaming service similar to Netflix, according to people familiar with the matter.

The online retail giant has scooped up rights to some independently produced movies but has yet to strike a deal with any of Hollywood’s big six studios, those people said.

Studio executives say they are weighing several issues as they considered signing up with Amazon, including whether the retailer would be willing to pay as much for content as Netflix Inc., and how it might affect the sale of DVDs and the value of current and future distribution deals with cable networks.

Amazon is not the only Web-based company looking to take on Netflix, though it does appear to be the furthest along. Online television distributor Hulu has talked to several studios about adding films to its subscription service Hulu Plus, according to people close to the situation. Netflix has a growing amount of TV content, which has already put the two companies into competition.

However, Hulu has never before featured movies in its subscription offering.

Many potential competitors have been eyeing the success of Netflix, which added 7.7 million subscribers in 2010, bringing its total to 20 million, and saw its stock price more than triple in the last year.

Acquiring rights to movies currently airing on pay cable, as Netflix has done in deals with Epix and Starz, can be very expensive. Netflix is paying Epix up to $1 billion over five years.

As previously reported when Amazon first began seriously considering launching an online offering similar to Netflix’s last summer, the service will be part of the company’s Amazon Prime.

People who pay $79 a year for unlimited shipping would also get free access to streaming movies.

That’s less expensive than even the cheapest Netflix plan, which costs $95.88 a year but includes significantly more content than Amazon is likely to have initially.