Amazon, one of the e-commerce giants is now offering its video-streaming service in U.S. independent of the Prime free-shipping program. The Prime Video will cost $8.99 per month one dollar less than NetflixÃ¢Â€Â™s most popular plan. The company has used video as a key benefit to lure more customers to Prime, but Amazon sees a ripe opportunity to sell an SVOD service priced directly to compete with Netflix as well as Hulu.
The move comes just as Netflix, the No. 1 subscription VOD player, is set to raise rates for subscribers who are currently paying $7.99 per month for the two-stream HD service to $9.99 in May. Amazon Prime Video allows up to three concurrent streams per account. In addition, Amazon is offering a new payment option for full Prime membership of $10.99 monthly, with no annual commitment. ThatÃ¢Â€Â™s 25% more than the $99 annual Prime membership, but Amazon said many customers have been asking for month-to-month flexibility with the program.
The new options will begin showing up for Amazon users starting Sunday evening at amazon.com/prime, with all U.S. users scheduled to have access to them by Monday morning. The new monthly pricing options for Prime and Prime Video are available only in the U.S.
Prime includes unlimited free shipping on millions of products which includes tens of thousands of TV episodes and movies, including original series and films; unlimited access to more than a million songs with Prime Music; unlimited secure photo storage; and other benefits.
Like Netflix and Hulu, Amazon has been investing in exclusive original content as well as striking exclusive licensing pacts. Amazon Studios original series include Ã¢Â€ÂœTransparent,Ã¢Â€Â Ã¢Â€ÂœMozart in the Jungle,Ã¢Â€Â Ã¢Â€ÂœCatastrophe,Ã¢Â€Â Ã¢Â€ÂœBosch,Ã¢Â€Â Ã¢Â€ÂœThe Man in the High Castle,Ã¢Â€Â Ã¢Â€ÂœRed OaksÃ¢Â€Â and Ã¢Â€ÂœHand of God.Ã¢Â€Â
This year, Prime Video also will launch Woody AllenÃ¢Â€Â™s first-ever TV series, plus David E. KelleyÃ¢Â€Â™s new series starring Billy Bob Thorten, as well as the third seasons of Ã¢Â€ÂœTransparentÃ¢Â€Â and Ã¢Â€ÂœMozart in the JungleÃ¢Â€Â and kidsÃ¢Â€Â™ series including Ã¢Â€ÂœTumble Leaf,Ã¢Â€Â Ã¢Â€ÂœThunderbirds are GoÃ¢Â€Â and an Ã¢Â€ÂœAmerican GirlsÃ¢Â€Â live-action special.
Licensed TV shows on Prime Video include Ã¢Â€ÂœDownton Abbey,Ã¢Â€Â Ã¢Â€ÂœThe Good Wife,Ã¢Â€Â Ã¢Â€ÂœDoctor Who,Ã¢Â€Â Ã¢Â€ÂœVikings,Ã¢Â€Â Ã¢Â€ÂœThe Americans,Ã¢Â€Â Ã¢Â€ÂœOrphan Black,Ã¢Â€Â Ã¢Â€ÂœSuits,Ã¢Â€Â and older HBO programming including Ã¢Â€ÂœBoardwalk EmpireÃ¢Â€Â and Ã¢Â€ÂœVeep,Ã¢Â€Â as well as movies including Ã¢Â€ÂœThe Hunger Games,Ã¢Â€Â Ã¢Â€ÂœInterstellarÃ¢Â€Â and Ã¢Â€ÂœEx Machina.Ã¢Â€Â
In addition, any of the Prime membership options also provide access to add-on subscriptions from Showtime, Starz and other video services.