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 Netflixâs 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. Thatâs 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 âTransparent,â âMozart in the Jungle,â âCatastrophe,â âBosch,â âThe Man in the High Castle,â âRed Oaksâ and âHand of God.â
This year, Prime Video also will launch Woody Allenâs first-ever TV series, plus David E. Kelleyâs new series starring Billy Bob Thorten, as well as the third seasons of âTransparentâ and âMozart in the Jungleâ and kidsâ series including âTumble Leaf,â âThunderbirds are Goâ and an âAmerican Girlsâ live-action special.
Licensed TV shows on Prime Video include âDownton Abbey,â âThe Good Wife,â âDoctor Who,â âVikings,â âThe Americans,â âOrphan Black,â âSuits,â and older HBO programming including âBoardwalk Empireâ and âVeep,â as well as movies including âThe Hunger Games,â âInterstellarâ and âEx Machina.â
In addition, any of the Prime membership options also provide access to add-on subscriptions from Showtime, Starz and other video services.