On Sunday evening, Amazon notified visitors to its website that it now offers two new Prime price plans, the first of which costs customers $8.99 a month to stream movies and television shows from a new video-only version of its Prime service. A second new plan, priced at $10.99 a month, will provide access to the full benefits of the Prime service, including video streaming, free two-day shipping on Amazon orders, music streaming and other services.
The new options lower the entry barrier for new customers who don;t have to be locked into an annual commitment to Prime.
Obviously these new monthly plans will cost more than the current annual plan. Customers who subscribe month-to-month for the full Prime service will pay $32.88 more a year than if they subscribe on an annual basis, while subscribers to the video service will pay $8.88 more a year while getting substantially fewer benefits, like free two-day shipping, than annual Prime members. If you plan to keep Prime long term yu should definitely look at the annual plan.
The Prime Video plan is a direct competitor to services like Netflix and Hulu that offer similar services at similar prices. Netflix has long been available on a monthly basis, without an annual commitment, offering several plans ranging from $7.99 to $11.99 a month. Hulu has monthly $7.99 and $11.99 plans.
Amazon’s video service originally seemed to be just a nice added value to Prime’s main benefit, the two-day free shipping. Not anymore. It has nabbed rights to popular series like “Downton Abbey” and “Mr. Robot,” which are not available to stream on Netflix. Like Netflix, Amazon has poured money into producing original content, including award-winning shows like “Transparent” and “Mozart in the Jungle.” (read more at NYT)