Amazon has emerged as a big player in the streaming video game, and it recently scored some big wins at the Golden Globes thanks to The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel. Once upon a time, streaming via Amazon Prime was only available via a full year's membership, but that changed in 2016 when Amazon added a monthly subscription option that allowed consumers to only shell out the money from month to month if they didn't want to pay for an entire year. It was a convenient option for any who didn't want to make a year's commitment of $99 at once. Unfortunately for those monthly subscribers, however, the cost will be increasing in the not-too-distant future.
In an email to Prime members on January 19, Amazon revealed upcoming changes to monthly membership. The previous price of $10.99 per month will be bumped up to $12.99 per month, plus applicable taxes. The new price will apply to all monthly renewals starting March 15, 2018, so there's time to cancel if you're not willing to pay the extra couple of bucks.
On the one hand, an extra $2 might not sound like all that much money. On the other hand, $2 adds up over the span of a year. To subscribe to Amazon Prime monthly for a full year prior to March 15, you had to pay $138.88. Subscribing monthly for a year following the March 15 change will cost $155.88. That's a big increase, and perhaps not one that everybody will be willing to pay.
The good news is that the yearly price for an Amazon Prime subscription will remain the same at $99, which is a great deal if you want a full year of Amazon streaming goodness. It was already nearly $40 cheaper than the monthly option prior to the upcoming price hike; it will be nearly $60 cheaper in a couple of months. Subscribing to the yearly option does mean paying a hefty price up front, but it's a solid investment if you're going to stream all year round (and want to take advantage of free two-day shipping).
In the message to members, the Amazon Prime Team did not specify why only the monthly fee was increasing. That said, it's a safe bet that Amazon is looking to discourage customers from subscribing and then cancelling for the sake of watching single shows. Streaming video makes it easy to watch a full series or at least multiple episodes in a relatively small window of time, and some folks might be inclined to only subscribe for long enough to binge-watch a certain series. They might not be inclined to do so with the price hike per month. That $99 per year could start looking pretty great.
We'll have to wait and see. The streaming game is competitive, and Netflix remains king. Hulu is gaining ground, and Amazon will need to keep trying new things to keep up. Critically-acclaimed originals like The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel are certainly helpful when it comes to raising the company's profile. Interestingly, Amazon recently gave the axe to a few of its recent originals.