It’s pretty good to be the dominant force in any given field. Netflix has been crushing the subscription streaming service field—at least in the US—for a while, now, and other companies are constantly working to rebrand, shift focus and try new things in order to keep up. Which is why it isn’t a shock that Amazon announced this week it would be restructuring its prices… yes, to be more like Netflix.
In the past, Amazon’s video service has always been a part of the company’s Prime service. Subscribers have paid $99 a year to earn free shipping, some music downloads, access to Prime TV and other benefits. Amazon is hoping to entice its users by offering a streaming service that is extremely similar to what Netflix or Hulu offers, where subscribers will pay a small per month fee for access just to its streaming content. If you want to simply have access to stream Amazon content, you can pay $8.99 per month.
As part of the new monthly deal, Deadline notes that if you’d like to may monthly for Prime instead of annually, you can buy in at $10.99 a month. This price point is really similar to Netflix and may seem like a great deal, but it’s not exactly a bargain. At $8.99 a month, subscribers who choose the monthly streaming package will end up paying a total of $107.88 per year. At $10.99 per month, monthly payers will end up shelling out $131.88. Thus, really this is only a good deal for people who can’t currently afford to shell out $99 for a lump annual sum at once or who may only want to sign up for Amazon Prime for a few months out of the year—say when Mozart in the Jungle hits the schedule or whatever. It does give users some flexibility, at least.
The good news? The monthly fee for Amazon’s streaming service will not affect those who continue to want to pay for Prime on an annual basis. The $99 fee will still stand for those who are committed to keeping Amazon Prime’s free shipping and streaming services throughout the year.
Amazon, like Hulu and Netflix, has made a drive to start including a slew of original programming for its users to enjoy. Most prominent on Amazon are programs like the aforementioned Mozart in the Jungle, but also Transparent, The Man in the High Castle, Red Oaks, Hand of God and more. The service also has the distinction of being the home of Showtime and Starz’s streaming content, and users can add on either of those networks for an additional fee per month.
Amazon’s annual fee instead of its monthly fee has been one of the things that has made the streaming service stand out from the pack (along with the fact that Prime also offers free streaming). In a lot of ways, this has been a good thing, but offering users multiple alternatives to choose the packages they want is also a nice idea. We’ll let you know whether the new packages stick around and help Amazon to be more competitive with Netflix. Meanwhile, you can check out what the streaming services have coming up, here.