Look out Netflix: Amazon Prime Video is now stand-alone

Steven Loeb · April 18, 2016 · Short URL: https://vator.tv/n/44d6

Prime will also be available on a monthly basis, but the annual subscription will still be cheapest

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When it comes to video streaming services, Netflix reigns tall over all others. If there is another service that even comes close to rivaling it would be Amazon Prime.  There have been a few things that have likely been holding Amazon back, however, and now the company has finally addressed them.

First, there was the annual subscription, where users had to pay  in advance to use it for the rest of the year. That number could be daunting to people, so now the company is giving users the ability to pay on a monthly basis instead, Amazon has confirmed to VatorNews.

Even more importantly, Amazon is now, for the first time, also going to allow its users to sign up only for the video streaming part of the service, also on a monthly basis. The current option, to pay the $99 dollar annual fee, which was raised from $79 in 2014, for both shipping and video will still be available.

The annual fee will also remain as the best value. 

A monthly membership to Prime, with both the free shipping and the video, will cost $10.99, while the streaming part along will cost $8.99 a month. That comes to $131.88 a year for the full service, and $107.88 a year for the streaming, so it's obviously still more cost effective to just get both services and pay $99 for them.

Even if it makes less financial sense in the long-run, paying on a per month basis will appeal to those who don't want to necessarily sign up for a whole year, or who are intimidated by high fee.

"Tens of millions of Prime members already enjoy fast, free shipping, unlimited video streaming, unlimited access to more than a million songs, unlimited photo storage and more," an Amazon spokesperson told me.

"But a Prime membership does not need to be one size fits all. So Amazon is introducing a new Prime Video only membership, as well as a new low monthly payment option, so that people can join Prime for the first time without an annual commitment, making it even easier to enjoy the best of Amazon."

There's another component to this that makes the timing very interesting: right now, Amazon's prices will be slightly larger than Netflix's, which costs $7.99 a month for its standard streaming service plan. However, the price will be going up in May to $9.99, suddenly making Amazon the cheaper option.

Netflix pulls in big numbers. In 2015, it had over 74 million streaming customers, 44 million in the United States, and 30 million which were from other countries. Netflix will be release its Q1 earnings, and new user numbers, on Monday.

Amazon has not released any official user numbers for its Prime service, but it is estimated to be at least 46 million. Those numbers could be much higher. What is known is that Netflix pulls down a lot more streaming bandwidth than Amazon does. 

A report put out in December found that Netflix has over 37 percent of all downstream traffic, followed by YouTube, with just under 18 percent. Together, those two services encompass nearly 55 percent of all traffic.

After them comes Amazon, which places in a distant third with 3.1 percent, just barely above Hulu, with 2.58 percent.

By finally giving users easier, and less cumbersome, access, Amazon has to be hoping to drive those numbers up and finally become a real competitor to Netflix.

VatorNews has reached out to Amazon to confirm these reports, and for comment on why the company has made these changes. We will update this story if we learn more. 

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