Are You Ready for the New Amazon Prime?
Amazon is now offering more choices in its subscription membership. The upside: video streaming without a yearly contract. The downside: the month-to-month services will cost more.
On April 17, the company announced a separate, video-only subscription service for $8.99 per month. The unlimited streaming plan, once part of the $99 annual Prime bundle, is now its own month-to-month service.
The move puts the retail giant head-to-head with video streaming services Hulu and Netflix, the latter of which is raising its own monthly fees.
The Amazon Prime split looks like this:
- The $99-a-year contract rate and features will remain unchanged.
- It costs $8.99 a month for unlimited streaming of movies and TV shows, without the need to purchase a separate Prime membership. Cost per year: $107.88. However, there is no annual contract.
- For $10.99 a month, consumers can get the unlimited streaming plus the other Prime features like two-day free shipping and music streaming without an annual contract. Cost per year: $131.88.
Amazon’s video-only plan will feature shows not yet available on Netflix, including Downton Abbey (Hulu only has the first two seasons). It is also pumping money into original programming, such as Transparent and Mozart in the Jungle.
Amazon Video vs. Netflix
Netflix recently announced it will raise its basic price to $9.99 per month ($119.88 per year), for both new and current subscribers. The service’s last price hike rose to $8.99 for people who subscribed after May 2014; those subscribers won’t pay the $9.99 fee until October 2016. The number of Netflix offerings is shrinking, but many Netflix subscribers are expected to stay put because of stellar original programming, such as House of Cards, Orange is the New Black, and Arrested Development.
Amazon Video vs. Hulu
Hulu costs are expected to remain at $7.99 per month ($95.88 per year), and $8.99 a month with the addition of Showtime. The cheaper price, however, includes commercials, which neither Amazon nor Netflix has. Its original programming has been uneven, but it does offer shows a day or two after they air on their original source.
Time will tell whether Amazon Video will make a dent in the competition. With prices still lower than conventional cable, you might very well want to add more than one subscription to your cable TV alternatives. You can also save money on all streaming services if you look for online deals. Try coupon codes for Amazon, Netflix and Hulu. At least now you have more choices.