In a move that seems to be directed at challenging video streaming service Netflix, Amazon has launched a monthly subscription option for its Prime services, which in addition to free shipping for purchased products includes music and photo backup and access to a growing library of content.
The content includes a music library, original TV programs and movies.
Previously only available as a $99 annual subscription, Amazon Prime will now be offered for a monthly subscription of $10.99 per month. In addition, and the move that Netflix should be worried about, Amazon is offering for the first time Prime Video as a separate subscription for access to the service's TV and movie library for $8.99 per month.
The launch of a monthly Prime Video subscription comes just as Netflix is about to hike up the price for its services, with the standard $7.99 plan about to cost users $9.99 per month beginning next month.
Prime Video was only previously accessible as part of the full Prime membership since it was launched back in 2011. It has since grown as simply a part of the service and into a standlone one with an expansive list of movies and TV program, some of which are Amazon originals.
"Jeff Bezos is absolutely escalating the arms race with Netflix," said Michael Pachter, an analyst for Wedbush Securities. Bezos is the CEO of Amazon, and he is guiding the company through its foray into streaming services as the space tightens with more players entering the industry.
With the launch of Prime Video, it is possible that Amazon will also launch its streaming music library as a separate service that could rival Apple Music and Spotify.
For customers that will be availing the monthly subscription plan for Amazon Prime at $10.99 per month, it would be equivalent to $131.88. The amount is significantly higher than the $99 per year subscription for the service, but a spokeswoman for Amazon confirmed that the monthly subscription could be activated or deactivated as often as customers want. As such, customers can take advantage of the service only during the holidays to save on shipping charges.