Amazon is beginning to sell $8.99-a-month stand-alone streaming video subscriptions as it moves to increase its presence in the streaming movie marketplace against competitors, such as Netflix.
The new streaming video subscription plans from Amazon, which are $1 a month less than similar plans from Netflix, were unveiled by Amazon on April 17 on the company's Website.
Also unveiled by Amazon is a new $10.99 option to buy its Amazon Prime service by the month, rather than by paying a $99 fee per year for a subscription, which entitles users to get two-day free shipping on a wide array of products, as well as free streaming video and more.
By offering Amazon Prime by the month, customers won't have to pony up $99 all at once to get the Prime services; plus they will be able to add them or remove them at will. Subscribers who only purchase streaming video will pay more than the $99 fee on an annual basis and will receive fewer services if they skip the annual Prime membership.
Amazon's Prime service also includes unlimited access to more than a million songs and thousands of curated playlists and stations with Prime Music as well as unlimited secure photo storage for customers.
The Prime video services include movies as well as original and exclusive Amazon Original Series, such as "Transparent," "Mozart in the Jungle," "Tumble Leaf," as well as recent series programs, including "Catastrophe," "Bosch," "The Man in the High Castle," "Red Oaks," "Hand of God" and more.
Prime Video customers will also get Woody Allen's first-ever TV series later this year, plus David E. Kelley's new series starring Billy Bob Thornton. Also coming are new series programming, including "Good Girls Revolt" and "One Mississippi," as well as a growing selection of Amazon original movies.
In March, Sprint began offering similar monthly $10.99 Amazon Prime accounts to its customers through a deal with Amazon, according to an earlier eWEEK story. The Sprint deal included Amazon Prime video and music streaming, two-day Prime package shipping and other Prime services for new and existing Sprint customers.
Continuing growth in the streaming video marketplace is causing companies to constantly look for ways to stand out from their competitors.
In March, Netflix announced that in May it will roll out a data saver feature that will let mobile device owners use less data on their carrier's data plans when viewing Netflix content while on the go, according to an earlier eWEEK report. The feature is being launched because many mobile device users face restrictive data caps on their mobile accounts and may not be able to watch video content as much as they desire due to costly data charges, according to the company.
The data saving feature is part of the company's strategy of giving customers more control over their Netflix viewing, especially when using mobile service accounts, where their fees can be impacted by how much content they consume, the company said.
Netflix, which claims it has about 75 million members in more than 190 countries, offers streaming video subscriptions plans priced from $7.99 to $11.99 per month. Its members watch more than 125 million hours of movie and television programming a day, according to the company.
Another key competitor in the streaming video market, Hulu, offers content subscriptions also priced from $7.99 to 11.99 per month.