A place to watch new movies and TV has popped up, with Internet-based media store Amazon launching a subscription service called Prime Video on Sunday. The service will be available at a flat rate of $8.99 a month.
The service was previously available to customers of the company's Prime annual subscription for $99. As host to exclusive original TV shows such as Transparent and Mozart in the Jungle, the offering will provide more competition for similar services Netflix and Hulu.
The subscription cost for Prime Video is a dollar more than the most basic package offered by popular streaming service, Netflix (without HD), but a dollar less than its most popular deal (including HD). In addition, Prime Video allows for users to download content for later viewing.
A spokeswoman for Amazon said that the service could be switched on or off, which would be attractive to those who only have time to watch content during the holidays.
A financial analyst from the investment firm Wedbush Securities, Michael Pachter said the CEO of Amazon, Jeff Bezos is accelerating the competition with Netflix. "“The two services will compete more closely for customers, and Amazon has the marketing advantage by offering the full Prime service for just a little bit more each month.”
Pachter said Amazon currently spends $3 billion on streaming video, with Netflix forking out $4 billion. These figures do not take the securing of international rights or DVD sales into account. At the end of 2015, Netflix disclosed that 43.4 million American customers paid for its services, with expectations for that number to rise by 2 million. On the other hand, while Amazon does not publicly release its subscription numbers, experts estimate that they are between 40 and 60 million globally.
At the same time as making Prime Video available on a monthly basis, Amazon has made its premium service, Prime available via a monthly subscription. Prime allows its users to receive products via a 2-day shipping service, unlimited music streaming, access to over 800,000 e-books, and much more.
Netflix and Hulu have refused to comment on the launch.