Amazon Bows Standalone Prime Video Service17 Apr, 2016 By: Erik Gruenwedel
Amazon is making its Prime Video subscription streaming service available as a standalone option for $8.99 — the same price as Netflix’s entry-level plan. Launched 11 years ago, Prime offers free two-day shipping on myriad purchases with Prime Video — and later Prime Music — included as free value-added perks.
The full Prime membership is also available on a monthly basis for $10.99 — which is 25% more than the current $99 annual fee. The standalone Prime and Prime Video options are only available domestically.
The announcement comes the day before Netflix reports first-quarter results, and about three weeks before Netflix is slated to begin applying a $2 price hike to $7.99 monthly subs.
Sprint March 31 began offering subscribers access to Amazon Prime for $10.99 a month. This was the first time a monthly option for Amazon Prime had been made available. The fee is applied to a Sprint customer's wireless bill.
Prime monthly options are also available on Amazon’s “Streaming Partners Program,” which offers access to third-party SVOD services, including Showtime, Starz, Cinedigm’s CONtv, Docurama, Dove Channel, and RLJ Entertainment’s Urban Movie Channel, Acorn TV and Acacia TV, among others.
Wedbush Securities analyst Michael Pachter contends Amazon's rollout of standalone SVOD is shot across the bow of Netflix.
"We acknowledge that Netflix has the much more powerful brand for SVOD, but we are confident that once it announced a standalone service, Amazon declared war on Netflix, and intends to back up its new offering with a branding strategy of its own," Pachter wrote in an April 19 note.