Amazon Goes Gunning For Netflix With Prime Video Monthly Subscriptions

Amazon believes its library of online movies and TV shows is rich enough that it can challenge Netflix for streaming supremacy and so it now offers Prime Video as a standalone service. This is a first for Prime Video, which prior to today was strictly a supplemental perk of being an Amazon Prime member.

A subscription to just Prime Video runs $8.99 per month. Netflix's most popular streaming plan runs $7.99 per month and allows for streaming on up to two devices at the same time, though the price is jumping to $9.99 next month. When it does, Amazon's Prime Video service will be a dollar cheaper, plus it includes 4K Ultra HD video content. That's not included on Netflix's "Standard" $9.99 plan—you have to pony for its "Premium" tier priced at $11.99 per month, which also doubles the number of simultaneous streams to four.

Amazon Prime Video

In the realm of streaming video, it's more about the content than it is being able to undercut the competition by a dollar a month. To that end, Amazon has been growing its library with exclusives. It also inked a three-year deal with HBO in 2014 to stream its older content, which includes gems like The Sopranos, Six Feet Under, The Wire, Big Love, Easbound & Down, Oz, Band of Brothers, and Deadwood, among others.

Amazon also expanded its deal with Epix last year to include new releases from its studio partners (Paramount, MGM, and Lionsgate), along with its library of titles that include The Hunger Games and James Bonds flicks. And like Netflix and Hulu, Amazon produces original content. Adding to the ante is the ability to download movies and TV shows for offline viewing, a feature not available on Netflix or Hulu.

Amazon Prime Pricing

Prime Video isn't the only thing getting a monthly payment option, so is Amazon's Prime service. If you don't want to pay the $99 annual fee, you can subscribe to Prime for $10.99 per month. That adds up to $131.88 over the course of 12 months, though the thinking is some customers might only be interested in Prime during the holiday season.

This brings up another point. Going back to Prime Video, if you're in it for the long haul, it still makes more sense to subscribe to Amazon Prime for $99 per year. Otherwise you'll end up paying $107.88 for Prime Video over the course of 12 months. It's not a huge difference, but it nearly amounts to a month of service.