Amazon’s standalone video-streaming subscription shows just how good its annual Prime plan is


Netflix and Amazon’s respective video-on-demand (VoD) offerings are comparable in many ways, but Amazon’s Prime Video service has traditionally differed from its counterpart in one key respect: while Netflix is available to anyone as a straightforward $10 ($8 for legacy subscribers) monthly subscription, U.S.-based viewers have had to pay Amazon $99 per year for its broader Prime subscription, which includes free speedy delivery on goods purchased through, among other add-ons.

Now, Amazon has seemingly taken the advice meted out on VentureBeat last year and spun out the Prime Video element as a separate, standalone service in the U.S. Those in the U.K. and Germany were already able to subscribe to the video element of Prime — this was because European Netflix rival LoveFilm had been available in those markets prior to Amazon acquiring the company in 2011.

But one of the most immediately striking facets of Amazon’s new subscription plan is that it’s well hidden. When you visit the Prime sign-up page, you’ll see the page, as before, with a giant “Start your 30-day Prime free trial” button emblazoned across the top. Tucked underneath that you’ll now notice “see more plans.”

By default, Amazon already has the main Prime subscription selected, with a “best value” marker attached to it. But there are actually two extra options — one just for Prime Video at $9/month, and a new monthly Prime subscription that costs $11/month. The Prime monthly subscription is a continuation of a deal Amazon first announced in conjunction with Sprint last month.

On the surface, it seems odd that anyone would choose to pay $11/month for Prime when they can get it for $99/year (25 percent cheaper). But there are a number of instances where someone may prefer to pay a little more each month, rather than commit to a year — perhaps they only need speedy deliveries over Christmas, or maybe they want to binge-watch an Amazon Original show (such as The Man in the High Castle) on Amazon Prime Video.

But spinning Prime Video out on its own takes away one of the selling points of a Prime monthly subscription.

Of course, there are people out there who simply don’t like long-term commitments — they want the convenience of a recurring subscription coupled with the option to cancel on short notice. And this is who the new Prime Video or Prime (monthly) plans will appeal to. But seeing the plans compared side by side, it appears that Amazon has another motive up its sleeve.

Spinning out two new plans for Prime helps to show just how good a value its annual Prime offering is. Prime Video costs $9/month on its own — sure, this is $1 less than Netflix will be when it moves everyone to the minimum $10 monthly subscription from next month, but that’s a comparison for another day. More importantly, Prime Video only costs $8.25 per month if you sign up for the annual Prime membership — a plan that also gives you a bunch of other goodies.

There are many good reasons why I think Amazon is right to spin Prime Video out as a standalone service. The company is investing heavily in original content and rights to third-party films and programming, but tethering its video offering to a bunch of other services — everything from cloud storage and music streaming to two-hour grocery deliveries and a book-lending library — muddies the marketing waters and makes it harder to sell. Amazon’s annual Prime membership is unquestionably good value, but Netflix holds — and will continue to hold — greater video-streaming mindshare because it’s a brand dedicated to just that.

Sure, by launching Prime Video out on its own, Amazon is giving its customers another option — one that some may welcome with open arms. But I can’t help feeling that the effort is a little half-hearted. For starters, the Prime Video brand doesn’t receive any kind of visible boost — it’s buried away on the Prime homepage. And I can’t imagine Amazon will be shouting about this new monthly Prime Video plan from the rooftops. But even if Amazon does market this extensively, members will be quickly reminded how much more they can get on an annual plan through Amazon Prime — while paying less for it, too.

0 Comment

Leave a Reply

Captcha image


  • 5300c769af79e

    ESET Parental Control (for Android)

    But no matter how you get it, ESET Parental Control for Android is a solid solution for families—despite a few missing monitoring features.Getting StartedAn annual subscription to ESET Parental Control for Android costs $29.
  • 5300c769af79e

    BlackBerry Phones: Not Dead Yet

    Though BlackBerry has bowed out of the smartphone business, BlackBerry devices will live on thanks to China's TCL.This means that, going forward, TCL will be the exclusive manufacturer and distributor for all BlackBerry-branded smartphones, with the exception of those in India, Sri Lanka, Nepal, Bangladesh and Indonesia.
  • 5300c769af79e

    BlackBerry Hub+ Arrives on Android

    Hub+ for Android should be familiar to BlackBerry 10 users.The same apps—like Calendar and Password Keeper—are built into the BB10 operating system, as well as BlackBerry's super-secure Priv and DTEK50 Android smartphones.
  • 5300c769af79e

    Apple Gives Young Coders a Playground on the iPad

    The Swift Playgrounds app is Apple's implementation of the idea that everyone can—and should—learn to code.Announced today at WWDC in San Francisco, the free iPad app will be available this fall and is based on the open-source Swift programming language.