Amazon is stepping up its streaming game! Amazon Prime is making a monthly subscription available to anyone who wants to join. Until now, the only way one could get Amazon Prime was through an annual subscription of $99.
Apparently, Amazon has realized that many people are not comfortable with committing themselves to something for a whole year (yearly gym memberships anyone?) and is now replicating Netflix’s and Hulu’s MO. The monthly subscription for Amazon Prime will cost $10.99. That membership will give members access to Amazon Prime’s book, music, TV and movie libraries, plus Amazon’s free two-day shipping.
Not only that, but Amazon is also offering a monthly subscription solely for its TV and movie collection, which will be called Prime Video. This subscription – which will cost $8.99 a month – is clearly a direct competitor to other streaming services such as the aforementioned Hulu and Netflix.
While Hulu is still finding its way with original content, with original series like 11.22.63, The Path and former Fox show The Mindy Project, among others; Netflix really dominates that area. In fact, according to a just released survey by Morgan Stanley, Netflix now has better original content than HBO. Yes, for the first time since this yearly survey has been conducted, more viewers chose Netflix as having the best original content than any other premium TV and internet subscription service, besting perennial favorite HBO.
Among Netflix’s original series are Emmy/Golden Globes staples House of Cards and Orange is the New Black; critical darlings Sense8, Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt, Master of None, Grace and Frankie; and fan favorites Marvel's Jessica Jones, Marvel's Daredevil and Making a Murderer. Netflix is, evidently, doing amazing regarding its original programming and has many more very interesting shows on the works.
Amazon, on the other hand, seems to be just getting started with its original content, but it has been getting a lot of recognition for some of their shows. Transparent has had a lot of buzz and it has won five 2015 Primetime Emmys, including Outstanding Lead Actor in a Comedy Series for Jeffrey Tambor. The series also won two 2015 Golden Globes, for Best Television Series - Comedy or Musical, and for Best Performance by an Actor in a Television Series - Comedy or Musical. Mozart in the Jungle won two 2016 Golden Globes, one for Best Television Series - Comedy or Musical and another one for Best Performance by an Actor in a Television Series - Comedy or Musical for its lead, Gabriel Garcia Bernal. Finally, The Man in the High Castle has also been getting a lot of critical praise.
This appreciation for its original content is probably what made Amazon’s execs change its strategy regarding the subscription service and it might pay off, since many people may have wanted to check out some of its great shows but without having to commit to a full one-year subscription; plus, $8.99 per month sounds a lot more affordable than $99 a year, even if it really is more expensive in the long run.
Also, it’s a good tactic for Amazon to change its subscription method at this time when Netflix is applying price increases to its members, many of whom will start to pay $9.99 monthly starting this May - instead of the usual $7.99.
We will have to wait and see how things go once these companies report their earnings, but I think we can all agree that viewers everywhere will be the real winners here.