In many ways Amazon Prime has become my go-to streaming service. Of course Netflix has some outstanding original content (which I enjoy) however Amazon Prime has continued to regularly improve its service since it’s launch just a few short years ago.
Amazon Prime is the ultimate product bundling deal imaginable because it combines several service including physical free shipping & digital subscriptions for music, videos, and more. This week Amazon took an aggressive step to better compete with standalone subscription services (like Netflix & Hulu) by offering a new variety of Prime offerings by the month.
I have happily subscribed to Amazon prime for years. With this subscription, you can get most Amazon.com purchases delivered to your home in two days for free plus an astonishing array of digital services, which include:
Amazon Video. Unlimited access to movies and TV shows in SD, HD, Ultra HD & HDR (where possible).
Amazon Prime Music. Unlimited streaming from Amazon’s music service, which includes ad-free and personalized radio stations. This is replace Apple Music & iTunes for me.
Free Kindle books. As a Prime subscriber, you get access to over 1 million Kindle e-books for free, plus the Kindle Lending Library, which lets you borrow one free e-book per month.
But the problem with Prime is that it is only available in a one-year subscription, whereas competing standalone services are all available month-to-month. To close this gap, and convince potential customers that the wide swath of Prime perks is worth consideration, Amazon is now offering two monthly Prime subscriptions. They are:
Amazon Prime (Monthly). This is the annual plan, but month-to-month. That is, you get all of the perks of the yearly Amazon Prime membership, but pay $10.99 per month instead of $99 per year. (So it’s cheaper to get the annual subscription if you can afford it and know you’ll use it all year long.)
Amazon Prime Video. Finally available as a standalone subscription service that can take on Netflix and Hulu, Amazon Prime Video costs $8.99 per month, undercutting those services when you compare functionality. Netflix costs $7.99 to $11.99 per month (where only the most expensive versions offers HD and or Ultra HD) and Hulu is $7.99 (with limited commercials) to $11.99 per month (no commercials).
If you go with the yearly Amazon Prime subscription, and then take advantage of the shipping perk, that is still the best choice. But this move with a monthly subscription service signals that Amazon is serious about keeping its digital media services both competitive and desirable.