Perhaps it was always destined to happen: Amazon Video is now going to be a standalone video streaming service available to everyone, even those without an Amazon Prime account. The cost? Only $9 per month.
Amazon is, of course, following in the footsteps of Netflix – or perhaps more accurately, HBO, which used to be strictly bundled with other services but offered up a standalone service last year. With cordcutting growing more popular, these standalone home and lifestyle services are becoming a welcome source of income for the more powerful streamers.
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However, Amazon’s new offering is interesting, not only in how it took so long to finally emerge but in the pricing. $9 per month is lower than both Netflix’s $10 per month and HBO Now’s $15 per month. Buying the service will give you access to all Amazon Video content, including its original programming like Transparent, Mozart in the Jungle, and other award-winning shows.
It’s this unique content that’s really the selling point here, since it’s hard to find elsewhere and encourages people to pick sides. If you’re a Transparent fan, you’re likely to choose Amazon. If you like Game of Thrones, you’ll no doubt side with HBO. Those who prefer Orange is the New Black, Daredevil, or one of Netflix’s many original shows will probably stick with that popular service. Picking two out of the three isn’t uncommon, but few people are willing to spend enough to get all three, which adds some harsh network competition.
In this light, Amazon’s pricing makes a lot of sense. It doesn’t have anywhere close to the amount of original content or shows/movies that Netflix does (not yet, at least), and its own programming isn’t a cultural phenomenon like Game of Thrones. The cost reflects that knowledge – and it’s interesting to note that investors think this will lead to a loss of customers for Netflix, as the stock dropped sharply at the news.
If you’re ready to jump over to Amazon Video and pick up a subscription, keep in mind that this won’t get you any Prime benefits. You will only have access to movies and TV, and it’s not clear how many of Prime’s video-related add-ons will eventually be making the jump to the new service.