Streaming Wars: Amazon takes aim at Netflix by offering Prime Video as a standalone service

Next month, millions of Netflix subscribers will see an increase in their monthly subscription fee from $9 per month to $10. While this alone might not be enough to cost the service many subscribers, when combined with Netflix’s shrinking catalog, it could cause some dissatisfied customers to jump ship, and Amazon will be right there to catch them.

As of yesterday evening, users looking to watch streaming video via Amazon Prime Video no longer needed a $100 per year membership in order to do so. The company now offers a standalone subscription to Prime Video, available for $9 per month.

Related: Netflix’s price hike to $10 per month will hit 17 million subscribers in May

If customers do want the other benefits of a Prime membership, but don’t want to commit to a full year, Amazon also now offers month-to-month pricing for Prime. That plan costs $11 per month, and includes everything in the standard yearly plan, including Prime Video streaming. Of course, the yearly plan still ends up costing the least, but this is a nice way for potential customers to give the service a try.

This isn’t the first time we’ve seen the option to pay monthly for Prime. Last month Amazon began offering monthly Prime pricing through Sprint for the same $11 per month price tag, and it has experimented with monthly pricing as far back as 2012, though the company has said that its customers generally prefer to pay yearly.

Even the standalone Prime Video subscription isn’t new, at least outside of the U.S. Amazon has been offering Prime Video subscriptions in the U.K., Germany, and Japan for some time, but it seems that the company is finally ready to begin positioning Prime Video as a premium service in its own right, as opposed to yet another benefit of Prime.

Related: Amazon Prime without a yearly commitment is now a reality if you’re a Sprint customer

While Netflix may be the most deeply entrenched streaming service, Amazon original content like The Man in the High Castle, Mozart in the Jungle, and Transparent, combined with content not available on Netflix — such as Downton Abbey and Mr. Robot  — has Amazon poised to grab some of its market share, and this new pricing certainly won’t hurt either.

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