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Amazon Tests $7.99/m Prime Service to Tackle Netflix, Hulu?

By - Source: HAcking Netflix | B 12 comments

Amazon has a long way to go before it can truly tackle Netflix and Hulu Plus.

Amazon is reportedly testing a new version of its Prime service that allows customers to pay a $7.99 monthly fee rather than $79 per year. Naturally this brings up speculation that the online retailer is going after Netflix and Hulu Plus who offer streaming video services for the same monthly price. However Amazon still has a long way to go before it's on equal ground with its video streaming rivals.

But Amazon Prime is more than a video streaming service. The membership offers free two-day shipping on millions of items with no minimum order size. Subscribers can also borrow an ebook for free each month from the Kindle Owners' Lending Library. Now throw in unlimited streaming of thousands of movies and TV shows from Prime Instant Videos, and customers seemingly have a better deal than what's offered with Netflix and Hulu Plus.

Back in September, Amazon announced that it signed an agreement with EPIX to add its catalog of over 25,000 movies and TV episodes from Paramount Pictures, Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Pictures, and Lionsgate, doubling the number of titles since Amazon first introduced the Kindle Fire in September 2011. Titles include The Avengers, Iron Man 2, The Hunger Games, Transformers Dark of the Moon, Thor and Rango as well as popular favorites such as Kick Ass and Paranormal Activity 2.

"We are investing hundreds of millions of dollars to expand the Prime Instant Video library for our customers. We have now more than doubled this selection of movies and TV episodes to over 25,000 titles in just under a year," said Bill Carr, Vice President of Video and Music at Amazon. "We are thrilled to be able to offer our customers such popular EPIX titles, many of which were just recently in theaters."

Prior to its deal with EPIX, Amazon signed a new agreement with NBCUniversal Cable & New Media Distribution in August to expand the network's programming on Prime Instant Video including prior seasons of Parks and Recreation, Parenthood, Friday Night Lights, Heroes, Battlestar Galactica and more. A deal with ESPN was also made that same month, bringing the network's "30 for 30" film series to Amazon's streaming service.

"We're continuing to grow our Prime Instant Video library to provide our Amazon Prime Members with all the content they want - from feature films, to hit TV episodes to documentaries, and everything in between," said Brad Beale, director of digital video content acquisition for Amazon. "With the addition of ESPN's 30 for 30 series, film lovers and sports fans will have instant access to enjoy compelling sports stories from talented and thoughtful film makers including, 'The U,' 'Pony Excess' and 'Winning Time.'"

But can Amazon Prime take on Hulu Plus and Netflix with its expanded library? That remains to be seen. Unlike its rivals, Amazon is limiting playback to "hundreds" of devices including Smart TVs, Blu-ray players, set-top boxes,, the Xbox 360, the PlayStation 3, the iPad, the Kindle Fire tablets and more. You can't stream your favorite content to the iPhone, the iPod Touch, Android phones and tablets, or even the Nexus 7. Amazon hasn't even released an app for Windows 8.

Here's the complete list of compatible devices.

While the monthly price may be appealing, Amazon needs to cover more ground if it wants to really compete with Netflix and Hulu Plus. Even more, paying a monthly fee will ultimately cost more at the end of the year, leeching $95.88 from the customer's wallet instead of $79.


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  • 6 Hide
    Anonymous , November 6, 2012 10:29 PM
    Amazon is moving in the right direction. I pay around 2K per year for crappy cable service. Someone needs to figure out that consumers are willing to pay a lot more than $7 per month, as long as the content is good. With Netflix, Prime and Hulu I can get 80% of what I want to watch. All I need is a little more cable content, HBO and Showtime. Then I will dump the antiquated cable provider. How about NetPrimelu?
  • 1 Hide
    ddpruitt , November 6, 2012 11:07 PM
    I already have Amazon Prime, but I don't use the video feature a whole lot. Amazon needs to add native apps to Android, Consoles, Windows, and Windows media center if they really want to compete. They're library is to the point where it's a serious contender or, it's just to clunky of an interface and hard to access (relatively speaking).
  • 0 Hide
    twelch82 , November 6, 2012 11:41 PM
    The problem with Netflix, and with this service if they go forward with it, is that it will have a collection of stale content, most of which I'm not interested in watching. After a few months, I'll have gone through all of the stuff that I did want to watch, and they will not be adding more at the pace that I'd want to see it.

    I would actually rather they focused on the movie rentals and tried to negotiate deals to make the movies watchable from home sooner. Maybe add a $7 tier for more recent movies in HD. Oh, and Netflix manages to be able to show their high-def content on PC. Amazon ought to be able to too.
  • Display all 12 comments.
  • 0 Hide
    illo , November 7, 2012 12:53 AM
    its spelled monte carlo
  • -1 Hide
    jkflipflop98 , November 7, 2012 1:12 AM
    If all these different content providers would just agree to take a little less money than they'd like and EVERYONE put their stuff on Netflix, it would be a smash hit. I would gladly pay $30 a month to have access to every recorded work ever made.

    Instead we get all this fragmented crap where one of my shows is there, but these other movies I like are over here, but then this other show is on service number three. . . well I'm sure not buying 3 subs so I guess I'll just download all of it for free. Now you're out 100% of whatever you were going to make.
  • 0 Hide
    masterasia , November 7, 2012 2:50 AM
    They need to launch an Android app!!!
  • -1 Hide
    deftonian , November 7, 2012 2:52 AM
    jkflipflop98If all these different content providers would just agree to take a little less money than they'd like and EVERYONE put their stuff on Netflix, it would be a smash hit. I would gladly pay $30 a month to have access to every recorded work ever made. Instead we get all this fragmented crap where one of my shows is there, but these other movies I like are over here, but then this other show is on service number three. . . well I'm sure not buying 3 subs so I guess I'll just download all of it for free. Now you're out 100% of whatever you were going to make.


    You obviously don't have a business sense. A business is there to make money. This business (Netflix) is really a 3rd party business, much like cable companies, that have to sign agreements and pay the 1st party (networks) for the rights to play their content. Now, the networks make their money through advertisements. So... let's break this down for you. Netflix = no commercials. A network will not release all of their recorded shows ever made because then they lose a lot of money through advertisements. The more they release to netflix, the more netflix is charged in the agreements, which means higher prices. Soon, if you want to follow that path, you'll be paying cable prices (and probably more).

    Now, the fact that you're saying you'll pirate the video instead speaks volumes of your maturity. I have a feeling that you wouldn't even pay $30 a month, you'd just pirate.

    I'm not a fan of commercials, hell I don't even watch TV accept for Sundays (Walking Dead, Dexter, Homeland) but I do understand they're necessary at this point in time. Networks need their money to fund and produce these shows.

    Have a good night sir
  • -1 Hide
    jkflipflop98 , November 7, 2012 3:01 AM
    deftonianYou obviously don't have a business sense. A business is there to make money. This business (Netflix) is really a 3rd party business, much like cable companies, that have to sign agreements and pay the 1st party (networks) for the rights to play their content. Now, the networks make their money through advertisements. So... let's break this down for you. Netflix = no commercials. A network will not release all of their recorded shows ever made because then they lose a lot of money through advertisements. The more they release to netflix, the more netflix is charged in the agreements, which means higher prices. Soon, if you want to follow that path, you'll be paying cable prices (and probably more).Now, the fact that you're saying you'll pirate the video instead speaks volumes of your maturity. I have a feeling that you wouldn't even pay $30 a month, you'd just pirate.I'm not a fan of commercials, hell I don't even watch TV accept for Sundays (Walking Dead, Dexter, Homeland) but I do understand they're necessary at this point in time. Networks need their money to fund and produce these shows.Have a good night sir


    LOL what a pile of steaming nonsense. Good day indeed.
  • 0 Hide
    cracklint , November 7, 2012 2:10 PM
    netflix streaming is a great value to me, always great variety for my tastes, anime, mythbusters, cheesy b movies, Eureka. I never fail to find something to watch. Hulu is crap. Cost as much as Netflix, then you have to watch commercials. that's a deal breaker for me. And you get the most current recently air shows for free anyway, so the membership is pointless for the movie content they offer, which is abysmal imo. I just signed up for Prime monthly, because I like the free 2 day more so than there clunky interface, This allows me to keep the membership 2 months for the holidays and then drop it when I no longer need it. not dropping 80 bucks for something I will not get my full value of, makes me happy they have chosen to offer a shorter subscription terms.
  • 0 Hide
    Anonymous , November 7, 2012 6:36 PM
    I am a regular shopper at Amazon. Even now that they charge state tax, I still buy EVERYTHING from them. Soooo......

    I tried Amazon Prime (free 1 month trial) and never could use it. The things I wanted to view weren't free, but $2.+ each, or buy a whole season. And the stuff I wanted to buy wasn't available on Amazon Prime. They're going to have to do SOMETHING better or it's just doomed as far as I'm concerned.

    I might add that I used Netflix for over a year, and the stuff was getting so stale...(black & white movies??), I finally gave it up.
  • 0 Hide
    assasin32 , November 7, 2012 7:11 PM
    I like amazon prime, I have it but as a standalone netflix competitor they are lacking in content, though I will admit they are adding more and more continually their content has increased dramatically since I got it less than a year ago. But when added in the fact it's I think $80 a year + free 2 day "Prime" shipping on a lot of things sold on amazon it's a freaking bargain if you shop on amazon with any frequency.
  • 0 Hide
    Anonymous , January 19, 2013 4:50 AM
    Can anyone comment on whether Amazon has added the ability to turn on and off subtitling for anime, foreign movies, and the like? What about closed captioning? Is that available? Thanks. Without these services, I would not enjoy a streaming service.
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