Amazon Prime started out as a membership service for Amazon customers to save on shipping costs as Amazon would not charge Prime members for shipping.
The company expanded the service in recent years by adding new features to it. Amazon Prime grants you access to Amazon's movie and TV show offerings, music streaming, ebooks, and even provides customers with early access to lightning deals on top of that.
Amazon Prime customers paid a flat yearly fee up until now available for $99 in the US and often less in other countries Amazon operates in (Germany €49 per year which is $55, UK £79 per year which is $112).
Starting today, Amazon customers can select between different Prime memberships.
In the United States, Amazon Prime is now available in three different plans:
The annual price of Prime has not changed and it still grants access to all services and features. The new Prime Video on the other hand grants access to all TV shows and movies only that Amazon offers as part of its streaming service.
It is paid monthly instead of yearly, and so is the second new Prime service which offers all Prime functionality but the option to "save 25% with prepayment discount" which is a Prime annual exclusive.
In Germany, Amazon launched a monthly payment option for Prime Video as well but did not include an option to get all Prime services for a monthly fee on top of that.
Prime Video is available for €7.99 per month in Germany which is roughly $9.
If you analyze the new monthly options and compare them to the yearly plan, you will come to the following conclusions:
The yearly plan is the best choice if you plan to remain a subscriber of Amazon Prime for the whole year.
The monthly plans make sense if you just need a couple of month's access to Amazon, for instance to binge-watch new TV shows that have become available throughout the year using the service. If you want to watch streaming video in two of the twelve months for instance, you pay less than $18 for that instead of the $99 you'd pay for yearly access. Even if you double the months, you will spend only half the yearly fee on that.
The new plan may also attract customers who shy away from yearly commitments.
Amazon Prime Video is still more expensive than Netflix's basic plan which is available for $7.99. But that plan does not offer HD content, and if you compare it to the standard plan that is suggested to new Netflix customers by default, you will notice that it is $1 cheaper than that.
A likely reason for Amazon's move is to position Prime Video as a direct Netflix and Hulu competitor in the US, and to whichever service is popular in other countries the new monthly plan is being made available.
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Ghacks is a technology news blog that was founded in 2005 by Martin Brinkmann. It has since then become one of the most popular tech news sites on the Internet with five authors and regular contributions from freelance writers.