Amazon reportedly offering Prime month-to-month, and separate Prime video only option

Amazon reportedly offering Prime month-to-month, and separate Prime video only option

More to follow, but Amazon is reportedly offering month to month membership to Prime starting Monday morning, $10 99 per month. There would also be a separate $8.99 a month Prime video only option. That would compete directly with Netflix and Hulu. This may be very popular, especially around the holidays. The annual membership would still be available and that would make it at a considerable savings over month-to-month.

Update: I’m surprised that there hasn’t been an Amazon press release on this yet, but I’ve been able to see the terms by logging out of Amazon, then going to Amazon Prime, and following the workflow as though I wanted more information on the thirty-day free trial.

That means this is real…and it’s really significant.

There are now three plans:

  • $8.99 a month for just Prime Video
  • $10.99 a month for full-featured Prime
  • $99.00 for a year of full-featured Prime (a roughly 25% discount)

The $8.99 a month means that Prime Video is going head-to-head against Netflix (which ranges from $7.99 without HD or Ultra HD and only screening on one screen at once to $9.99 for Standard ((which is reported the most popular)) which includes HD and screening on two screens at once to Premium for $11.99, which has Ultra HD and screening on up to four screens) and Hulu (which $7.99 with commercials, $11.99 without them).

We subscribe to, and use, all three.

While much of the reporting has been about the Prime Video only option, the month-to-month Prime seems like it could also have a very large impact.

It’s a big plus for Amazon if people buy a month and then stick with it.

It’s not so good if people cancel their annual memberships (or don’t renew them), and then only subscribe to it during heavily shipping periods, like the holidays or back to school.

Prime membership has been like a gym membership for Amazon: they sell potential, not actual use.😉 Some people may go months without using their Prime membersips…which means Amazon gets the money that month for nothing. Arguably, though, Amazon is covered that way for the heavy shipping months.

I checked the

Give the Gift of Prime (at AmazonSmile*)

page, and at this point, you can still only give the annual membership.

I would give one month memberships, if I could. It’s perfect for co-workers, for example. I think I can say I would give many more one-month memberships to

Kindle Unlimited (at AmazonSmile: benefit a non-profit of your choice by shopping*)

though. Hard for me to imagine a much better $9.99 gift for a child than unlimited access to over a million books!

What do you think? Is the month to month Prime Video a challenge to Netflix? Hulu (I think this is less the case…for us, Hulu is more about current TV shows)? Would you subscribe and subscribe repeatedly to Prime to only use it when you need to do a lot of shipping? Will people who subscribe month to month just tend to stay with it…perhaps earning Amazon more money than the annual membership they’ve been selling? Feel free to tell me and my readers what you think by commenting on this post.

Join thousands of readers and try the free ILMK magazine at Flipboard!

All aboard our new The Measured Circle’s Geek Time Trip at The History Project!

*When you shop at AmazonSmile, half a percent of your purchase price on eligible items goes to a non-profit you choose. It will feel just like shopping at Amazon: you’ll be using your same account. The one thing for you that is different is that you pick a non-profit the first time you go (which you can change whenever you want)…and the good feeling you’ll get.  Shop ’til you help!  

This post by Bufo Calvin originally appeared in the I Love My Kindle blog. To support this or other blogs/organizations, buy  Amazon Gift Cards from a link on the site, then use those to buy your items. There will be no cost to you, and a benefit to them.

16 Responses to “Amazon reportedly offering Prime month-to-month, and separate Prime video only option”

  1. Zebras Says:

    Bufo:

    If I were to break down my Prime membership’s values based on my usage, $8.99 for the movies alone seems way too high versus the $10.99. We really get a lot of use of the shipping and the prime music and the 12 free books! Plus the prime offers on some things have really kind of funded the membership.

    However, if someone who doesn’t use those other things and wants to binge on the Amazon exclusives for one month at a time, then $8.99 once in a while isn’t too terrible, though If I were them I would buy the full membership and do it over the holiday season, and take full advantage of the shipping.

    • Bufo Calvin Says:

      Thanks for writing, Zebras!

      I think there are some strategic messaging factors here. This may be a very clever move to convert Netflix users into Prime members.

      1. They try Prime Video for $8.99 a month (actually, it might be the first month free, but they’ll be evaluating it based on $8.99)
      2. They may or may not drop Netflix
      3. They figure, “Hey, this works. I might as well pay $2 for a month and try out the other benefits…after all, it’s only a dollar more than my standard Netflix was”. They might try it during a heavy shipping period
      4. As you point out, the other things are worth much more than $2 a month. They get hooked, and are now Prime members
      5. As Prime members, they spend (statistically) a lot more with Amazon

      Amazon’s profits come from the “diapers and windshield wipers” they buy, not from the extra $2 for the rest of Prime.

  2. Lady Galaxy Says:

    I wish they would offer a Prime Shipping only option. I do not have the type of TV that is capable of streaming video, and I do not have a wi-fi connection. I can listen to Prime Music through my computer, but I’m old fashioned and prefer to own the MP3 files of my favorite music. It’s frustrating that I can’t opt out of those services that I do not use for a lower rate.

    • Phink Says:

      I agree with owning MP3’s for sure. I might be mis-remembering but it seems like owning MP3’s came up for discussion here once before. If I am remembering correctly it seems Bufo said something along the lines of “It does not bother me if I own them or not so long as I have access to them.” For me, I can’t exactly explain why I feel like I need to own it but I do. I love Amazon’s CD/MP3 combo’s they offer. If you order the CD you get the MP3 for free (on some CD’s). I have roughly 40 or 50 CD’s from Amazon that have never been opened. I have gotten quite a few for $5 or less shipped and with the free MP3.

      I do have some I have downloaded from Prime Music but those are ones that are more than $8 or so that I really wanted to listen to. I rarely take advantage of Prime Music but I do pay $24.99 a year to have my music uploaded to Amazon. The music I’ve bought at Amazon is uploaded automatically but my other music I ripped from CD’s long ago are not. With the $25 a year option all my music is available to play through the Echo, the Amazon music app while driving etc.

      Oh yeah, I feel the same about ownership when it comes to books and movies. It has been many years since I’ve rented a movie.

      • Lady Galaxy Says:

        I would say lately I’ve bought more music from Amazon than books. I love the fact that you can buy just the tracks you love instead of having to buy a whole album. Would have been great back in the day to have bought the John Lennon tracks but not the Yoko Ono tracks on “Double Fantasy.” To me, that album was one fantasy and one nightmare, but I digress.

        I think the reason I want to own the music is because I no longer trust that they will always be available from the cloud. One more “update” of the Amazon Music app and it probably won’t work on my Mac any longer. For now, I can only access the cloud player from Firefox. It stopped working on Safari ages ago. If I own it, I can load it to my iPod or burn it to a CD.

        I, too, love the $5 specials and the CD/mp3 combos, especially when the CD costs less than the MP3 album. Way back before I ever had an iPod, I bought a CD that I loaned to a friend who “lost” it. At the time, I didn’t even notice that it included the MP3 option. Awhile back when I was trying to organize my cloud player into play lists, I discovered the MP3 files for that lost CD and downloaded them. It was like finding buried treasure!

        I also like the fact that with Prime you can listen to the whole track instead of just a sample. That helps me decide whether to make a purchase or not. I’m still looking for the original recording of “Big Bad John.” I have the original 45 version where at the end he says, “At the bottom of this mine lies one h*ll of a man.” Apparently that was put on the “no play” list by Priscilla Goodbody [RIP Johnny Carson] so it was rerecorded to say, “At the bottom of this mine lies a big, big man.” I want the original. I converted my 45 to MP3, but it was a well played record, so there are many noticeable pops” Anyway, back to my point, here’s no way to know how it ends unless you can hear the whole thing.

        Sorry, I’m babbling!

      • Bufo Calvin Says:

        Thanks for writing, Lady!

        I understand the “collector’s item” thing. Changes like that do happen, and you are right, they would be gone. The silent classic Nosferatu was ordered destroyed (as infringement on Dracula), and could have been lost. Many TV shows were “recorded over” in the old days….first, no one saw a future value for TV shows.🙂 Second, that was cheaper. If people could have recorded them, they’d still have them…but if they were just having access to them, they wouldn’t.

        However, I do think that’s different from typical consumption. I’m fine with access the vast majority of the time.🙂 I haven’t bought music in a long time, for myself.

    • Bufo Calvin Says:

      Thanks for writing, Lady!

      I can see why it would be frustrating.

      My guess is that they’ve found that the shipping benefit isn’t “sticky” enough. People may see shipping as a simple business calculation: “I can save x amount of money”. Streaming video/music choices are more of a lifestyle thing.

  3. Phink Says:

    I also think this might be a good option for those that want the streaming service for short term such as they want to see maybe ‘The Sopranos’ and can watch the series in a month. That means you pretty much rented that series for only $9. That is a great deal if someone wants to watch it.

    I am a member of Netflix and I prefer it to Amazon. I do like the way on the ROKU that Amazon can be set up to where if you hit the 10 second back button closed captioning comes on for roughly 30 seconds and then off again. I sometimes say to myself “What did they say” and hit the 10 second back button. On Netflix I still might not catch it, have to hit rewind again, turn CC on, watch a little, turn CC off and continue watching.

    I think the content is better on Netflix but that’s very subjective. Plenty of others would disagree and no doubt about that. For instance HBO’s older shows are not available at all on Netflix but are on Amazon.

    I hate the fact that evidently Netflix has no idea what a long term contract is. This happens all the time to me. I’m watching a series (it takes me many months to watch a series) and suddenly it’s no longer available so I can’t finish watching it. This has happened to me probably 3 or 4 times in the last 2 years or so.

    On my ROKU 3 Amazon has a lot harder time streaming than Netflix. I have no idea why and it might possibly be my machine OR my internet. Amazon might not be at fault there but if the same show is available on both services I’ll choose Netflix because it streams better in my house.

    I doubt I’ll ever be interested in the monthly subscription unless it cost the same or less. I do like the idea of A la carte however. Shipping cost X, music cost X, borrowing a book a month cost X and so on.

    • Lady Galaxy Says:

      I share your frustration with Netflix. For some reason, I can successfully stream video from Netflix to my computer even though I can’t stream from Amazon. I also kept the DVD option for those programs not available to stream. I was in the middle of a PBS mystery series on DVD when suddenly I got notice that Netflix had dropped the series and the last DVD was dropped from my queue. It would have been nice if they had given notice that it was about to be dropped before it was too late instead of after!

      • Bufo Calvin Says:

        Thanks for writing, Lady!

        There’s a news story I usually flip into The Measured Flipboard magazine (a couple of new stories, actually) that tells you what is leaving from and coming to the streaming services in the nearly arrived month…but that’s just streaming, not DVDs. I’m not sure how much in advance they know…they may be negotiating right up to the end, perhaps. However, it would always be better if they could let you know ahead of time, of course.

    • Allie D. Says:

      Phink, Lady Galaxy, other netflix users concerned with expiring streaming videos:
      There’s a site, decider.com , which offers both warnings of upcoming expiring shows/movies as well as info on what’s coming up . It’s not always a whole lot of notice, but, well this was posted on the 25th of April, so at least you’ll be less surprised when things disappear starting on May 1st.
      This month’s is here: http://decider.com/2016/04/25/movies-expiring-from-netflix-may-2016/

      A chunk are going to be removed on May 1st, but this list includes stuff all the way up until May 31st…and by then they’ll presumably have a June list.

      They usually have similar articles about what will be new on Netflix, also – haven’t yet seen a list for this May, but I assume it’s coming.
      Happy watching!
      PS I have zero affiliation with Decider and in fact it’s not terribly user-friendly…but it’s better than nothing. It has info about other streaming services, also, Hulu and Amazon Prime among others.

      • Phink Says:

        Thanx for the info. I bookmarked it for now to see if it’s useful to me. I appreciate your time in posting the link here.

  4. Zebras Says:

    They seem to have added an Amazon Fresh component to Prime where for $4 more a week if you are in a Fresh zone you could have groceries delivered daily for no extra delivery cost. Seemed reasonable till you add up 4 times 52.

  5. Tom Semple Says:

    Given that Netflix’s streaming services are hosted by Amazon’s AWS (except for emergency backup in Google Services), they are as much business partners as competitors. It’s in Amazon’s interest to have Netflix be very successful, not to take away their business. The best case scenario for all parties is to have people subscribe not to just one service, but to several. They make more money when people are NOT using the services they pay for, and so the trick is to make the service ‘sticky’ by creating exclusive content and bundling other things into it.

    While I think Netflix has an edge in content with respect to Prime Video, that’s offset by Amazon’s superior ecosystem (ability to download for offline viewing, X-Ray, video purchase and rental options equivalent to iTunes or Google Play), and finally ability to subscribe to services like Showtime and Starz using a single account and have that content seamlessly integrated on Fire TV and with the Amazon Video apps. Of course all the other stuff is above and beyond a Prime Video subscription, but it is also very convenient.

    • Bufo Calvin Says:

      Thanks for writing, Tom!

      Yep…everything for me is easier through Amazon.🙂 We do have Netflix, Prime, and Hulu+. They are different. Hm…I don’t think we’d do Prime video without the Prime shipping advantage. I do watch Prime Video…but I think it is the one of the three I would miss the least.

      Netflix has to figure something out…Prime Video has taken away their uniqueness, and is competing in original content (if not yet in licensed content). It’s a new world for them…

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