If you do a lot of shopping on Amazon.com, you’ve no doubt come across the site’s $79 per year “Prime” membership option.
The basic idea is that for $79, you get free two-day shipping on just about everything sold directly by Amazon—not its third-party sellers, mind you—or $4-per-item overnight shipping.
The company has now decided to throw in free video streaming from its Amazon Instant Video service. The list of available titles can be found here.
While the above marketing image touts 5,000 movies and TV shows, the actual list of eligible titles currently returns 1,669 movies and 484 TV shows, so either Amazon’s adding titles or the TV shows are counted per episode.
Amazon’s Prime-eligible free video streaming comes right as competition between streaming video service is heating up. Netflix currently offers an $8-per-month unlimited streaming plan, while Hulu offers a limited selection of movies and TV shows for free alongside a more robust $8-per-month plan.
Amazon has the advantage of more aggressive pricing bundled with valuable additional services. The $79-per-year Prime membership breaks down to just over $6.50 per month and offers unlimited video and expedited shipping.
However, content selection will play a big part in how well the service does (there aren’t a whole lot of mainstream titles available), as will its availability on third-party devices (Prime instant videos aren’t yet available on TiVo boxes, for instance).
It’s quite possible that Amazon could potentially lose money on the content end of the deal, but it’s very likely leveraging Prime video as a loss-leader sales tactic—once it gets people to the site to watch videos, maybe they’ll stick around and purchase some actual products, too.
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