As predicted last month, Amazon has entered the streaming video business with an offering exclusively to Amazon Prime members. The question is whether this is just the start, and if it is then should Netflix start worrying?
At the end of January it was noted that some Amazon Prime members had noticed they’d suddenly gained the ability to stream movies and television shows directly from the site. 5,000 titles were available in SD at no extra charge.
Amazon Prime is what the online retailer calls its loyalty scheme for want of a better description. For $79-a-year, subscribers to the service get free 2-day shipping on any item. Which means they’re always likely to buy from Amazon rather than a rival.
Now, Amazon Prime members have another reason to remain loyal.
Prime Instant Videos
Amazon today officially announced Prime Videos, which sees 5,000 of the titles available through its Instant Video service available for free if you’re a Prime subscriber.
Some of the movies on offer for free are The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, Syriana, Food Inc., and March of the Penguins, while the TV shows on offer for free include Doctor Who, Farscape, and Fawlty Towers.
Key to this offering is the fact Amazon isn’t increasing the price of Prime membership, so this can be considered a freebie on top of the free shipping.
In its current form Amazon isn’t going to trouble Netflix. The latter has a lot more content on offer and for only a few dollars more per year. However, it’s highly likely this is just the start of Amazon’s assault on the streaming video sector.
If Amazon was to increase the content on offer or even introduce a small yearly fee purely for an eat-all-you-can buffet-style streaming video service, then Netflix would have real competition on its hands.
Personally, I think it’s just a matter of time.
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