Amazon is going to war with Netflix.
The online retail giant is letting customers subscribe to its video streaming service by itself for the first time, CNN Money reports — creating a standalone service that acts as a direct competitor to Netflix.
Amazon has been heavily investing in its digital content business in recent years. But until now, it has only ever been available as part of Amazon Prime, Amazon’s subscription service that also includes free one-day delivery.
But now customers will be able to subscribe on a month-by-month basis just to the video options — straight-forwardly named Amazon Video.
Its price also undercuts Netflix by a dollar — Amazon Video will cost $8.99 per month, versus $9.99 for Netflix. (European pricing or launch details for Amazon Video weren’t immediately available, but it seems likely it will similarly undercut Netflix on the Continent.)
Another change: Customers can also subscribe to the full Amazon Prime service on a monthly basis. It costs $10.99 a month, or $99 a year in the US.
Amazon boasts an increasingly impressive roster of content in its video service, with high-budget original shows like “The Man In The High Castle” and the forthcoming show by the “Top Gear” team.
But Netflix is a formidable opponent: In a recent Morgan Stanley poll, 29% of people surveyed said that Netflix has the best original content — beating HBO for the first time, and trouncing Amazon Prime, which just 5% said had the best material. Netflix also has the most loyal subscribers of all its competitors, according to research from Parks Associates.