Online television and movie streaming services, such as Hulu, Netflix and Amazon Prime Video, have revolutionised how many people watch their favourite shows. Once they are signed up to one or more of these services, consumers are able to change their viewing habits and instead of ensuring they are in front of their television at a given time, or that they set up a personal video recorded to ensure they have saved the show as it is broadcast, people are able to catch up with their favourite television shows on demand. Furthermore, as devices become more and more powerful and, perhaps more importantly, our carriers’ networks are faster and more reliable, more and more of us are watching our favourite shows on our smartphones and tablets.
This is a trend that the carriers are already aware of and many have been deliberately tuning their networks to take advantage of this. We’ve seen T-Mobile USA offer unlimited video streaming from selected on demand movie services. Amazon’s Prime Video has been something of an unusual ondemand service because it has always been bundled as part of the Amazon Prime service – which for many people, means much faster shipping for qualifying goods ordered from the website. And now, in the wake of Amazon offering the Prime service as an add-on to a Sprint line, we are seeing the Amazon Prime Video being offered as a standlone service to sit next to the full Amazon Prime service. Pricing for the just-video service is either $8.99 a month or $99 for the full year, with the full Prime service costing $10.99 (the same as is offered with Sprint).
We can’t be sure how long Amazon have been planning to offer the Prime Video service as a standalone product, but their timing is perfect as Netflix have just announced a price increase: customers who were paying $7.99 a month will see their charges increased to $9.99, which starts next month. For another dollar a month, customers could benefit from the full Amazon Prime service. Arguably, there has never been a better time to sign up to one of the ondemand video streaming services, especially as there is no need to commit a relatively large sum of money for the next year. However, the service that consumers ultimately pick may have more to do with the available shows on the platform rather than pricing: if customers want to view something unavailable on Amazon Prime Video but available on Netflix, the cheaper price will not be an incentive.