Amazon Takes on Netflix Offering Movie Subscriptions

Those interested in immediate gratification have made Netflix a popular choice for movie viewing.  Amazon has now taken on the challenge of competing with Netflix.  Amazon’s “Prime” subscription program costs $79/year which includes their 2-day shipping on purchases.  Prime also includes more than 5,000 video-streaming movies and television shows.  Most of what they offer includes older television seasons and movies.

Netflix’s “Watch Instantly” program costs $7.99 a month and video-streams over 20,000 titles.  This brings their price to over $95/year.  Many of their movies are newer, but their TV shows consistent of previous seasons.  

Amazon is entering this market in hope of increasing their digital business.  According to the Wall Street Journal, “The streaming-video offering could lead customers to buy or rent the 90,000 movies and shows that Amazon already offers on an a la carte basis.” 

In an effort to compete, Netflix has entered into a two-year deal with CBS to provide television shows.  WSJ reported, “Netflix will pay CBS hundreds of millions of dollars over the course of the nonexclusive, two-year licensing pact, which gives CBS the option to extend it for up to two years and add more content in return for higher compensation.” 

How will this affect the cable and satellite industry’s relationship with TV networks?  That is something that TV executives must consider as more than $30 billion a year comes to networks from subscriptions. 

Netflix is no stranger to competition.  Netflix’s competition with Itunes, led to their removing limits for streaming of video. PCworld reported, “Previously the amount of streaming content subscribers could access was dependent on their subscription level. For example, the $16.99 membership allowed for 17 hours of streaming movie content. With the new unlimited plan, all subscription levels, with the exception of the lowest $4.99 plan, will be able to stream as many Netflix movies and TV shows as they’d like to their PCs.”

Itunes has been tough to beat in movie downloads.  As Forbes pointed out, “ITunes already dominates the world of movie downloads. In 2010 the service accounted for 64.5% of all movie downloads and rentals.”

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