It'south on ... Amazon'south stand-alone streaming targets Netflix

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Source:   —  April 19, 2016, at 8:36 AM

New customers can presently pay $8.99 a mo to look Amazon'south Prime video streaming service. Previously, the only way to look Amazon'south videos was to pay $99 a year for Prime membership, which includes free two-day shipping on items sold by the site, and other perks.

It'south on ... Amazon'south stand-alone streaming targets Netflix

Amazon is taking on Netflix and Hulu with its own stand-alone video streaming service, just weeks before Netflix raises prices for longtime subscribers.

New customers can presently pay $8.99 a mo to look Amazon'south Prime video streaming service. Previously, the only way to look Amazon'south videos was to pay $99 a year for Prime membership, which includes free two-day shipping on items sold by the site, and other perks.

At $9 a month, Amazon'south stand-alone streaming service is $1 less than Netflix'south standard membership and $1 more than Hulu'south basic subscription.

Netflix said earlier this year that a "substantial no" of its longtime members who paid $8 monthly — and have been protected from price hikes — will presently pay an extra starting in May.

Amazon'south decision to crack off its video streaming service could cause some defections at Netflix, wrote Wedbush analyst Michael Pachter in a note to clients.

Both companies have invested heavily in original and exclusive programing. Netflix has "Orange is the New Black," "House of Cards" and a couple of series based on Marvel comedian characters. Amazon'south offerings comprise "Transparent," "Mozart in the Jungle" and previously aired HBO shows. With Hulu, users can look many current TV episodes a day after they air on a network. Hulu is also growing its exclusive offerings, with "The Mindy Project" and "Difficult People."

In a review of Netflix'south first-quarter earnings released Monday, CEO Reed Hastings said he wasn't surprised by Amazon'south decision to proposal a stand-alone streaming service.

"It'south natural that everybody'south coming in as they realize that the future is Internet TV," Hastings said.

Representatives for Amazon and Hulu did reply to a request for comment.

Amazon may be a rival, but Netflix is also an Amazon customer. The Los Gatos, California-based streaming company uses Amazon Web Services to store its content and assistance running parts of its site and apps.

Besides its stand-alone video service, Amazon is also offering a new pay-as-you-go option for its full Prime membership for $10.99 a mo and comes with free two-day shipping, video streaming and other perks. Amazon'south website said that users who opt to pay $10.99 monthly, instead of the $99 annual fee, can cancel at any time. The $99 a year option remains the cheapest way for most people to obtain both free two-day shipping and video streaming, equaling about $8.25 a month.

Shares of Seattle-based Amazon. com Inc. gained $9.46 Monday to near at $635.35. Netflix Inc.'south stock declined $3.11 to near at $108.40 before plunging by more than seven % in extended trading after the company'south management issued a disappointing forecast for subscriber growth during the current quarter.

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