Netflix just got a brand new and extremely powerful competitor: Amazon.
On Sunday, the company launched a new, stand-alone service called Prime Video that will allow users to sign up for a monthly video streaming service for just $8.99.
That price is one dollar more than Netflix’s lowest plan ($7.99) which lacks HD video, but a full dollar less than Netflix’s popular Standard plan (HD included), which goes for $9.99.
The service will include the ability to download shows for offline viewing according to the Wall Street Journal. Like Netflix, Amazon has been aggressively developing its own original properties, including Transparent and Man in the High Castle, but it still hasn’t managed to garner the stunning success of Netflix hits like House of Cards, Orange is the New Black and Daredevil.
Nevertheless, this latest move from the Seattle-based company indicates that Amazon is willing to be just as patient as Netflix was in developing what is becoming a real alternative to traditional network and cable television.
Another major shift for the online retailer now doubling as video streaming service is its decision to offer Amazon Prime as a monthly rather than yearly subscription feature. Now all users will be able to pay $10.99 per month for Amazon Prime with the option to turn it off and stop paying at any time.
Rolling the service out just before Netflix’s Monday first-quarter earnings report is almost certainly strategic on Amazon’s part. Now we get to see if Netflix has any quick and innovative responses to the new competition.