Amazon Lets You Feel Like a Prime Member for A While

Amazon Video has posted pilot episodes of their most popular original series to view for free on their YouTube channel and on Facebook.

Now that Netflix has proved that a single original series can make an even bigger name for an already household name (cue “Stranger Things” and the hoopla it brings), other streaming services are unleashing their appeal from whatever angle they can.

According to their own websites, Netflix’s allows a free trial month before a member will have to pay for a “basic” account, which is $7.99 a month. The price goes up two dollars a month depending on if the member wants to double the screens his or her family and/or friends can watch at a time. Amazon also allows a free trial month, and for a total “Prime” membership, the member can pay $10.99 a month, or $99 annually. But for just Prime Video, a member can simply pay $8.99 monthly.

That’s a lot of math for someone who just wants to stream and binge-watch his or her favorite shows. But however you slice it, Netflix offers the cheapest option with only $7.99 for a “basic” account. And with Netflix’s multiple Emmy-awarded shows such as “House of Cards” and “Orange is the New Black,” and now with the obsessively-followed “Stranger Things,” Netflix looks like it can sit back and chill for a while (no pun intended).

However, according to Engadget, Prime’s membership grew over 50 percent in 2015. In fact, Amazon does not think Netflix can so easily win at the streaming game, because Amazon is not just playing that game. There is a reason there is a difference between Prime and Prime Video membership – Amazon knows it has more to offer.

Jan Dawson, chief analyst at Jackdaw Research, told CNBC, “The challenge for Amazon is that its default model for video is still a Prime subscription, which is a lot to bite off if all you want is video…I suspect putting the pilots on YouTube is a way to reach more users that might otherwise have no access to Amazon Instant Video, and perhaps lure some of them in with this free content.”

Though whole Prime Membership Subscription is a lot to chew off for, again, someone who just wants to watch shows without any hassle – Amazon Prime overall has its free shipping and Prime membership-only deals to entice viewers away from the competition. Michael Pachter, managing director of equity research at Wedbush Securities, even told CNBC that Amazon had “declared war” on Netflix when it first opened its video streaming doors.

On the other hand, Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos told the Recode’s 2016 Code Conference, “We don’t compete with Netflix…I think people are going to subscribe to both.” But why? “From a business POV for us, we get to monetize that content in an unusual way…When we win a Golden Globe, it helps us sell more shoes in a very direct way.”

So even if the head of Amazon himself does not think one service will reign supreme, it looks like it is because he knows the obvious: If someone buys one video membership, what is going to stop them from buying another – especially when both have such unique services and content to offer? Fair enough.

In the meantime, check out the first episode of the Amazon original “The Man in The High Castle,” on their YouTube channel. The series shows what the world would be like if the Allies had lost to the Axis Powers in WWII. Based on Phillip K. Dick’s novel, the show is suspenseful, surreal, and free for those without a Prime membership. Are we sure Amazon is not winning?

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Sarah Johnson

Sarah studied English at the University of South Carolina and dreams of becoming a best-selling author. If she's not watching the latest films and T.V. shows, she's most definitely writing about them. Sarah is a Contributing Writer for Monologue Blogger.