Amazon made a giant announcement today. Currently replacing their plug for their Kindle, is a note from Amazon CEO, Jeff Bezos. It reads:
Millions of people are already Amazon Prime members and enjoy unlimited free two-day shipping. Today, we're excited to add a brand new benefit to Amazon Prime: unlimited, commercial-free, instant streaming of 5,000 movies and TV shows. Prime will continue to be $79 per year - this new benifit is being added at no additional cost.
You can instantly stream the movies and TV shows on your PC, Mac or any of the nearly 200 models of Internet connected TVs, Blu-ray players and set-top boxes.
You'll find movies like The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo trilogy, Amadeus, Syriana and Chariots of Fire, documentaries like Food, Inc., March of the Penguins and Ken Burns' National Parks, TV series such as Doctor Who, Farscape, The Dick Van Dyke Show, Fawtly Towers and the BBC Office, and the kids shows like Arthur, Caillou, Super Why! and Mister Rogers' Neighborhood.
If you already a paid Prime member, you can start watching now. If not, join the millions of people who are already members. Start your one month free trial of Amazon Prime now and begin enjoying the benefits of free two day shipping and unlimited instant streaming of movies and TV shows today.
Founder & CEO
While $79 a year may first strike you as a high price to pay for streaming video, it actually comes down to roughly $6.50 a month, Netflix offers their streaming only option for $7.99 a month. It's not all about price though. The winner of streaming media boils down to two key factors: device support
What really positions these two companies for a great competitive marketplace (the best kind for innovation and price), is that both these services have been committed to opening their services to every platform possible. Netflix and Amazon Video are available on new internet connected TV's, set top boxes such as TiVo's and the Boxee Box, Blu-ray players and more. What tips the scale in favor of Netflix here is being available on video consoles that many consumers already have connected to their TV (Microsoft's Xbox 360, Sony's Playstation 3 and the Nintendo Wii).
Of course, it doesn't matter where you can watch a video you don't want to watch. The content battle has already been raging between companies like Blockbuster, Netflix and Hulu for some time, and we are no where closer to a single "go-to" nirvana that when it all started. A quick glance over Amazon's on demand content doesn't show any promise for that to change. Not including the Girl with the Dragoon Tattoo trilogy, the top 10 Amazon bestsellers are Food, Inc (2008)
, Red Cliff (2008)
and Two Lovers (2008)
. The TV show offerings are similar, if not more outdated. Its clear that Amazon either chose to scrape the bottom of the content barrel, looking for low royalty content they could develop their service around, or failed to be able to garner a decent deal with Hollywood.
I'm really hoping that it's the former rather than latter. Really what makes Amazon making a move to become a major video content provider exciting, is they are the first company to do so that has more to offer Hollywood than paying for access. Being the worlds largest online retailer at least makes people listen when you want to make a deal. But that is all speculative at this point.
Amazon has a way to go. If you already a regular Amazon Prime user, it is definitely worth browsing through and seeing if there is anything interesting to you, just don't expect any of the latest titles. But whenever a big boy gets in the pool it causes waves, and also shows that streaming media is going to be a hot market in the upcoming years, watch out Comcast.