While it won’t show up for everybody just yet, some people are beginning to see a new option for Amazon Prime subscriptions. Instead of the long-running annual fee option, it will now be possible to subscribe to the service for just $7.99 per month. This might be a premium when you compare the annual total to the more expensive initial investment, but it will be a huge factor in increasing adoption this holiday season.
There has been no official release from Amazon confirming the details about this new subscription plan. Even seeing the advertisement for it seems to be difficult for some people, though logging out of your Amazon.com account and trying a variety of browsers tends to eventually result in a productive combination. It is possible that we’re looking at a limited test phase as the company gets ready for a rush of Kindle Fire HD users over the holidays that the company needs to hook on the service as quickly as possible.
Starting…well, whenever this goes more public…the monthly option will put pressure on competing video services like Netflix and Hulu. While Amazon Prime still lacks the depth of selection that the competing services have available it is still building up a huge library of subscriber-friendly media. Tie this into the other benefits like the Kindle Owner’s Lending Library and the unlimited free two-day shipping to anywhere in the US and it’s a huge bargain that video-only services can’t equal.
So far we haven’t heard from anybody outside the US who has been able to view the ad that gives us the current pricing. This could mean that it’s going to be a later rollout or it could mean that the offer will start out as exclusive to the US. The monthly option does seem to be built as an imitation of Netflix’s pricing scheme and as such might not be considered appropriate in markets where the Prime video selection isn’t as robust yet.
Expect to hear about huge increases in subscription sales in the first quarter of next year. The Kindle Fire HD is the top Android tablet in its size/price bracket and comes with a free month of Amazon Prime membership. The formerly daunting $79 subscription fee that comes up after that free trial ends was definitely worth it for anybody who shops the site regularly, but the $7.99 monthly fee will be even harder to argue against. It might be almost $17 more per year than the annual option, but if you buy at least two things per month from Amazon the math becomes quite easy to follow based on shipping savings alone.