Phase One of Amazon’s Plan to Destroy Netflix Is Now Complete

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Photo: Jonathan Fickies/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Amazon's much-anticipated plan to offer video streaming of recent movies and TV shows is finally out. Right now, the service, which lets users watch 5,000 pieces of "prime eligible" content from their laptops or other devices, is open only to paying members of Amazon Prime, the company's fast-track shipping service. An annual premium subscription to Prime costs $79 a year. A year of Netflix's $7.99-a-month streaming-only plan costs consumers more than $95. Netflix still has the advantage of a bigger catalogue, estimated around 20,000 movies and TV shows, but 5,000 is just Amazon's initial offering. Netflix's early success with consumers has saddled the company with a big, fat bull's-eye on its back. Internet service providers are trying to charge higher fees to tax Netflix for sucking up their bandwidth. Cable companies and TV and movie networks are charging higher fees and levying longer wait times so that Netflix can't cut into the big advertising revenues that come with newer, prime programming. It remains to be seen whether they'll play nicer with a tech behemoth with a market cap of $83 billion. But for now, we're going to remain loyal to the company that makes it easier for us to find Robot Apocalypse Fantasies With a Strong Female Lead.

Amazon launches Prime instant videos, unlimited streaming for Prime subscribers [Engadget]
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