Amazon (s AMZN) is offering some users who don’t want to drop $79 on an annual Prime membership another option: Paying $7.99 a month. While that actually adds up to more money on a yearly basis ($95.88), it may bring new users into the fold — and it could help Amazon compete against Hulu+ and Netflix (s NFLX), both of which charge $7.99 a month for their streaming video plans.
“We are always looking at ways to improve the shopping experience for our customers,” an Amazon spokeswoman told me. “We are testing a monthly Prime subscription.”
Amazon Prime gives members free two-day shipping, free streaming of about 25,000 movies and TV shows, and access to the Kindle Owners’ Lending Library. (Prime members who own a Kindle can borrow one book for free per month, from a selection of mostly self-published titles.) The new option is geared toward users who don’t already have Prime memberships and who might be more interested in the movies and TV than the other services.
The option appears to only be available to some users for now, and if you go to the Prime signup page, you may not even see it as an option. I was able to recreate the $7.99/month offer on my own computer, but it took a little doing. I’m an annual Prime member, and when I signed out of my account and checked the Prime options again, I was still pitched the $79/year option. When I switched browsers, though, I saw a screen with the $7.99/month option.