Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos' company is competing against Netflix' monthly video streaming service. File Photo by Phil McCarten/UPI | License Photo
SEATTLE, April 18 (UPI) -- Amazon is challenging Netflix's monthly video streaming service.
Starting Monday, the retailing giant is allowing consumers to subscribe to its video service on monthly plans. Previously, the service was available only to members of Amazon Prime, the annual subscription service that offers free shipping and other perks.
The new plan costs $8.99 a month, which is $1 below Netflix's standard plan. Netflix also offers a non-high-definition plan or $7.99 a month.
Amazon also announced it is offering Amazon Prime on a monthly basis of $10.99.
Amazon's Prime plan is $99 a year compared with $132 over a year on a monthly basis. Consumers opting to pay for the video package would only pay $108 a year on the monthly plan.
Amazon last month introduced a $10.99 monthly Prime plan for customers of Sprint to tack the service on to their monthly cellphone bills.
Amazon is competing with Netflix in original content, offering Transparent, which won five Emmys last year. Netflix's offerings include House of Cards, Orange is the New Black and Marvel's Daredevil.
Amazon has beefed up its content offerings. It has the rights to Downtown Abbey and Mr. Robot, which are not available on Netflix.
Investment Banker Piper Jaffray estimates there are between 57 million and 61 million Prime subscribers. Netflix crossed 81.5 million subscribers in the first quarter of 2016, the company announced Monday.
Netflix is by far the most popular site for original content.
In a recent Morgan Stanley survey, Netflix has been voted as the "best" original content media company compared with any other premium TV or internet-video subscription service. HBO was No. 1 for several years, but is now in second place. Of the respondents to the survey, 29 percent voted for Netflix as the best in original programming, with HBO getting only 18 percent of the votes and Amazon in the 4-5 percent range.
Amazon is set to report another jump in revenue when it reports first-quarter results Wednesday. Its stock price climbed 1.51 percent to $635.35, up $9.46, at the close of trading Monday on Nasdaq.
Amazon in January reported fourth-quarter net income of $1 per share on $35.75 billion in sales. Revenue rose 22 percent from $29.3 billion in the previous year.
Netflix brought in $1.81 billion in revenue during the quarter, below the $1.97 billion that analysts anticipated.
Netflix shares closed down nearly 2.8 percent, or $3.11, to $108.40 on Nasdaq.