It's on ... Amazon targets Netflix with stand-alone streaming service
Amazon is taking on Netflix and Hulu with its own stand-alone video streaming service, just weeks before Netflix raises prices for longtime subscribers.
New customers can now pay US$8.99 a month to watch Amazon's Prime video streaming service.
Previously, the only way to watch Amazon's videos was to pay US$99 a year for Prime membership, which includes free two-day shipping on items sold by the site, and other perks.
The service is only available in the US, Britain, Germany and Austria.
Most of the shows on Amazon's video service are available on Lightbox or Neon in New Zealand.
READ MORE: NZ not affected by Netflix price hike
At US$8.99 a month, Amazon's stand-alone streaming service is $1 less than Netflix's standard membership and $1 more than Hulu's basic subscription.
Amazon's decision to break off its video streaming service could cause some defections at Netflix, wrote Wedbush analyst Michael Pachter in a note to clients.
Both companies have invested heavily in original and exclusive programming. Netflix has Orange is the New Black, House of Cards and a couple of series based on Marvel comic characters.
Amazon's offerings include Transparent, Mozart in the Jungle and previously aired HBO shows.
Amazon may be a rival, but Netflix is also an Amazon customer. The Los Gatos, California-based streaming company uses Amazon Web Services to store its content and help run parts of its site and apps.