Amazon Prime Goes Monthly in New Challenge to Netflix

(CNN MONEY) Amazon Prime is going monthly and taking even more direct aim at Netflix.

On Sunday night the online retailer is turning on a monthly subscription option for its bundle of Prime services, like free shipping, a music library, and a growing collection of original TV shows and movies.

Until now, Prime has only been available as a $99 annual subscription.

What's more, Amazon is now offering a separate monthly subscription just for its TV and movie collection — the part it calls Prime Video.

Amazon has never made Prime Video available as its own product before. It's always been a part of the bundle. So it seems like Amazon is positioning Prime Video as a head-on competitor to Netflix and Hulu.

The standalone Prime Video service will cost $8.99 a month.

The new offering comes at the same time Netflix implements price hikes for many of its members. (Longtime subscribers to Netflix's standard plan who were paying $7.99 a month will start paying $9.99 a month in May.)

Netflix will report first quarter earnings on Monday afternoon.

As for Amazon, the company says it has decided that Prime does not have to be one-size-fits-all.

The $99 annual bundle will remain in place, and will remain the best value overall.

The month-to-month subscription for just Prime Video would cost $107.88 over the course of a year. But Amazon expects the offer to appeal to some new subscribers because it avoids an annual commitment.

Amazon will also sell the full Prime bundle, including free shipping, for $10.99 a month, coming out to $131.88 over the course of a year.

The company started to test this monthly option through a partnership with Sprint last month.Sprint customers are able to add the Prime bundle to their wireless bill each month.

The rationale for that, similarly, was that it created a new on-ramp onto Prime and provided an alternative to an annual commitment.

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