With the popularity of streaming video services growing every day, it’s somewhat surprising that Netflix – arguably the Godfather of them all – has yet to be presented with any serious competition. To date, the streaming giant has had a veritable monopoly over the vast pool of customer demand for quality, instantaneous home entertainment.
Given its reasonable base price subscription of $7.99, extensive film and television catalogue and a list of continually growing, often acclaimed original programming titles, Netflix’s place at the top isn’t an easy one to challenge. Some big names like Hulu, CBS and HBO have waded into the competitive waters, though the challenge they’ve presented Netflix thus far has been minimal at best.
It isn’t surprising then, that a real challenge to Netflix’s supremacy was bound to come along sooner or later. According to the Wall Street Journal, online retail giant Amazon have just announced that it will be offering a standalone, video-streaming service at the rate of $8.99 per month.
Video-streaming isn’t a new avenue for Amazon, as the Seattle based company has previously offered the option to its Amazon Prime customers. The new streaming service however, will allow anyone to enjoy Amazon’s programming without paying the $99 per year rate of an Amazon Prime account. In addition to the service’s $8.99 price tag, customers will also have the option of turning their accounts off and on as they please, without the burden of a contract. Amazon’s programming is also already shaping up nicely thus far, securing deals to air older HBO content (Netflix currently offers zero HBO content) as well as premium TV network Epix’s catalogue. Original programming will also be forthcoming, as Amazon has already nailed down Woody Allen’s first comedy television series.
As Netflix raises its HD, multi-stream, base subscription price from $7.99 to $9.99, Amazon’s $8.99 price tag is enticing enough to gain the attention of consumers. Of course, Netflix has had a firm position in this field for some time now and this experience has allowed them to expand their catalogue and offer smooth, dependable streaming. Some Amazon Prime customers have previously complained of lackluster streaming capabilities from their service. This as well as the speed with which Amazon can build a wide and diverse catalogue will likely be a deciding factor for many. It won’t happen over night, but Amazon does have the reputation, customer allegiance and outright might to muscle in on Netflix’s current stronghold of the streaming-video market.
At present, Netflix has built a loyal fanbase – although their recent decision to block VPN proxies has angered many subscribers. If Amazon does steal the streaming crown from Netflix, it will likely take many years and during this time new challengers could also swoop in. As home video-streaming becomes more the norm, customers are most likely to go with the provider who offers the most, for the best price. At present, that title goes to Netflix, but as we all know, times change very fast.