Amazon To Battle Netflix, Offer Unlimited Streaming To Prime Members

Nearly six months after the initial reports that it was working on a subscription video streaming service, Amazon announced today that it was joining the group of companies trying to unseat Netflix as the king of video streaming services by offering a “new benefit” to Amazon Prime members — unlimited video streaming from a library of 5,000 titles.

“Millions of Amazon Prime members already enjoy the convenience of free Two-Day Shipping,” said Robbie Schwietzer, vice president of Amazon Prime in a statement. “Adding unlimited instant access to thousands of movies and TV shows at no additional cost is a great way to give members even more value for their $79 annual Amazon Prime membership.”

Here’s a big “but”: The streaming videos are available to all Amazon Prime members except those who are currently enrolled in the program for free through Amazon Student or Amazon Mom. Those members will need to pay the $79 annual fee.

Amazon’s current library is only a fraction of Netflix’s (and more than a few of the titles are also available on Netlix) but with the market for streaming video coming to a boil, and the fact that Amazon already has a la carte rental/purchase deals for over 90,000 movies, it wouldn’t be shocking to see the streaming offerings grow significantly very soon.

This news comes only days after kiosk-based DVD renter Redbox confirmed plans to get into the streaming video business.

For anyone interested, here are Amazon’s initial offerings.