In case Amazon Prime members think shows like The Man in the High Castle and The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel just grow on trees, they’re about to get a bit of a reminder through their wallets. Amazon is increasing its free-shipping program monthly plan by 18%, from $10.99 to $12.99 per month. The streaming service’s monthly Prime program for students also sees a price hike, jumping a dollar and moving from $5.49 to $6.49 per month.
But not everything has changed: the annual plan for Amazon Prime in the U.S. will remain at $99 per year, and their standalone video subscription option will remain at $8.99 per month. Customers on government assistance will also see their rates remain at the current $5.99 per month level.
For new customers, the price change is effective today; but for existing customers, the increased monthly fee won’t begin until after February 18th. The reason for the price increase seems twofold: to help with Amazon’s commitment to original programming to keep it in line with other services such as Netflix and Hulu; and to drive customers to the annual plan to reduce churn.
Here is Amazon’s official statement on the change:
“Prime provides an unparalleled combination of shipping, shopping and entertainment benefits, and we continue to invest in making Prime even more valuable for our members. The number of items eligible for unlimited Free Two-Day Shipping increased in recent years from 20 million to more than 100 million items. We have expanded Prime Free Same-Day and Prime Free One-Day delivery to more than 8,000 cities and towns. We also continue to introduce new, popular and award-winning Prime Originals…Members also enjoy a growing list of unique benefits like Prime Music, Prime Reading, exclusive products and much more.”
Though Amazon has yet to disclose the total number of people who are Prime customers, the Consumer Intelligence Research Partners estimated in September 2017 that Amazon Prime had approximately 90 million U.S. members; up 38% from 2016. Amazon Prime members receive free shipping of two days or less on 100+ million products; as well as access to Prime Video and Prime Music streaming; Prime Reading ebooks and other titles; and other advantages.
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