Many have speculated that Amazon would soon be offering a stand-alone version of its Prime Instant Video service, but it seems the e-commerce isn’t ready to make that move just quite yet.
Speculation was running high this week that Amazon would be offering a stand-alone version of its Prime Instant Videos when it announced its new deal with Viacom. The announcement came and went without a word about about an unbundled version of the video service. Currently the only way to get access to the company’s growing selection of streaming content is by enrolling in Amazon Prime, a service that costs you $79 a year and gives you unlimited second-day air shipping on most items sold through the retailer. Amazon has yet to say anything about spinning the service off, but many analysts have felt that should Amazon ever do so that it could be a serious competitor to Netflix.
Speaking with GigaOm earlier this week, Brad Beale, Head of Digital Video Content Acquisition at Amazon, shared some thoughts on why it doesn’t make sense to offer Amazon Prime Instant Videos as a stand-alone product quite yet. “The bundle of benefits that come with Amazon Prime make perfect sense to offer to customers,” Mr. Beale said. “The way that Prime Instant Video is offered today — we’re going to continue that approach at least into the near future.”
The more we’ve given this some thought, the more we realize that there is really no compelling reason for Amazon to ever make this a spin-off from Amazon Prime. Currently the service offers 15,000 “free” titles, and you get access to those for $79 a year, which breaks down to $6.58 a month, well below the $7.99 a month for either Netflix or Hulu Plus. Once you enter the Amazon eco-system it also makes it incredibly tempting to order some items as you know they’ll get to your door within two days in most cases. And while your browsing around the free videos, you may also encounter some of the 100,000 videos they rent and sell. I know I’ve taken more than a few looks through their videos up for sale when browsing the interface via my Roku, and it is awfully tempting at times to rent a film.
Will Amazon ever spin the service out on its own? Really, one has to wonder why they should even bother thinking about it. If you’re after only the videos, go ahead and plunk down the annual $79 fee and just don’t allow yourself to browse anything else.