Free streaming video for Amazon Prime members

By Reuters
Posted Feb. 22 at 9:05 a.m. Inc. on Tuesday added a streaming-video service offering for its $79-a-year Amazon Prime members, an expected move by the online retailer as it looks to more directly compete with Netflix Inc.

The company already sells and rents movies online through digital downloads and streaming, but its services faced tough competition from rivals like Netflix and YouTube. Amazon has also delved into publishing e-books through its Digital Text system, which allows writers to upload and sell manuscripts without professional editing that can be read on its Kindle e-reader.

The latest offering gives Amazon Prime members access to 5,000 movies and television shows. The new benefit is added at no additional cost to those members, Amazon said. Amazon Prime is a yearly membership program that offers customers unlimited free two-day shipping with no minimum purchase requirement.

A blog report last month had fueled talk about Amazon’s plans to launch the service to compete with Netflix.

Last month, Amazon reported its fourth-quarter earnings rose 8.3%, better than expected, as revenue jumped 36%, although the growth fell short of Wall Street’s estimates.

Amazon shares were off 2.65% to $181.55 in recent trading.

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