If you’ve gotten yourself good and hooked on The Man in the High Castle or any of Amazon’s other original shows (or if you just can’t tear yourself away from the convenience of having goodies delivered to your door), get ready to pay a little more to keep binging it all home.
Beginning this summer, Amazon will begin charging $20 more per year for access to Amazon Prime, meaning everything from cost-free shipping to re-binging on episodes of Electric Dreams will cost customers used to the current $99 annual membership an additional $1.67 per month.
Variety is reporting that Amazon CFO Brian Olsavsky informed investors of the coming increase on a recent earnings call, saying the higher rates, which affect U.S. customers only, will take effect beginning June 16 for current annual subscribers “based on their renewal period.”
Framed in monthly terms, the bump seems relatively modest, but it’s not the only Prime price increase Amazon has made this year.
Back in January, Prime customers who subscribed on a monthly basis were introduced to a new fee structure that raised rates from $10.99 per month to $12.99 — a nearly 20 percent increase. At the time, annual subscribers’ $99 per-year rate remained unaffected, and at the new $119 yearly rate, they’ll still be paying less overall than the $156 per year that monthly subscribers are now handing over.
It’s significant to note also that Amazon didn’t mention any fee increases for Prime customers who are paying $8.99 per month for a standalone streaming subscription — one that doesn’t come with all that free shipping that full Prime members pay extra for. But that doesn’t mean a change isn’t coming.
With nothing more to go on than Amazon’s recent interest in a handful of pricey media rights, including a five-year, quarter-billion dollar series commitment to create Prime Video programming based on J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings, it’s hard to be too surprised that rates are going up — and that Amazon might elect to raise them further still.
But with new, presumably binge-worthy marquee titles in the works, it’s clear that Amazon believes it’s in a position to offer value for what customers will be paying in the future, and that the company’s global subscriber base — already 100 million strong — will keep growing.
As major players like Disney gear up to enter the streaming fray, it’s only going to get harder to decide where best to spend your couch-bound entertainment pocket change. So if you’re among those who juggle multiple subscriptions just so you can have your High Castle (Amazon), your Handmaid’s Tale (Hulu), and eat your Santa Clarita Diet (Netflix) too, let us know if you see a streaming tipping point somewhere on the near horizon.