Amazon primes pump for Netflix showdown

Jennifer Saba
Jeff Bezos, CEO of Amazon and Reed Hastings, CEO of Netflix
Getty Images

Amazon just untied video streaming from its U.S. Prime service, which was originally built around free delivery. The $300 billion internet retailer is now offering a stand-alone subscription for square-eyed watchers of "Mozart in the Jungle," the forthcoming ex-BBC "Top Gear" and plenty in between. Amazon's move suggests the popularity of its service is growing. The price is right too: At $8.99 per month, it's a dollar cheaper than Netflix will charge, and that could signal a fight.

Amazon hasn't so far released the number of Americans who shell out $99 annually for Prime. Research firm eMarketer estimates 73 million video viewers by year-end, a figure which allows for multiple watchers under one subscription. Netflix, meanwhile, could attract 127 million pairs of U.S. eyeballs.

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