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Amazon takes on Netflix and Hulu Plus by testing $7.99 monthly Prime plan (update)

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Amazon Prime, which offers unlimited TV and movie streaming among other services, is now available via a $7.99 per-month plan. The new pricing, first noticed by Hacking Netflix, will set customers back a little more than the regular $79 annual subscription, but obviously there's a significantly lower initial cost. $7.99 also happens to match the monthly cost of a Netflix or Hulu Plus membership, and Amazon is clearly hoping that price-matching its competitors will help drive more subscriptions. Prime members also get access to the Kindle Owners' Lending Library, along with free two-day shipping on any purchases.

There's some confusion over whether the option for annual subscriptions will be available long-term. We tried signing up to Prime from two locations. The first test — which didn't show the new splash screen pictured above — offered us a choice between annual and monthly pricing, while the second — which did — would only allow us to subscribe monthly. Amazon's FAQ has not been updated to reflect the new monthly option. We've reached out to Amazon regarding its pricing structure and will update this article once things are a little clearer.

Update: Amazon reached out to TechCrunch and let it know that the $7.99 plan is in a test phase, saying that "we are always looking at ways to improve the shopping experience for our customers. We are testing a monthly Prime subscription. Beyond that, we don't have anything further to offer."

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