Amazon announced that it has raised the price of its monthly memberships. This change went into affect on January 19, 2018, for those who create an Amazon Prime membership after that date. For current Amazon Prime members, the monthly price will increase when your membership period ends.
The monthly membership fees for Amazon Prime and Prime Student changed on January 19, 2018. The new price change depends on the type of monthly membership. The Prime membership for new members has increased from $10.99 to $12.99. The Prime membership for the discounted Prime Student monthly plan for new sign-ups increased from $5.49 to $6.49.
If you already have a Prime account, or a Prime Student account, and want to continue making monthly payments, your membership price will change. The new price will take effect either at the end of your free trial, or at the end of your chosen membership period. At that time, your card will automatically be charged for the next membership period.
Prime Video membership is staying at $8.99 a month.
Amazon points out that if you don’t happen to like the new change to price of the monthly plan, you could choose to be charged on an annual basis instead. Annual memberships for Prime are $99. Annual Memberships for Prime Student are $49. I figure that people who wanted an annual payment would have picked that option instead of the monthly one.
Amazon has a special Prime membership for people who are eligible for government assistance programs. The price of this type of Amazon membership is $5.99 a month. Amazon is not raising that price.
Amazon is offering Prime at a reduced cost for people who are receiving government assistance and who use an EBT card. Customers who qualify can get Prime benefits for $5.99 per month. Amazon is doing this to make Prime more accessible.
Customers who have an Electronic Benefits Transfer (EBT) card can qualify for the discounted membership. Membership includes Prime Video, Prime Music, Prime Reading, Prime Photos and unlimited fast, free shipping for $5.99 per month for one year, with the ability to cancel anytime.
Vice President of Amazon Prime, Greg Greeley, said “We designed this membership option for customers receiving government assistance to make our everyday selection and savings more accessible, including the many conveniences and entertainment benefits of Prime.”
At launch, customers will need to qualify with a valid EBT card. An EBT card is commonly used to disperse funds for several government assistance programs including Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF), Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), and Women, Infants and Children Nutrition Program (WIC). EBT cannot be used to pay for membership.
Customers can qualify every 12 months up to 4 times. Amazon will add other ways to qualify in the future for customers participating in government assistance programs that do not utilize EBT. There is no annual commitment and members can cancel at any time.
Offering Prime for a discounted cost to people who use EBT is going to be very helpful for many reasons. Free shipping can help people who are elderly or disabled, and who have difficulty going to a store to shop for groceries and household items.
The free shipping can also help low-income people who live in rural areas and who do not have a grocery store nearby. Sometimes, the cost of the gas they burned to get to a grocery store overwhelms the discounts they would have gotten from coupons. Prime offers 20% off diaper subscriptions. This, combined with the free shipping, can help moms who are on WIC to afford to purchase a healthy amount of diapers for their babies.
If there’s one trend that’s become a focal point in the age of digital video streaming it’s exclusivity. This has become very apparent in the way established services like Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon Prime Video have treated their original shows. Want to watch a show like Orange Is The New Black or The Man In The High Castle? You’ll have to pay for individual accounts on the services responsible for producing those shows. Otherwise, you’re going to miss something.
HBO was hardly on the cutting edge of video streaming when it launched its HBO Now service that allows users to watch HBO shows without a cable subscription. In fact, HBO is as close to a legacy provider as premium paid video gets, with its roots going all the way back to the earliest days of widespread cable television distribution. It was only a matter of time after launching HBO Now that the company would begin to circle the wagons around its own product. And with a recent announcement that HBO will be removing its shows from Amazon Prime Video, the company is doing just that.
If you’re currently getting your Game of Thrones or Sopranos fixes thru Amazon, don’t fret. The move won’t be made right away. HBO shows should still be available on Amazon’s platform until the middle of 2018. But once the change takes hold, the only places HBO shows will still be available will either be on paid satellite TV services or HBO’s official apps.
Last week Amazon Prime debuted its first original series in the form Alpha House. Today, the trend continues as Betas becomes available to subscribers — no word on a potential Gamma show, yet.
The retail giant is following the formula put forth with the comedy series Alpha House. In other words, it is releasing the first three episodes all at once, and then doling them out one per week thereafter.
“Betas has been an incredibly fun show to create for customers. We have a stellar cast of comedians and actors, and we think customers are going to enjoy it”, said Roy Price, Director of Amazon Studios. “he chemistry these guys have on set definitely translates to the screen. While their characters are still very much underdogs, it’s easy to find yourself hoping they make it big in techland”.
Prime video is available via the web or through apps on Google TV, Roku, the Xbox, PlayStation and other set-top boxes. It is also tightly integrated with the company’s Kindle Fire tablets, of which two new HDX models are now available.