Amazon will rebrand LOVEFiLM next week and fold the video on-demand service into its Amazon Prime scheme for a combined subscription of £79 per year.
LOVEFiLM Instant will become Prime Instant Video, a part of the Amazon website, on Wednesday 26th February, creating a “one-stop service for digital streaming, DVD rentals and books”.
The move has only been a matter of time since the online retailer first bought the Netflix rival in 2011 for a couple of hundred million pounds. Indeed, in the US, Prime Instant Video is already the company’s streaming arm, while the UK’s LOVEFiLM has continued to offer discs through the post for members as well as digital titles. Now, though, the Amazon on-demand brand is going global.
“Consumers will be able to shop for what they want, read what they want and watch they want anywhere at any time,” Tim Leslie, vice-president of Amazon Instant Video for the UK and Germany, told the newspaper.
What will be included?
The Prime service already includes unlimited free UK delivery and the ability to borrow up to 500,000 Kindle ebooks. Combined with LOVEFiLM Instant’s catalogue of TV series, such as 30 Rock and The Walking Dead, and movies, such as The Place Beyond the Pines and The Broken Circle Breakdown, Amazon Prime will become a multi-media subscription programme to trump Netflix; not through price, but through breadth.
Indeed, Amazon is also planning to offer pay-per-view rentals of 50,000 new releases, such as Captain Phillips and Game of Thrones, as well as a subscription-based library, a multi-strand approach already introduced to the UK by Wuaki.tv last year. Amazon, though, is thinking far bigger.
“Even if you have another service you are going to want our service,” Leslie added. “It is the only place you are going to be able to find certain great TV shows, movies and original content all in one place.
“It is the most complete digital video service in the UK.”
How much will it cost?
Amazon Prime currently costs £49 per year. LOVEFiLM Instant costs £5.99 a month, or £71.88 per year, the same as Netflix.
The pricier Prime combination package will cost £79 per year, or roughly £6.58 per month, a discount of 35 per cent from subscribing to each individually.
Compared to Netflix, a monthly charge of £7 for movies, books and delivery is certainly the most rounded package to date for UK on-demand viewers.
Existing LOVEFiLM Instant customers, or those who do not want to buy the combined service, can subscribe to Prime Instant Video for the old price of £5.99 per month. For disc-lovers, LOVEFiLM will still operate as a brand for DVD-by-post rentals, which Amazon will continue to run.
“Our customers already know they are part of Amazon, it is the best thing to happen to LoveFilm since the launch in the first quarter of 2004,” commented Simon Morris, LOVEFiLM’s chief marketing officer.
With Amazon’s existing base of Prime subscribers and casual shoppers, the integration of LOVEFiLM Instant into Prime could be the turning point in the two-horse race to lead the UK VOD market.