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Updated at 11:37 am PT with clarification about this being a “test.”

E-commerce giant Amazon is quietly testing an $8 monthly option for its Prime program, which gives customers access to free 2-day shipping, monthly Kindle rentals, and a decent selection of unlimited streaming video.

Amazon previously only offered Prime for $79 a year, which means people concerned about that up-front pricing could try out Prime for several months to see if they get their money’s worth with the program. This new pricing option is also incredibly attractive for the holiday season, when you might want Prime benefits for just a few months.

Additionally, the change signals Amazon’s intention to be a bigger player in streaming media. The $8-a-month pricing closely resembles Netflix and Hulu Plus’ plans, but by all accounts, it offers a less robust movie and TV selection. Still, Amazon is banking on the addition of free 2-day shipping and Kindle rentals to the video streaming package to make up for its paltry options.

One caveat for those attracted to the new pricing: The $8 monthly fee ends up costing about $96 total over the course of a year. So it’s still cheaper overall to purchase a $79 yearly subscription to Prime if you feel like you get a lot of value out of the program.

Top photo: Amazon


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