Amazon Appears Ready To Challenge Netflix

If these screen grabs unearthed by Engadget on Saturday are as legitimate as they appear to be, Netflix (NSDQ: NFLX) could have a new rival on its hands courtesy of Amazon (NSDQ: AMZN). With apparent plans in place to offer streaming of movies and TV shows, Amazon may be on the verge of mounting the stiffest challenge Netflix has faced yet.

While Amazon has yet to confirm anything, it seems pretty clear what the company has in the works is making streamed content an add-on to its existing Amazon Prime service, which provides free two-day shipping on any products consumers buy from Amazon.

That’s a hugely compelling alternative to Netflix for a number of reasons. First, the $79 it costs to be a part of Amazon Prime is cheaper than $95 Netflix subscribers have to shell out. Amazon also has pockets deep enough to match Netflix on content spending, and may even be able to provide content Netflix doesn’t have.

How swiftly fortunes change: Netflix couldn’t seem to be flying any higher after last week’s gravity-defying fourth-quarter earnings. While those sky-high expectations for the company’s year-ahead will persist, confirmation that the long-awaited competition has arrived could impact Netflix’s stock come Monday.