Amazon Prime
Online retail giant Amazon has introduced new monthly subscription services in the US as it steps up plans to take on video-streaming services Netflix and Hulu. The new service will cost US$ 8.99 a month for video streaming only.

Amazon's Prime membership service has been growing, but its video streaming has fewer viewers than its competitors.

Until now videos could only be accessed by signing up for a US$ 99-a-year Prime membership that included free-shipping and special deals on other products.

Netflix's monthly subscription is US$ 9.99 and Hulu's service is US$ 7.99 a month.

According to analysts at Consumer Intelligence Research Partners, the number of Amazon Prime users in the US rose to 54 million in 2015, but not all of those use the video service. Netflix has reported having 75 million users worldwide.

Amazon is investing more to produce its own original programming for the video service, including Transparent, The Man in the High Castle, and a new motoring show fronted by the former Top Gear presenters.

Netflix has also had great success with original programming, including House of Cards and Orange is the New Black.

The competition for video streaming customers has intensified as audiences have turned away from traditional television viewing. According to Deloitte, 46 percent of American households paid for a video streaming service in 2015.

Amazon will also offer a US$ 10.99 monthly payment services for full access to its Prime membership. The company's shares were up 0.68 percent in midday trading on Wall Street.