Amazon hikes annual Prime fees to $99

The email arrived in my inbox at 5:12 a.m.: Upcoming Changes To Your Prime Membership.

I didn’t need to read any further, I already knew what was coming. After hinting at a price hike during a January earnings call, Amazon announced on Thursday it would raise its Prime membership fees from $79 to $99.

The new fee takes effect immediately for customers with renewal dates on or after April 17. Lucky for me I get to hold onto my extra $20 until next February.

The voices in my Twitterverse did not greet the news with smile-arrows, with some comparing it to the time Netflix raised its prices, announced Qwikster, and nearly destroyed itself.

It’s a little different. Amazon Prime is more about free shipping than streaming flicks and shows, so although a Prime membership will now cost a few bucks more than a year of Netflix streaming, you’re getting more for your money.

If you’re a consumer like me who buys everything but fresh food and clothing on Amazon, it’s still worth it.

If you don’t buy that much or if you’re using Amazon Prime just for streaming content, you can probably drop it. Also, why would you be using Amazon Prime for content?

A couple of years ago, I might have considered getting rid of Netflix and keeping Prime. The latter allows me to rent and buy movies online, while the former has the advantage in content selection. That gap in content is thinning, with the exception of Netflix’s original programming. Now that I’m fully addicted to shows like House of Cards and Orange is the New Black, I can’t drop Netflix.

Nor can I drop Prime, because I’m too dependent on free shipping. So basically I’m just going to keep paying for everything forever.

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Netflix, Marvel and the coming ‘Geekpocalypse’

To think, just a couple of years ago I was wondering if Netflix had peaked.

The company was in the midst of its Qwikster debacle, the stock was in tailspin, and I was counting the number of subscribers who quit the service because they didn’t want to pay double for DVD’s and streaming programming.

Now? All I can say is Welcome, Content Overlords.

Netflix and Marvel are making plans for four superhero series and a Defenders miniseries, all to stream in 2015.

I dubbed it a “Geekpocalypse” in an article on FOX5Vegas.com.

Not only will heroes like Daredevil and Luke Cage make their Netflix debuts in 2015, but the big screen calendar will be stacked with films like Marvel’s Avengers: Age of Ultron and Ant-Man, Star Wars Episode VII, Jurassic World, Terminator 5 and Batman vs. Superman.

That’s almost too much for me to handle. If there’s a new Star Trek or Fast & Furious flick coming out that same summer, I will have to take a lot of time off.

As I mention in the article, Netflix has a serious reputation for quality when it comes to its original shows, having made leaps and bounds in just the past year.

Think about it. A year ago people had never heard of Orange is the New Black and House of Cards was still being discussed as a one-time gamble for a rejected cable show.

But those critics were quieted when the show debuted to rave reviews and started racking up award nominations.

Clearly, Marvel was impressed. Now they’ve embraced the Netflix model and will bring fans a new version of Daredevil, along with the live-action debuts of Cage, Iron Fist and Jessica Jones.

And although they haven’t been given an official “Phase One” title like their cinematic brethren, this plan appears to be following the Avengers model.

So who knows what’s to come beyond 2015. It’s never too early to speculate.