Shaking up its approach to one of its core features, Amazon has begun offering memberships to its Prime service for a monthly fee. Prime, which used to be available only via a payment of $79 annually, will now be offered on a monthly basis for $7.99 each month.

If that pricing sounds familiar, it's because it's exactly what Netflix and Hulu charge for their entry level subscription plans. With its new monthly service, Amazon will compete even more directly with its rival movie and TV streamers.

A Prime membership includes access to the growing catalog of movies and television shows available in Amazon Instant Video. In addition, subscribers get free two-day shipping on Amazon goods and access to the Kindle lending library of eBooks.

[via The Verge]