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Amazon Juices Its Netflix Alternative

NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- The video streaming race is starting to heat up.

Netflix (NFLX - Get Report) shares took a dip Tuesday as Amazon (AMZN - Get Report) added unlimited video streaming service to its Amazon Prime subscribers.

The move is aimed directly at Netflix' instant streaming offer and promises a selection of 5,000 movies and TV shows as part of the $79-a-year Amazon Prime subscription.

Amazon didn't provide a listing of its streaming videos, but based on the examples Amazon provided, like The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo trilogy, Amadeus and Chariots of Fire, the selection won't include new or recent movie releases.

Netflix's instant streaming service costs $8 a month or $96 a year, and offers about 11,000 dated movies, documentaries and TV shows.

Video streaming has been a hot theme for investors who have seen Netflix as a leader in this category. With more devices connecting TVs to the Internet, the demand for video streaming has been poised to grow.

Cable companies like Comcast (CMCSA - Get Report) and Cablevision (CVC - Get Report) have seen a continued slide in video subscribers as more customers cancel service in favor of alternatives like satellite TV or Net video.

The shift in consumer demand has dampened sales of TV set-top boxes supplied by outfits like Cisco (CSCO - Get Report).

Shares of Netflix, which had risen 244% in the past year, fell 4% to $225.67 Tuesday. Amazon shares were down 2% to $182.86 amid a widespread selloff.

--Written by Scott Moritz in New York.

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