Amazon admits its mulling over Prime fee hike

Amazon Prime hasn't seen a price tag change in nine years. Time's up.


Despite a disappointing fourth quarter earnings report , Amazon still characterized the December quarter of 2013 as its best holiday season ever.

Nevertheless, there is room for improvement -- and change.

Consumers typically aren't fond of change. Just look at how Netflix users always respond to even hints of subscription alterations.

Well, here's something else that the Seattle-based corporation might have in common with its digital media rival soon.

On Thursday afternoon's quarterly conference call with shareholders, Amazon chief financial officer Tom Szkutak highlighted that Prime membership hasn't been increased in nine years.

He continued that shipping costs have gone up "considerably" during that time frame, not to mention the selection of streaming video has also grown.

Thus, Szkutak admitted that Amazon is considering a price hike, ranging between $20 and $40 per year.

Amazon Prime membership currently runs for $79 per year, covering free two-day shipping, Prime Instant Video access, and e-book rentals from the Kindle Owner's Lending Library.

That does not include the $299 subscription for Amazon Fresh, the e-commerce giant's grocery delivery service, still in its infancy.

CEO Jeff Bezos was not present during the conference call.

The online retail giant reported a net income of $239 million, or 52 cents per share (statement). Non-GAAP earnings were 51 cents per share on a revenue of $25.59 billion.

That's a 20 percent increase from the same quarter last year, but Wall Street was expecting Amazon to report non-GAAP fourth quarter earnings of 67 cents a share on revenue of $26.05 billion.