Today Only, Amazon Is Discounting Prime to $72 and Streaming Transparent for Free

A clear (and crucially timed) push for subscriber growth

Apparently on a charm offensive after winning two Golden Globes for its witty dramedy Transparent, Amazon is streaming the show for free today and offering a discount for new converts to its Prime service.

Prime, a subscription bundle that includes video streaming, a music service, free delivery and other assorted benefits, is $72 for a year's subscription today. That's down from the usual rate of $99, for a savings of $27.

(Already a subscriber? Kinja Deals recommends gifting yourself a subscription today and canceling auto-renew on your current Prime subscription. That'll reportedly activate the discounted subscription as soon as your current one ends.)

Today's special rate comes out to $6 a month, beating out every competitor in the streaming video space. And it says one thing pretty clearly to the market: Amazon desperately wants to beef up its subscriber base.

The tech giant is due Thursday for the corporate equivalent of a physical: its quarterly earnings report. That means a lot of transparency before Amazon's investors, to whom Amazon is basically under oath. And since you can't give too many "I'm not going to answer" answers before your share price drops, Amazon's leadership has to show return on investment. Luckily, they're in a good position to do that.

Amazon spent $100 million on streaming content in a single quarter last year—some of that is undoubtedly acquisitions, some of it is probably marketing, but it's certainly a ton of money for a business that notoriously operates with extremely slim margins and spends its R&D money, um, fearlessly.

But Prime has so many angles by which the company can win. "When customers come in for free trials and they engage from a video content standpoint, we see the conversion being higher," said CFO Tom Szkutak on Amazon's Q3 earnings call in October. "We're adding new Prime members as a result of that, and the other thing we're seeing is they're buying physical product, which is a great impact for us."

They want to lure you in with the Golden Globe-winning drama, in other words, but remember: you don't cancel month to month. Once that $72 charge hits your credit card, you have the service through next January. And when Christmas rolls around, Amazon wants you to ask yourself, "Who ships all my Christmas presents for free: these guys or Netflix?"