The battle of the top streaming service is on the rise. Disney is even planning to release a massive competition for Netflix this coming 2019, as previously reported here on Inquisitr. However, now that it’s just Amazon Prime Video and Netflix, why can’t the bigger company win?
Amazon is already a multi-billion dollar company, but even so, it still hasn’t caught up with Netflix’s growing subscribers. At the same time, Netflix has bagged multiple Oscar nominations and wins from its originals and that keeps them apart in terms of quality. However, when it comes to selection and personalization, Netflix still owns the top spot.
Prime Video International: $8.99/mo
In the fight for getting the most subscribers on the streaming industry, Amazon decided to create a separate space for its service which is now called Prime Video (listed on a separate website primevideo.com). According to The Verge, Prime Video was launched to more than 200 countries. Initially, when Amazon Prime streaming was only available on the main site and its connected apps, the video streaming was only available in the U.S.
The move was set to be a direct hit at Netflix that has its service readily available for most of the countries in the world, according to TrustedReviews. However, the key difference was the limited selection in the international version. For those outside the U.S., signing up for Prime Video would be a little bit challenging, especially if they have an Amazon account. They need to sync in their local addresses, connect it with a local credit or debit card, reach out to customer support, and then have access to Prime Video. Though the customer support (chat) was responsive, the process is still not as easy as it is on Netflix, which automatically detects your location and fits you in with the right demographic for sign up.
Once signed up, Prime Video international users would also see a big difference on the interface. Though on the first look it’s similar to Netflix, there are no personalization capabilities. The algorithm also does not offer you any recommended videos based on what you’ve watched. There’s a save feature for movies and series that you want to watch in the future, but there’s no easy navigation to access it.
Another disappointing navigation issue for Prime Video international was the ability to go back and forth on the different episodes of the series you are watching. If you are using the web to watch, there’s no episode list selection on the main screen. There’s a “Next Episode” option, but to get to previous episodes, you need to go back to the main page, search the title of your series, and select the episode you want to go back to. If you’re on the home page, you will not be able to select the episode since the only option from the home page is to play the current episode on file. You still have to go to search to get the full list of episodes.
When it comes to selection, Amazon Prime Video (U.S.) actually has a better set, as noted by TechRadar. It has the latest series and movies on file. At the same time, if users will be taking advantage of the shipping, music, photo storage, and other features of Amazon Prime, the subscription is worth it. However, for billions of international users who are testing out Prime Video international, they will be disappointed to know that even though with all of the other perks, they won’t have access to all streaming movies and series listed on the site.
Logging into Amazon.com would show the users all of the videos “Included with Prime,” but most of these are not listed on Prime Video (the main home page of the streaming service). The updated list on Amazon.com will also not be featured on connected apps like Android, iOS, Xbox, or PS4.
The movies and series will say it’s available and included in the Prime subscription but upon clicking “Watch Now,” the page will show an error saying the video license has “geographical restrictions.”
Yes, select Prime Video originals are available, but there are less than 10 categories on the main page. Clicking on subcategories, there will not be hundreds of series and movies to choose from. The listed movies for Prime Video international are blockbuster movies from two decades ago. There are more unique anime selections on Prime Video international, but this wouldn’t be enough to battle the Netflix “eat-all-you-can” access for international users.
Licensing is a tricky thing for the entertainment industry. Yet, if Netflix was able to invest in international licensing, it begs the question, “Why can’t Amazon do the same?”
Even though the offering is relatively lower than that of Netflix’s, which actually introduced a $1 increase, it’s not a good choice for international users—yet. If Amazon starts opening up the U.S. selection to international users as well as their custom channels, which includes HBO, Starz and more, there is a big chance they can easily topple Netflix.