There were rumors flying around recently that Amazon would be trying to bite off a chunk of the streaming video market held by Netflix. Turns out that the rumors were true, and Amazon has today launched their instant streaming service as a free part of their Amazon Prime service.
For those who don't know about Amazon Prime, it's a $79.99 a year service upgrade to Amazon that gives users 2-day shipping on their in-house orders. One day shipping can be purchased for $3.99 per item on a per-item basis.
Now, Amazon is offering a library of streaming movie content for those members. Currently, they are offering 5,000 movies and TV shows through their streaming service. Let's break it down and take a look at what it offers.
1) Amazon is the Biggest Online Retailer in the World, they May Have the Audience
Amazon is the largest online retailer in the world. This means that they may actually have the potential to capture an audience. As it is right now, Amazon prime is actually a service for frequent shoppers to enjoy faster shipping, the streaming movies and TV shows are just an added bonus. Of course, you can always look at it the other way around too: Streaming movies on Amazon, and as an added bonus you get faster shipping on items you order.
2) Not offered on Mobile Devices, Netflix Available on Nearly Everything
This may be Amazon's shortcoming in this area, but we don't doubt that they can try to make up for it by offering it soon. Still, Netflix is available every-freakin'-where…everywhere. That is home computers, the iPad, the iPhone, iPod Touch, certain TVs, Blu-Ray Players and various set-top boxes. In a sense they've done to their streaming movies what Amazon has done with their Kindle. They make the software available to just about everyone under the sun and charge you for using it.
Amazon does have a great chance if they can reach Android before Netflix does.
3) Will Users Make the Switch?
Human beings are creatures of habit. They say that for a reason. It's because we tend to enjoy what's familiar and safe. Many of us already use Netflix streaming, and we don't subscribe to Amazon prime. We like how Netflix works for us, the selection is great. In our minds, there is no reason to switch or to pay an additional yearly fee for Amazon's service. This is going to be a tough one for Amazon to overcome, the classic "Why is your service better?" question. The truth is, with 5,000 movies and TV shows, it's not…yet.
4) Netflix is Reliable
It's hard to say that this is the case for everyone, but many of us here at iSmashPhone have had no issues with Netflix, whether it's their streaming service or sending and receiving discs. It just works. We hope we aren't speaking too soon, but we haven't had problems yet. The one time we did have a problem, it was the Xbox 360; we just switched to the Wii, and things were back to normal.
We are not saying that Amazon's service is unreliable. We are just reiterating the fact that users will stick to what works for them. They have no reason to leave Netflix if it's not causing problems. As opposed to the way AT&T users wanted to head for the Verizon iPhone, because they were unhappy with their service.
Netflix pricing Grid – Image courtesy Netflix
5) Costs Less than Netflix
This is another advantage that Amazon has. Their service works out to $6.64 a month, which is a bit less than Netflix $7.99 for streaming only. This, along with the faster shipping can make it appealing to new customers.
Becoming the Best Streaming Service
Right now, Netflix is our favorite streaming service (we've written about it before). Still, we like to see what the others have to offer. Unfortunately, it may be a long time before a worthy competitor comes along to give Netflix a run for their money. Either way, it will be fun to see where things go from here.