Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Free movie/TV show streaming for Amazon Prime members

In a note posted on Amazon.com's website today, Amazon announced that Amazon Prime members now have the free, added benefit of streaming TV and movies.  Amazon pegs it's online library at over 5,000 movies and TV shows.  This feature is currently available to Amazon Prime members only (for those who don't know, Amazon Prime costs $79 a year and enables expedited two-day shipping for many items).  They are offering a free one-month trial for Prime, which may be worth taking advantage of if you want to see what their movie/TV show offerings are all about.  That breaks down to $6.58 per month to stream and, of course, have your packages 2-dayed to your house vs. paying for shipping or creatively bundling your items to reach the magic $25 super saver shipping threshold.

Dave at Vodyo.com recently compared Netflix and Blockbuster side by side, one criteria being the sizes of their libraries.  Netflix's library was reported to be 100,000 titles.  Amazon's 5,000 title library seems pretty paltry in comparison.  At first glance, I think Amazon is sorely lacking in kids and animation titles.  What does it say to customers when they offer more Gay and Lesbian (27) titles than animation (18)? 

I also see lots of old movies, with not a lot of newer movies available, though they do have over 100 foreign films.  How's your Swedish?  They have the Millenium Trilogy available, at least, if you are a fan of Steig Larrson.

Reality check:  Amazon won't be able to compete with Netflix unless or until they have a lot more than 5% of the number of titles that Netflix offers.  Granted, this is a free service (well, free for those who already paid for another Amazon service), but as a Prime member myself, I don't see myself using this freebie.  The selection just isn't there. Forgive me if I'm underwhelmed.
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