Netflix and Amazon officially went head-to-head in 2015, and for the rest of 2016, the rivalry has only intensified with the companies introducing new features and constantly fine-tuning their offerings to obtain a sliver of competitive advantage.
As the dust settles, are we in a better position to judge who emerged the best video streaming service for this year?
To answer this question, one can turn to four critical factors: availability, content, price, and experience.
In this area, Netflix seems to be soundly trouncing Amazon Prime. Last year, it was able to deploy the service in 130 new markets. What this means, of course, is that you will be able to access the service even if you are hopping from one country to another. Netflix has enjoyed this edge for about a year, but this is bound to change because Amazon has introduced its Prime Video service to 200 countries in December.
It is worth noting that both Netflix and Amazon Prime Video's global expansions are expected to contribute to their profitability given the perception that the U.S. market is already maturing. Netflix, for instance, has been encountering a sluggish growth domestically.
Streaming Media Content
At first glance, Amazon Prime Video will emerge as the victor in this area. It boasts of more than 18,000 movies and 2,000 TV shows. Compare those figures to the Netflix library, which has sustained a dramatic 50 percent decline since Netflix's debut. The Video Advertising Bureau reported that the platform is now only offering more than 10,000 titles, movies and TV shows included.
Despite a diminished catalogue, Netflix still enjoys one key advantage: original content. In recent years, it has endeavored to produce its own movies and shows after struggling to secure rights from major studios. At this point, it can boast several high-quality titles such as Orange is the New Black and House of Cards, among others. Netflix has also touted an impressive lineup for 2017.
Amazon Prime Video is still lagging in this respect. True, there is The Grand Tour, Bosch, and Hand of God, but the entire stable pales in comparison to what Netflix was able to manage so far.
Netflix and Amazon Prime's pricing scheme is quite challenging to pin down. Pricing depends on a host of factors such as your location, the type of video content, and even the time of the year.
Right now, there is a basic Netflix worth $7.99 monthly for U.S. customers. This includes one stream but no HD content. If you want HD and an extra stream, there is the $9.99 Standard option. Netflix Premium, which packs in an Ultra HD content along with four simultaneous streaming capability in different devices costs $11.99.
Amazon Prime Video, on the other hand, is free if you are an Amazon Prime subscriber, which, for its part, will cost you $99 per year. That is about $8.25 per month, quite decent for a service that includes access to 4K content and one stream.
In addition, Prime subscribers also get to enjoy other bundled services such as its on-demand, ad-free music streaming, unlimited books, a free game monthly, and even a cloud service, among other perks.
There is a standalone Prime Video service introduced last April, and it costs $8.99. It is important to note that there are contents such as new titles that are excluded in the Prime and Prime Video packages and must be paid or rented.
Netflix has an edge over Amazon Prime in this respect. This is best articulated in the way you will have a more seamless experience in the platform than in Amazon Prime Video.
Firstly, it's hard to find a platform that does not support Netflix. In comparison, Amazon Prime is supported by a shorter list of devices. It also does not have an app for the Apple TV and Android TV.
In addition, the Netflix interface across all devices is consistent and easier to navigate.
The Amazon Prime Video interface, on the other hand, is largely similar to shopping at Amazon, so it is quite confusing due to the amount of clutter.
In the past, it is easier to simply recommend Amazon Prime because of the ability to download content. Netflix, however, has also opened the platform to offline viewing.
Overall, if you want a more refined video streaming experience, you will be in good hands at Netflix, but if you want more bang for the buck, then Amazon Prime Video should be the right service for you.
It is important to remember that both these services offer free trials, so we recommend for you to try this option first to experience the changes and the new features so you can determine which platform will serve your preferences best.