A month after it dropped major hints, Amazon has made its Prime Video service available in more than 200 countries worldwide bringing some serious competition to Netflix’s global plan.
Netflix expanded its service to 130 new countries in January, thereby making its streaming site available in almost every part of the world, and finally Amazon has responded. Notably, the Amazon service isn’t available in China, a country where Netflix is also not present, but India, which initially got Amazon’s Prime service in July, is among the places where Prime Video is now present.
Amazon’s video service is free for subscribers of its Prime package — which gives benefits such as faster delivery times and discounts for its e-commerce — but Prime isn’t available worldwide yet. In countries where there is no Prime subscription option, Prime Video will be priced at $5.99 (or €5.99 in parts of Europe) per month. Right now, Amazon is offering an initial 50 percent for the first six months to encourage new signups, while a seven-day trial is available for free. For comparison, Netflix costs upwards of $7.99 each month.
Amazon Prime Video is available via apps for iOS, Android, Amazon’s own devices, a number of smart TVs and online at PrimeVideo.com. The service includes offline downloads — something that Netflix recently added — and Amazon said its Original content comes in English, with French, Italian, Portuguese and Spanish subtitles and dubbed versions in some markets.
The top draw for Prime Video is arguably The Grand Tour, the remake of popular British motor show Top Gear, which was announced for global audiences in November, despite the service only being available in five countries at the time. That set the stage for today’s announcement, which Amazon noted will include other shows from its Originals programming such as The Man in the High Castle, Transparent, Mozart in the Jungle, Tumble Leaf.
Going global doesn’t guarantee success, of course. There’s plenty of competition in local markets like India and Southeast Asia, and a strong brand at home in the West doesn’t guarantee signups worldwide. Just ask Netflix. The company initially struggled to grow its userbase overseas as strongly as the public markets expected, with rigid pricing and limited international catalogs primary the problems. But lately Netflix has been more conservative with its growth estimates which seems to be winning over Wall Street.
In the last quarter, Netflix added 3.2 million subscribers worldwide and 370,000 in the U.S. to reach a total of 86.7 million active subscribers. Amazon has never released public figures for Prime Video, so until then a direct comparison on overall or international numbers isn’t possible, but the competition is certainly good for the viewing public.