As anticipated, Amazon’s competitor to Netflix and Stan has arrived in Australia.
On Wednesday night the internet giant announced it is opening up its streaming entertainment service Amazon Prime Video to more than 200 countries, including Australia.
This means that even in most parts of the world — like Australia — where Amazon’s premium customer subscription programme Prime is unavailable, at least the streaming video service Prime Video is now available for purchase by itself.
Prime Video is available for US$2.99 per month for the first six months then US$5.99 after that introductory period (about $8). This compares to Stan’s AU$10 monthly subscription and AU$11.99 for Netflix Australia’s standard package.
In a major rebuttal to Netflix’s recent commencement of offline viewing for selected programmes, Amazon announced that its entire catalogue would be available for offline downloads.
Amazon Prime Video international vice president Tim Leslie said that The Grand Tour and other original Amazon programming would be available to all the new countries, plus “hundreds of popular Hollywood movies and TV shows”.
The catalogue of third party shows available in Australia would be dependent on territorial rights, although this was not specified Amazon’s announcement. The company released a list of current and upcoming original programming, which did not include any Australian shows.
Amazon Prime Video is available on Android and iOS phones and tablets, Amazon’s own Fire tablets, some LG and Samsung smart TVs and set top boxes — but not Apple TV. Amazon’s aversion to Apple TV and Google Chromecast, rivals to its own hardware, has previously been expressed when it removed them from sale from its marketplace.
The globalisation of Amazon Prime Video comes after UK and USA Prime memberships were opened up to Australian users last month, just before the launch of the much anticipated The Grand Tour series, starring the former Top Gear presenters. The ecommerce giant at the time denied that was a soft launch for Prime Video in Australia.
Amazon is speculated to start Australian retail operations next year, although its plans are still shrouded in mystery. The only substantial detail has come from an investment manager in November that said the company aims to “destroy” the local retail scene.