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Battle of the brands: Netflix vs Amazon Prime Video

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Netflix vs amazon prime video

Netflix and Amazon Prime Video are two of the biggest video on demand services around, but which one is better?

In this battle of the brands, we take a look at some of Netflix and Amazon Prime Video’s recent activity and the differences between both platforms.

Netflix vs Amazon Prime Video – Which service is better? 

The way that the world expects to consume content has changed rapidly through the early 21st century. Gone are the days of standing in line at your local Blockbuster to take home a horrendously scratched copy of Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, watching it multiple times over the weekend before returning it in time to avoid the dreaded fees. 

The internet has revolutionised ease-of-access, allowing companies such as Netflix, Amazon and Google to dominate the video on demand (VoD) market. This rise in popularity is important to keep an eye on, as it teaches us a great deal about the consumer and what the market of the future is likely to look like.

How did Netflix start?

Netflix home screen

In what seems like an eternity ago, Netflix started as a rent-by-mail DVD service before introducing video streaming in 2007 and revolutionising the entertainment industry. 

It wasn’t long before Netflix’s dominance of the VoD market was apparent, with their subscriber base growing to over 20 million by 2010. Their success inevitably led to a wide variety of competitors such as Hulu, HBO Max, Disney Plus etc, none of which have managed to compete with Netflix’s sheer dominance. None of which until Amazon Prime Video.

Why did Amazon start Prime Video?

Amazon Prime video home page

If you haven’t noticed, Amazon like having their fingers in a lot of pies. Amazon debuted their service Amazon Unbox in 2006, which had users buying and downloading titles rather than the subscription model that we’re familiar with now. Amazon’s service transitioned through a variety of forms before settling on Prime Video.

Prime Video is unique in the fact that it can be subscribed to separately, or is included with Amazon’s widely popular Prime service. As a result, their Prime membership now exceeds 150 million worldwide. Admittedly, this is somewhat dwarfed by Netflix’s 190 million subscribers, but it’s certainly competitive – although take the statistics with a pinch of salt as it’s unclear how many users subscribe only to Prime Video worldwide. 

Netflix vs Amazon – who has the best original content?

It’s clear that both Netflix and Amazon have a wonderous array of Hollywood blockbusters, cult classics, TV shows and documentaries. But, the conversation has shifted from exclusivity deals to original content. A race that many would argue that Netflix is winning handily. 

Amazon has a huge back catalogue of more than 12,000 movies, dwarfing Netflix’s 3,781. However, it seems that this simply doesn’t matter when you’re producing the quality of shows that Netflix is. 

Netflix have knocked it out of the park in the last few years with hit after hit, to name a few: Stranger ThingsThe WitcherNarcosOrange is the New BlackMindhunterThe Umbrella Academy; the list goes on. 

The Witcher ad on Netflix

Amazon’s answer to this? The BoysThe Man in the High Castle and The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel. This might be a reductive list, but looking at originals’ success, you absolutely must give this one to Netflix. 

Better value for money – Netflix or Amazon Prime Video?

Netflix has three plans that you can choose from, while Amazon Prime Video has two.

Netflix plans

For Netflix, you can choose from their Basic, Standard (HD) or their Premium (Ultra HD) packages. 

Their Basic package comes in at £5.99 a month, allowing you to watch on a single screen at a time in standard definition. 

Bridging the gap is their Standard package at £8.99 a month, which allows you to watch on two screens at a time in full HD (1080p).

If you’re really looking to splash some cash, their Premium plan comes in at £11.99 a month, allowing for up to four screens at a time. If you’re looking for a delightful value proposition, find three thrifty friends and split the cost of a Premium plan – you can’t argue with £2.99 a month for unlimited Netflix access!

Amazon Prime Video plans

If you just want Prime Video, you’ll be looking at paying £7.99 a month, which is relatively cheap considering the wealth of content. As mentioned before, Prime Video has a huge back catalogue of over 12,000 movies and shows. This consists of brand-new Prime originals and enough classic films to keep you ticking. 

Alternatively, you can opt into Amazon’s Prime package for £79.00 a year. Which entitles you to the myriad benefits that Prime membership offers (‘free’ postage, music, food, books, the list goes on and is ever-expanding). For many, Prime Video is a happy-accident benefit, functioning for Amazon as a sweetener in their gargantuan pot of coffee. 

So, which is better value?

This question is akin to asking someone which of their children do they love the most. You couldn’t possibly choose between them. You love them both unconditionally (but you definitely love Netflix more). It’s rare that you see people getting excited for a ‘Prime Video Night’, but you never know what the future holds. 

The answer boils down to what content do you want to access. If Netflix’s originals and selection of movies/shows are tempting you like the last jam doughnut in the pack, then go for that. If you’re a more casual viewer, and want a seriously broad range of films and shows to dip into, then Prime Video might be more up your alley. 

How many people are talking about Netflix vs Amazon Prime Video on social media?

So, we’ve had a look at what both platforms are offering, but what do the people make of it? Let’s take a look at the numbers.

Via social listening tool, Infegy, we compared the volume of mentions of both Netflix and Amazon Prime (in video terms) across social media platforms for the month between 7th September – 7th October 2020, within the UK.

uk mentions of Netflix on social media
uk mentions of Amazon Prime Video on social media

As seen from the charts above, Netflix is clearly mentioned way more than Amazon Prime Video; meaning a lot more people are talking about Netflix on the whole.

That being said, this may not all be positive. Though there have been almost 900,000 mentions of Netflix, what if all of these conversations were negative and all 8,000 mentions of Amazon Prime were positive? Which brand would be the superior in this case? Let’s take a look at the sentiment behind the numbers:

Sentiment analysis on mentions of 'Amazon Prime Video' in comparison to 'Netflix'

Just as discussed above, Netflix has a 53/47 positive and negative sentiment ratio whilst Amazon Prime Video has 83% positive sentiment leaving just 17% being negative. However, these results shouldn’t be taken as 100% accurate. As with all social listening tools, this sentiment score here was developed by AI trying to understand human language. Unfortunately, technology cannot yet understand jokes or sarcasm so when it comes to evaluating language in this way it can sometimes get it wrong. This being said, with a 30% difference in scores, it’s clear who the winner is out of these 2 brands when it comes to being spoken about in a positive light on social. Netflix may be the more widely discussed brand on social of the 2, but as seen on the charts, Amazon Prime Video is doing something right. Those who are talking about them, like them.

What impact has Netflix and VoD had on marketing?

We’ve all experienced poor phone signal. It’s safe to say that it’s one of the worst day-to-day experiences, up there with stepping on Lego, stubbing your toe or missing your train. 

The point is, if something doesn’t work instantly, you’re likely to become rapidly disinterested. We have become accustomed to having everything at our fingertips – especially entertainment. 

This bleeds into all other facets of business. If a consumer isn’t immediately engaged by your content, or doesn’t find the answer that they are after within a minute or two, then they’ll look elsewhere for what they need. A study by Brafton concluded that the average session is only two minutes and seventeen seconds.

Average web session time
www.brafton.com

Compared to Netflix’s average of 71 minutes per day, this number seems pitiful. This is why SEO website optimisation is so important, more so now than ever; you need your consumers to reach the perfect content for them, and to ensure that the content is exactly what they want to see.

How we spend our free time

Not only this, but there is a clear bias in the market towards video marketing. A 2016 study suggests that a social video will generate 1200% more shares than both text and images – you can say more in a shorter period with video, and capturing a consumer’s attention is magnitudes easier. While video marketing can seem daunting, there are plenty of resources around to help you get started.

Is it conjecture to suggest that VoD has had a distinct impact on the marketing world? Perhaps, but there is a clear shift to video that must be embraced.

What is the future of streamed content?

Google predicts that by 2025, half of viewers under the age of 32 will not subscribe to a TV service, instead gravitating towards online video content options. We’ve seen classic TV channels such as Channel 4 being forced to embrace VoD in order to keep up with demand, with their All 4 service achieving their highest monthly, weekly and daily views in Q1 2020. 

The Coronavirus pandemic has put into perspective just how important VoD is to our culture, with Disney’s Mulan releasing exclusively on their streaming platform Disney+. Will we see more new blockbuster releases exclusively online? Likely. Whether it will persist after the pandemic remains to be seen.

When discussing streamed content, it would be remiss to not mention the behemoths YouTube and Twitch, both of whom draw huge audiences daily.

YouTube

The indisputable king of streamed content, with a reported 5 billion videos watched each day, it’s impossible to ignore the impact that YouTube has had on the VoD world. With it being easy for anyone to upload their own content, it’s the perfect platform for influencers, marketers, companies; well, everyone really. 

With YouTube introducing features such as premiering and live-streaming, users are encouraged to organise and interact with their audiences more than ever.

Twitch

On that note, Amazon-owned Twitch is perhaps the ultimate way to interface with consumers. Predominantly a video game streaming platform, creators have been diversifying on the platform to include a wide variety of other content, from music to film. With a live chat, streamers can consistently interact with their audience throughout, giving an unprecedented, instant connection to the creator. 

Live TV has been popular for decades, it makes sense that this would transition to the VoD age. Many businesses value social media engagement, so it stands to reason that live streaming truly is the future of streamed content and digital marketing.

Is Netflix or Prime Video better?

Bringing it back to the main two horses in this race, while many millions will argue that Netflix is the undisputed champion, and the positive sentiment of mentions of the 2 brands will show Amazon Prime Video being the clear winner percentage wise, there simply isn’t a correct answer. If money isn’t an issue, get both. You’ll be spoilt for choice and (theoretically) should never go without something to watch; but if I’ve learned anything from my mum over the years, it’s that you can have a full wardrobe and nothing to wear.

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