Wednesday, December 14, 2016, 8:47 AM ET|Posted by Will Richmond
Amazon has officially made Prime Video available in over 200 countries and territories around the world, a move that has been expected. Prime Video will be included for Amazon Prime members in Belgium, Canada, France, India, Italy and Spain. Elsewhere, Prime Video is being offered for a special rate of either $2.99 or 2.99 Euros per month for the first 6 months, after which it will revert to the standard rate of $5.99 or 5.99 Euros per month.
Amazon said that all of its originals such “The Grand Tour,” “The Man in the High Castle,” “Transparent” and “Mozart in the Jungle” would be available internationally, but it did not specify which of its licensed programs and movies would be available. In addition to English, subtitles will be enabled in French, Italian, Portuguese and Spanish along will dubbing on certain content.
Importantly, given bandwidth constraints in various countries, all content will be available for downloading at 3 different quality levels for offline viewing, same as in the U.S. since September, 2015. Prime Video will be viewable on Android, iOS, Fire Tablets and some LG and Samsung Smart TVs. Notably Amazon did not say Prime Video would be available via its own Fire TV devices or any other connected TVs (Roku, Chromecast, etc.)
Amazon’s international rollout follows a similar move by Netflix earlier this year. On the one hand, Amazon is now the closest thing to a global competitor that Netflix has, which is bad news for the company. And given Amazon’s lower rates in many countries, it’s immediately a bona fide alternative. On the other hand, SVOD is a still a new concept in many areas of the world, so Amazon’s entrance raises awareness for Netflix as well. This is helpful, especially to the extent that some people will subscribe to both services.
Amazon’s international rollout is the company’s latest aggressive move expanding into video. As I wrote a few weeks ago, Amazon’s unique Prime business model is fueling the company’s ever-growing video ambitions. Going into 2017, I continue to believe that Amazon is THE company to keep an eye on in video.