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Why Netflix shouldn’t be threatened by Amazon’s growing subscriber base

Amazon Vs Netflix

With Netflix doubling down on original content, the streaming giant continues to amass subscribers at an impressive rate. Just last quarter, for instance, Netflix added 5.3 million new subscribers, bringing its cumulative total to 109 million. Clearly, Netflix remains the company to beat in the streaming game, even as competition heats up from the likes of Hulu and Amazon.

Amazon in particular is seemingly well-positioned to give Netflix a run for its money. For starters, its Prime Video service affords users the ability to enjoy a range of other Prime-oriented perks and services, which is to say Prime subscribers are certainly getting a lot of bang for their buck. What’s more,  Amazon has demonstrated an impressive knack for churning out award-winning and engaging content like Transparent. Contrast that to the forgettable content we’ve seen from Apple in recent months.

As far as cumulative subscribers are concerned, Amazon has always been somewhat cagey with specifics when it comes to its Prime subscriber base. Some research outlets, though, believe that there may be upwards of 80 – 85 million Prime subscribers today.

On the surface, it would seem that Prime Video is closing in on Netflix, but a deeper look at the numbers reveals a different story.

According to a poll carried out by Extreamist, 37% of 488 respondents indicated that they haven’t watched a video via Amazon’s Prime video service in the last year. In other words, the cumulative number of Prime users who actually take advantage of Prime Video may actually fall somewhere in the 45-55 million range.

Several people who said they have never used Amazon’s video streaming service said they didn’t even know they had the option to stream through Amazon. While Amazon markets the service, it’s not obvious on the homepage, where product sales are prioritized. Especially for older audiences, the experience of trying to stream something on Amazon is too complicated.

A handful said they use Apple TV and are (still) waiting for the service to roll out on that platform, where rumors of such have been flying around for years. There is still no official word as to when, if ever, this will happen.

The idea that some Prime subscribers are wholly unaware of Prime Video is particularly interesting, and it remains to be seen if Amazon will more effectively advertise the service in the months ahead.

All that said, there’s no indication that Netflix will be superseded by any service anytime soon.

Yoni Heisler has been writing about Apple and the tech industry at large for over 15 years. A life long Mac user and Apple expert, his writing has appeared in Edible Apple, Network World, MacLife, Macworld UK, and TUAW. When not analyzing the latest happenings with Apple, Yoni enjoys catching Improv shows in Chicago, playing soccer, and cultivating new TV show addictions.