Amazon Prime video launches in Australia

Alex Kidman 15 December 2016 NEWS

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Half price for the first six months for Amazon’s video streaming service.

It was tipped a couple of weeks ago when Amazon quietly allowed Australian consumers to sign up for Amazon UK or Amazon US Prime accounts in order to watch The Grand Tour on its debut, but now it’s official: Amazon has launched Amazon Prime Video in Australia, and in fact in 200 countries worldwide.

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What is Amazon Prime Video?

Amazon Prime Video is the video streaming service offered as part of the larger Amazon Prime service that Amazon operates in a handful of countries where it has a fuller retail offering. It’s important to delineate it from full Prime, which includes other features such as free expedited shipping. While it’s expected that Amazon may launch online retail services in Australia in 2017, what we get right now is a streaming video service, similar to Netflix or Stan.

How much will Amazon Prime Video cost?

Amazon’s pricing for Amazon Prime Video is remarkably uniform in every market where it will operate. For the first six months it’s offering the service standalone for US$2.99 per month, or 2.99 Euro where it can charge that. After that the price will rise to US$5.99 per month.

At that pricing, Amazon Prime video is markedly cheaper than competitors such as Netflix or Stan. There is a catch, however.

What kind of content does Amazon Prime Video offer?

In the markets where Amazon offers full Prime services, it also offers up a wide array of video content, but, just as happened when Netflix launched internationally at CES 2016, local rights issues means that its global library is somewhat smaller than it is in the US. What you do get is unfettered access to Amazon’s own Originals programming, highlighted by The Grand Tour, the series that Jeremy Clarkson, James May and Richard Hammond produced after leaving Top Gear. Alongside it sit other titles such as Transparent, Mozart In The Jungle and The Man In The High Castle, although Mozart In The Jungle and Transparent will continue to be first run on Stan due to existing rights agreements. Amazon also has a raft of new projects due to be released in 2017 that should be available through Amazon Prime Video.

Which devices does Amazon Prime Video support?

Amazon Prime video is supported through desktop browsers, via Android or iOS devices, Amazon’s own Fire tablets and through selected Samsung and LG smart TVs. Amazon Prime Video also supports downloading to devices for offline play, a feature Netflix also recently started offering. Although it has only just launched the service in Australia here, Amazon Prime has offered offline play for some time.

Will I be able to use Amazon Prime Video while I’m overseas?

If you’re in a country where it is supported, yes. The launch today encompasses countries ranging from Afghanistan to Zimbabwe, so your odds are pretty decent to be able to watch most of the places you’re likely to be.

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