Amazon Prime Video is a hit story in some ways. As a competitor to the main TV streaming service Netflix, and a perk of an Amazon Prime membership – thrown in with one-day supply, Amazon Music Limitless, and extra – the on demand TV service has taken a agency maintain of our eyeballs lately.
With distinctive Amazon Originals similar to The Boys or The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel, together with high-profile titles like The Farewell or The Handmaiden, it’s not onerous to see why viewers have been drawn to the service – particularly when a subscription will embrace all types of unique retail affords and sooner supply benefits alongside it. However there’s nonetheless rather a lot that must be improved in how customers are pressured to navigate the platform.
The primary downside with Amazon Prime Video is that it was so clearly developed as an offshoot of the primary Amazon Prime retail web site, reasonably than a TV platform in its personal proper. That’s led to a number of person expertise points, together with the best way that TV seasons are listed individually in Amazon search outcomes, reasonably than being underneath a single banner – a continuation of the times when Amazon was transport DVDs reasonably than streaming hit sequence.
Titles are nonetheless handled as one-off purchases, reasonably than leisure experiences that viewers count on some degree of fluidity to. To even discover titles within the browser app, you have to go to the search bar and choose ‘Prime Video’ in between ‘Premium Magnificence’ and ‘Footwear and Baggage’.
Consequently, trying to find Buffy the Vampire Slayer (or any Amazon TV present) is a visually complicated expertise, and the platform can’t even handle to checklist seasons in consecutive order. On browsers, search outcomes are additionally kicked off with ‘Sponsored’ gadgets from the retail part of the location, that means that, even for those who’re particularly looking via Prime Video, you’re introduced with different buy choices as an alternative.
One aspect that’s plagued the service since its inception has been the muddy divide between the video content material included or not included in a Prime membership. There are many titles accessible to lease or purchase, and it’s pretty straightforward to be flicking via content material rows on the web site and choose a title solely to search out you’re going to wish to pay a surcharge. This was largely improved by the addition of a ‘Free to me’ tab itemizing titles free to view with a Prime membership – as distinct from the ‘Retailer’ the place lease/purchase titles are nonetheless listed.
Nevertheless, Amazon has an enormous monetary incentive to attract customers in the direction of extra purchases, and it’s telling that the homepage nonetheless mixes these titles liberally, together with movies and exhibits that require add-on Amazon Channels subscriptions similar to HBO, Showtime, Cinemax, or MUBI. Displaying all accessible content material, after which throwing up the paywall when you’ve selected a title, constantly feels deceptive.
Sana Rao, the previous Head of Consumer Expertise at Deliveroo, tells us that Amazon Prime Video is “optimized purely for conversion, reasonably than person expertise.” “The e-commerce mindset is very totally different from the streaming mindset,” says Rao. “The web site is very a lot designed from an e-commerce mentality: you go to the location, you already know what you need, you seek for it, you get it.” In the event you don’t have a private desire for you buy, although, the shortage of curation is a stumbling block that makes navigating and selecting what to observe far too tough: “Every little thing’s introduced to you such as you’re in a Walmart aisle, taking a look at 200 several types of detergents, and none of them are introduced as any higher for you.”
For a Prime subscriber, or somebody enticed by Amazon unique movies and exhibits, there’s a lot purpose to make use of it. But it surely’s clear that the Amazon Prime Video UI doesn’t put the person expertise (and, by extension, the customers) first.