I’ll just come right out and say it: I was wrong. Last summer, I wrote a piece arguing that Prime Video is the most underrated streaming service. If you’ve already read the above headline, you can probably guess that’s not an opinion I hold these days.
Nearly three months into 2022, and I genuinely cannot remember the last time I watched something from Prime Video’s content library. I’ve recently watched various shows and movies that I’ve digital purchased, but in terms of actually consuming any exclusive Prime Originals? I’m drawing a serious blank.
The streaming wars are a constant and fiercely contested battle. and while the likes of Netflix, Disney Plus and Apple TV Plus are duking it out for my attention, the Prime Video app is collecting virtual dust on my Smart TV home screen.
However, despite Amazon Prime Video becoming a neglected service in my streaming service library. I’m not even close to hovering over that cancel button quite yet. Perhaps that a good thing as well as Amazon is reportedly making unsubscribing from Prime even harder. So, allow me to explain why I’m keeping Prime Video, even though I’ve grown tired of it.
Prime Video (almost) never enters the conversation
I like to think I've got my fingers on the pulse when it comes to streaming. At the very least, I’m surrounded by knowledgeable colleagues who keep me in the loop on the occasions that a must-watch original series gets past my radar.
Among the Tom’s Guide staff we have daily conversations about the biggest streaming hits, as well as try our best to predict future shows/movies that will dominate the entertainment conversation. I can probably count on one hand the amount of times a show/movie on Prime Video has been involved in these discussions over the past six months. [Editor's note: some of us have talked about The Wheel of Time season 2 rumors, but there was also discussion about how Alan Ritchson packed on 30 pounds of muscle to play Reacher]
It’s not that Prime Video has no compelling original content. Shows such as The Boys and The Man in the High Castle are well worth binging, and as a sports fan I really enjoy Amazon’s All or Nothing documentary series. However, the pace at which Amazon brings out truly noteworthy original content is glacial (the wait for The Boys season 3 has felt impossibly long).
Granted, every time I boot up the Prime Video app I seem to be greeted with a new title proudly displaying the “Amazon Exclusive” or “Amazon Original” tag. The problem is I’ve rarely actually heard of these pieces of content.
In the world of streaming with dozens of highly recommended shows/movies released every month, that’s a death sentence. While Showtime and Apple TV Plus have been hitting it out of the park with buzzed-about and critically-acclaimed streaming hits like Yellowjackets and Severance, Prime shows like Wolf Like Me haven't been able to break through.
It’s perhaps telling that earlier this month I was aimlessly looking for something to watch, and the thought of browsing through Prime Video’s library didn’t even enter my mind. Instead I scrolled through Netlifx for a bit before settling on starting Only Murders in the Building over on Disney Plus (via Star) — which was a pretty good choice in the end; it’s a fun murder-mystery romp.
Why I’m still keeping Prime
I’m keeping Prime Video primarily because it’s part of a larger service that I still regularly made use of. Amazon Prime has a lot of member benefits, more than you might realise. However, it’s the free shipping that’s keeping me hooked on the service.
Yes, I should probably be supporting more local stores rather than a mega retailer like Amazon, but the convenience of hitting “buy now” and having your item show up the next day is hard to beat.
Equally, not having to factor in extortionate delivery costs when you want to buy relatively cheap items like fresh batteries justifies the entirety of Amazon Prime’s monthly fee for me. However, I swear I don't buy literally everything from Amazon.
It's not just shipping and Prime Video that comes with a subscription either. Although, I use services like Amazon Music even less than Prime Video. I’d very happily pay less for a version of Amazon Prime that gives me the free shipping and strips away the additional services.
Hitting streaming overkill
Recently I’ve been contemplating one of life’s biggest questions: how many streaming services is too many streaming services?
I’m currently subscribed to four streaming services (Netflix, Disney Plus, Apple TV Plus and Prime Video), and to be honest, that feels like overkill to me. I primarily focus on Netflix, with Disney Plus a comfortable second, and Apple TV Plus bringing up the rear. Prime Video, as discussed, didn’t even finish the race.
I think three could be my streaming service sweet spot. A trio of services offers plenty of variety but not such an overwhelming number of content libraries to keep up to date with that you get frustrated. If Amazon Prime hadn’t hooked me with free delivery, I can confidently say Prime Video would be the streaming service finding itself on the chopping block.
For now, I’m just viewing Prime Video as a free bonus. I’m getting my money’s worth from Amazon Prime’s other offerings, so it doesn’t matter so much if Prime Video isn't holding my attention. It can sit in the background until the rare occasion when one of its original shows breaks through and becomes the must-see hit that everyone is talking about.