With the decline in traditional TV viewing and the rise of streaming services becoming an everyday occurence, it can often be quite confusing as to which service offers the best value for money. While some services offer great TV programmes and movies the question remains, are you really getting enough content for your monthly subscription fee?
Today I’m going to take a look at The Big Two: Amazon and Netflix – two services I use on a monthly basis. Both companies offer a heck of a lot of content for a monthly fee, but which is better?
In the following post I’m going to break down what’s on offer and why it appeals to me.
Content: What shows & movies do get for your hard earned money?
Netflix has built up a reputation for providing subscribers with a wealth of must-see television, from Sex Education, Breaking Bad, Orange is the New Black and Stranger Things to Queer Eye and She-Ra and the Princesses of Power.
In addition to a seemingly endless stream of TV content, the service also offers docu-films, stand-up comedy specials and movies – including home-grown offerings. The movies range from exclusive titles and well-loved classics to obscure films many people had forgotten (quite often for a reason).
On the whole, I find Netflix’s TV & movie content to be very good. In fact, I find there’s perhaps a little too much good TV content (not that I’m complaining) and sometimes it is difficult to catch up.
There is of course some less-than-exciting movie content too, but I suppose this is subjective. That said, the quality of Netflix’s TV content far outshines its movie catalogue and I am forever playing catch-up – which is a good thing.
Amazon Prime Video – Amazon’s streaming service – offers a similar mix to Netflix, in that it provides a range of high-profile shows such as Picard, The Man in the High Castle and The Grand Tour, alongside a collection of movies. The quality ranges from well-known blockbusters to bargain basement affairs (that I can’t imagine anyone watches) but again this is subjective, and at least there is a variety on offer.
I find Amazon’s new content to be a bit of a mixed bag and not as strong as Netflix’s. In fact, I barely watch any of the modern shows on Amazon, opting for the older TV shows instead (X-Files, Baywatch, Smallville etc).
On the plus side, Amazon Prime Video offers something which Netflix doesn’t – the ability to integrate your own digital video purchases with the titles included in the Amazon Prime Video package. Now this is something which I really like, as I own a number of digital titles.
By offering this integrated service I can sit back to watch a couple of episodes of Buffy or Batman Beyond (from my own collection), before I then pick a movie or show from what’s on offer through Amazon Prime Video. This saves me having to mess about with Blu-rays or switching over TV channels etc and it keeps everything in one place.
Netflix content vs Amazon content:
This all comes down to what you watch really, but I believe Netflix has a much stronger offering – specifically when it comes to new television shows. However, I do like the fact I can mix my content with what’s on offer with Amazon as sometimes I like switching back-and-forth between the free content and my digital purchases.
Extras: Do the services provide more than just TV & movies?
This won’t take long as Netflix comes up very short in this department. When it comes to added extras, Netflix doesn’t have much to offer other than a download service allowing subscribers to take content with them on the go.
Downloadable content is very handy, but this is something most streaming services offer, so it’s nothing out of the ordinary. However, it is useful so it’s certainly worth having.
Amazon also has a downloadable option for its Amazon Prime Video service, but this is really just the tip of the iceberg.
If you are an Amazon member (paying at least £7.99 a month) then you get the following as part of your membership:
- Amazon Prime Video (with downloadable content)
- Amazon Music (a lite version of Amazon’s full music service)
- Photo storage
- Access to selected magazines and books
- Free next day delivery
- Access to Prime Day sales and special offers
While Amazon’s video content might not be quite as good as Netflix’s, the other aspects of the Amazon membership more than make up for it – especially the free next day delivery which is very, very handy.
Having access to Prime Day sales is also really good as Amazon offer a large number of bargains at various times throughout the year (Prime Day, Bank Holidays etc). For example, during Amazon’s Prime Day sales, digital films often drop down in price, with the odd children’s film available to keep for just 49p – certainly worth the investment if you have kids.
Netflix extras vs Amazon extras:
There really is no contest here, Amazon is streets ahead. In fact, part of the reason I am a member of Amazon Prime is because of all of the extras that come with the membership.
Fees – Pricing for each service
Netflix currently offers three pricing tiers: Basic (£5.99), Standard (£8.99) and Premium (£11.99). Each tier offers pretty much the same thing, only on more devices, although the Basic tier doesn’t offer HD viewing.
In our household, we opt for the Standard tier, which allows two people to watch Netflix content at the same time. Personally, I think £8.99 for all of Netflix’s content is a bargain as that works out to be around 30p a day for films & TV.
There’s no cancellation fees or contracts with Netflix either – you simply cancel when you’ve had enough. This is something that EVERY content provider should offer – yes SKY, Virgin Media, BBC etc, I’m looking at you – so is a plus for Netflix.
Amazon Prime also offers three pricing tiers: Prime Video (£5.99), Prime Per Month (£7.99) and Prime Per Year (£79). The first tier is purely Prime Video and nothing more, whereas the next two tiers offer the video, music, photo storage and delivery services too.
We currently subscribe to Amazon Prime via the second tier – Prime Per Month. I’m happy with this pricing plan as I’d rather pay a little per month rather than a lump sum per year.
Amazon is worth the £7.99 a month, plus you can cancel at any time too.
Netflix pricing vs Amazon pricing:
The standard tier for each service is pretty much the same. Netflix is ahead when it comes to content; Amazon wins on extras; but whatever way you look at it you are getting a lot for £7.99-£8.99.
So which is better?
Hmm… which is better?
This all comes down to what you actually want from a content provider.
I subscribe to Netflix because I enjoy all of the great shows that are part of the service. I’ve been a subscriber for over five years now and that’s because I am continually impressed with the TV output, with new great shows being added all of the time.
Amazon Prime Video falls down on modern TV content (in my opinion), but it balances out thanks to an ever expanding list of classic TV shows, as well as its ability to ingrate with purchased titles. Amazon Prime Video is effectively a modern day video store, where you can rent or buy titles, in addition to what you could watch anyway. I like this option.
Pricing wise, they both offer good value for money. I suppose Amazon inches ahead because of its extras, but that’s only really applicable if you’re interested in these extras.
Had one service been more expensive, then there might be a clear winner, but that’s simply not the case.
So which is the winner? I’ll be honest I can’t give a definitive answer to that question.
Netflix does exactly what it says it will do and the price is more than fair. Likewise, Amazon ticks different boxes and because I can link the shopping/video/music elements with my Amazon Fire 7 tablet I am able to get an even better service.
At present, while both Netflix and Amazon are offering a similar price point, and while I can afford it, I am more than happy to keep both services running concurrently. I feel they complement each other quite well (what I can’t find on Netflix I can find on Amazon etc) and together they meet my needs.
On a side note, as I live in the UK, the traditional way to view television is to pay a TV license, largely to access the BBC. While the TV licence does offer a lot of content, I personally find that traditional TV viewing, including a lot of the BBC’s current output does not meet my needs.
A while back, as a household we made the decision to abandon traditional (terrestrial) TV in favour of only accessing subscription service that could be picked up or dropped on a month by month basis. We no longer pay for a TV licence, so the money we saved was then put towards paying for Netflix and Amazon.
Both services can be cancelled at any time, both offer a free 30-day trial, and ultimately if you’re no longer watching traditional television, then why continue to pay for it? These things are very important to remember – especially the last one. Only pay for what you watch!
My advice? When it comes to Netflix and Amazon (or any streaming service such as Disney+ or Shudder etc) give the services a whirl without paying a penny, then if you find you like them, but can only afford one, alternate them accordingly!
Keep Netflix for a couple of months, watch all of the shows that you want to watch, then cancel the service. Do the same with Amazon for the next couple of months, then cancel and return to Netflix. This way you get to see all of the content when you have the time and money to do so!
When content providers are offering good services like Netflix and Amazon currently do, then the best service is always going to be the one that works for you. And when the service stops working for you, move on and try something else.
I hope this has been helpful.
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