Disney+ Amazon Prime

Amazon Prime passes 200 million subscribers worldwide. Amazon Prime Video

  1. Disney Free With Amazon Prime
  2. Disney+ Amazon Prime Video

The success of a streaming service with a rapidly growing subscriber base is enough to power an entire company’s stock price to new highs. Just ask Disney. The problem with Amazon, however, is that we never know exactly how well its streaming service is performing.

In a letter to shareholders Thursday, CEO Jeff Bezos announced that the Amazon Prime service has surpassed 200 million worldwide subscribers, per The Hollywood Reporter. On paper, that sounds mighty impressive and seemingly positions Amazon Prime to leapfrog Netflix (204 million subscribers) in the all-encompassing streaming wars.

Amazon kept doing this to Disney, though. In 2018, reports emerged that Amazon was restricting sales of Star Wars: The Last Jedi Blu-ray discs to Prime members only. For a time, that product was. Fortunately, Disney made a last minute deal with Amazon meaning that there is a native Fire TV App for Disney+, which works on every Fire TV device. This means whether you have a Fire TV, Fire TV Stick, Fire TV Stick 4K, Fire TV Cube, or Fire TV Edition Smart TVs, you can stream Disney+.

Yet the Amazon Prime service’s main perk is free two-day shipping. Streaming service Prime Video is simply an added value element included in Prime membership. Unfortunately for curious parties such as ourselves, Amazon has never officially revealed how many Prime subscribers are actively using the Prime Video function. In 2018, Reuters reported that 26 million U.S. customers utilize Prime Video, according to company documents. At the time, Amazon Prime had roughly 100 million worldwide subscribers.

In January, Amazon Prime had 150 million subscribers, meaning the service added 50 million new customers from Jan. 30, 2021, to April 15, 2021. For an apples-to-oranges comparison, Netflix set a company quarterly growth record with 15.8 million new subscribers in Q1 2020. Between Feb. 3, 2020 to April 8, 2020, Disney+ added a company record 28.6 million new subscribers.

Though shows such as The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel and The Boys, as well as movies such as Coming 2 America and Borat Subsequent MovieFilm, appear to perform well for Amazon Prime Video, it remains unclear how significant the service is in the larger SVOD industry. It’s almost as if Prime Video is a tale of two streamers. On one hand, studio head Jennifer Salke spent a whopping $8.5 billion on content last year and the platform’s upcoming Lord of the Rings adaptation is the most expensive series in TV history. But on the other hand, Prime Video’s business purpose is murky at best. There are consistent issues that plague the service that Amazon shows no interest in addressing.

For now, we can classify Amazon Prime Video as a successful added-value element. But until there’s more transparency from Amazon, it’s hard to say much more.

A weekly round-up of the new movies and TV series streaming on Netflix, Crave, Amazon Prime Video, Disney Plus and CBC Gem

New on Netflix

Amazon

Amanda Seyfried stars in the haunted-house thriller Things Heard & Seenfrom the directing team of Shari Springer Bergman and Robert Pulcini (American Splendor, The Nanny Diaries), which drops on April 29. Also being released by Netflix this week is the sci-fi fantasy series Shadow and Bone, an epic YA-adjacent series created by Arrival screenwriter Eric Heisserer. Many networks and platforms have rolled the dice on what they hope will be the next Game of Thrones, and early reviews of Shadow and Bone suggest that fans might find exactly that. Season one of RuPaul’s Secret Celebrity Drag Race also drops today. Among the celebrity guests participating in the show (which aired in April 2020) are Dustin Milligan, Vanessa Williams, Phoebe Robinson and Jermaine Fowler. The movie lineup is pretty thin this week: highlights include the Taylor Schilling-led horror movie The Prodigy and Neil Jordan’s thriller Gretastarring Isabelle Huppert and Chloe Grace Moretz.

New on Amazon Prime Video

It’s a very thin week for Amazon Prime, likely leading up to the big release of their Michael B. Jordan-starring tentpole Without Remorse next Friday. The only two titles hitting Prime this week (today, in fact) are both Indian productions: the action movie Roberrtand the comedy Jathi Ratnalu.

New on Crave

Crave’s lineup is almost as thin. It’s saved by the first two episodes of season 4 of The Handmaid’s Talewhich air on April 28, and the April 23 release of a couple of well-received genre films: Jim Cummings’ The Wolf of Snow Hollowand Girl, starring Bella Thorne and Mickey Rourke. And while Mortal Kombat is streaming on HBO Max in the U.S. as of today, it will only start streaming on Crave following its theatrical run — which began in the U.S. and Canada today. In Canada, Mortal Kombat is, however, available for home viewing via VOD. (Read our review here.)

Prime

New on Disney Plus

In what seems to be a running theme, there isn’t much on Disney Plus either. All three seasons of something called Liv and Maddieand the perennial classic Baby’s Day Out, in case you want to recreate what it was like to be stuck indoors watching TV during a rainy Sunday in ’90s Quebec. Both are available to stream right now.

New on CBC Gem

Season 5 of Call the Midwifeis available as of today alongside Ron Mann’s documentary Altman about the legendary filmmaker Robert Altman. ■

See what’s new on Netflix Canada here.

For what’s new on Crave, click here.

Find out what’s new on Amazon Prime Video here.

Disney Free With Amazon Prime

See what’s new on Disney Plus / Star here.

For what’s new on CBC Gem, click here.

Movies

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Disney+ Amazon Prime Video

A weekly round-up of the new movies and TV series streaming on Netflix, Crave, Amazon Prime Video, Disney Plus and CBC Gem