Amazon massively overstates size of its streaming video library

“Amazon boasts that it has “more than 17,000 movies and television shows” on Amazon Prime Instant Video, its streaming service that competes with Netflix and Hulu Plus,” Austin Carr reports for Fast Company. “The “17,000” figure has been widely parroted in the media, but where does the number come from?”

“Upon closer examination, the total number of movies and TV shows available to Amazon Prime members, who pay $79 a year, is actually far lower,” Carr reports. “Only 1,745 movies are available to stream on the company’s Prime service, and just roughly 150 TV series. The ‘17,000’ figure is not only misleading to consumers, but a faulty indicator of Amazon’s streaming library’s strength versus competitors and traditional entertainment offerings.”

Carr reports, “Amazon reached that number by counting each episode of a TV series as an individual TV show… Amazon counts The X-Files more than 200 times and Grey’s Anatomy 170 times… Power Rangers-related episodes are counted as about 715 shows in its streaming library–that is, 4.2% of the 17,000 movies and television shows Amazon says it offers.”

Read more in the full article here.

[Thanks to MacDailyNews readers too numerous to mention individually for the heads up.]


  1. This doesn’t surprise me. Amazon’s streaming services are crap. I am a prime member but I can’t even use them. My TiVo is too old and they require Flash to use it on a Mac and the videos do not work on an iPad. Useless!

  2. Good info.

    What does Amazon Prime offer for free that you can’t get on Netflix or Hulu Plus? I’m trying to get rid of my cable TV but am still figuring this out.

        1. Oh. We’re in a situation where our broad(ish)band doesn’t support video streaming, so I don’t even think about that aspect of Amazon Prime. I doubt I would see it as a benefit, even with better connectivity. Amazon, the online bookseller, was an original idea. All this “I can do that, too!” is pretty lame.

          We do order a lot of stuff from Amazon that makes the Prime membership worthwhile for us. Don’t think twice about putting in an order for a long shaft #1 Phillips screwdriver one day and printer cartridges the next, since neither were available within 60 miles of this one horse town. That’s Amazon’s real future, as a mega-mart seller of last resort, IMHO.

          1. I had it for a year and it’s not cracked up as people say, one thing you didn’t mention in your post is that if Amazon itself doesn’t have it in stock and you need to get it from a third party, You still must pay shipping and tax.

            Amazon prime is good for users that buy allot of the same goods Amazon routinely carries, but unless Amazon itself has it in one of there Wahehouses or a supplier is a Amazon partner your out of luck, and the Movie and TV show choices are very limited!

            After a year I dropped the service, it’s not worth it, 80% of the things I needed Amazon didn’t carry, and I ended up still paying shipping.

  3. Forget that shekel-rubbing Amazon tryin’ to fool us with a Google-like definition of the truth. That 4.2% might be a lot higher if you took out the movies. Guess Amazon marketing types didn’t like the sound of “25% of our streaming TV is Power Rangers crap”. The rest being mainly Marcus Welby, M.D. and Gunsmoke, no doubt. And they might have their own exclusive content soon, with a Kardashians movie rumored to be in the works, and a documentary on tooth enamel.

    1. And only if they have it, Third party’s are not covered in the Prime shipping unless they are a partner and it is very limited, Amazon Prime offers some items but allot are not covered under the Prime Shipping clause.

      With 3rd party’s you must still pay shipping and tax even if you have a prime account.

      Most 3rd party sellers are not Amazon Prime Partners.

    2. Yeah, Amazon Prime is worth it. If the planets align and the stuff you’re buying just happens to be eligable for Amazon Prime. Otherwise, it’s useless.

      My ass is broke, so I thought I’d try it out for the free shipping only to discover that nothing I wanted to buy was eligable. Ever. And never would be eligable, because it doesn’t seem to be available for used items.

      It’s quite handy if you happen to belong to a certain niche of Amazon users. If you don’t, it’s an annual waste of $79.

  4. I’m really surprised by all the negative comments about amazon prime. I’ve already ordered 76 items this year alone and most of them were amazon prime. The town I live in doesn’t have a wide variety of items available so I do most of my shopping online.

    As for the video service I do agree. No playback on appletv, no playback on iOS devices, and I’m not going to dedicate a computer to such a small service. So ya, it’s pretty much useless.

    1. I have Prime but I almost always don’t buy the Prime pricing. They have items from companies with 200% positive feedback, some with free shipping that costs me less than the Amazon Prime item. Check it out. I don’t think i’ve ever seen Prime for the lowest price of an item. I think I wasted my money at this point because the streaming does suck. There is hardly anything to watch that is not on Hulu or others.

  5. Amazon is no different from a hormone-driven teenager wildly overstating the size of his member to impress the ladies. Hopefully, this is not a strategy that Jeff Bezos learned first-hand & which he passed on to the company he founded. Deception always automatically rules out repeat business.

  6. So $79 a year for free 2-day shipping of SOME of their inventory?
    Maybe it’s my location (Capital District of NY state, about 150 mi. north of NYC), but I get the vast majority of my “free standard shipping” items in 2 or 3 days. Just yesterday I received a very hard-to-find Express/34 card SSD from Las Vegas, exactly 2 days after ordering with the free STANDARD shipping.
    Amazon makes it easy to buy lots of stuff, but I am not gonna be a sucker for any of their “premium” crap.

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