Co-author: Nicole Barratt
What is Amazon Prime?
Amazon Prime Video is a streaming video on demand service run by global online retailer Amazon. Similar to Netflix, Amazon Prime Video’s initial offering for Kiwis paled in comparison to the service’s huge streaming library in the United States.
However, both international streaming services have changed considerably since their launch. With mounting pressure from local competitors like Neon, Amazon Prime has hugely expanded its online catalogue of shows.
Amazon began its streaming service in the United States in 2006. But Prime only started to take off when it acquired the rights to The Grand Tour – the show that features former Top Gear hosts James May, Richard Hammond and Jeremy Clarkson. It was the same year that Amazon Prime expanded into 200 countries, including New Zealand.
Fast forward to 2021, and Amazon Prime Video is now a hugely popular site, offering an array of movies and TV shows. Prime’s success means the service now competes with other notable streaming services in NZ, namely Netflix and Neon.
With an Amazon Prime subscription you can:
- Stream content on three devices at once
- Download shows to watch offline, on the Prime Video mobile app
How can I watch Amazon Prime?
Like Netflix, Amazon Prime is web-based. It’s available on a range of internet-enabled devices, including:
- Apple TV
- Certain smart TVs
- Xbox and PlayStation consoles
- Smartphones, tablets and computers, on Android and iOS
How much does Amazon Prime cost in New Zealand in 2021?
Amazon Prime Video is available in New Zealand for $8/month (at the time of writing). There’s a free one-week trial, no contract, and you can cancel at any time.
Compared to the other main players, it’s the cheapest streaming service:
- AppleTV: $8.99/month
- Neon: $13.95/month
- Netflix: from $11.99/month
What can I watch on Amazon Prime?
Compared to American Amazon Prime, Kiwis’ viewing choices are more limited. However subscribers still have access to over 8000 movies and 500+ TV shows. Within Amazon Prime’s large catalogue of movies, there’s a large amount of older films, with a heavy saturation of dramas and comedies from the 2000s. Here are some of the more popular movie choices:
- Indiana Jones 1 – 4
- American Beauty
- Forrest Gump
- No Country For Old Men
- A. Confidential
- There Will Be Blood
This is just a very brief selection, but you can see that there is a large cross section of genres. Also consider that rights to films and TV shows change all the time, so it pays to check back in periodically to see if any films have been added or taken away.
New shows in 2021
Like Netflix, Amazon spends billions of dollars a year to secure rights to TV shows, as well as to secure distribution rights to certain shows, labelled Amazon Originals. Stephen King’s apocalyptic drama, The Stand, from CBS is on Amazon Prime in 2021. Set five months after a bioengineered super flu strain wipes out 99% of the world’s population, a group of survivors come together to try to start over in what becomes a struggle between good and evil.
The new animated series Star Trek: Lower Decks is up, too, developed by Emmy Award-winner Mike McMahan (Rick and Morty, Solar Opposites). The comedy series focuses on the support crew serving on one of Starfleet’s least important ships, the U.S.S. Cerritos, in 2380.
The Amazon Original film One Night In Miami is also on offer. It’s a fictional account of the four iconic figures Muhammad Ali, Malcolm X, Sam Cooke and Jim Brown gathering to celebrate one of the biggest upsets in boxing, and to discuss their roles in the civil right movement and cultural upheaval of the 60s.
January 2021 also saw the return of fantasy series American Gods, back for its third season, and the release of the horror film The Rental.
How does Amazon Prime Video compare to Netflix?
Amazon Prime Video’s TV offerings definitely don’t have the name recognition of Netflix’s catalogue. There’s no Stranger Things, Black Mirror, The Queen’s Gambit or The Crown. Instead, there’s a focus on movies and network-produced TV shows.
Arguably, Netflix has better content, as it boasts more original series, documentaries and notable international productions. But a Netflix subscription does cost more.
Is Amazon Prime Video worth the money?
It really rests on how much you use it. If you subscribe but only watch a show every week or two, then probably not. But if you binge-watch the TV shows (or have a show in mind you want to binge), or regularly sit down for a movie night, then the monthly fee can certainly be justified. A free or discount trial can help to evaluate both the content and how it fits with your lifestyle.
The best broadband
Of course, if you’re watching a lot of Amazon Prime Video, you’re going to need a zippy broadband connection with unlimited data. And if you’re wondering if there’s a better deal out there, perhaps there is. And this is where Canstar Blue can help.
To help you get a clearer picture of broadband providers in NZ, Canstar Blue rates all the big providers in the market annually. We survey thousands of broadband customers and ask them to score their providers across categories including Value for Money, Network Performance and Customer Service.
Canstar Blue’s 2020 review of NZ internet providers compares NOW, 2degrees, Bigpipe, Contact, MyRepublic, Orcon, Skinny, Slingshot, Spark, Stuff Fibre, Trustpower, Vodafone and Voyager, and awards the best our 5 Star rating:
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Canstar Blue NZ Research finalised in March 2020, published in April 2020.
See Our Ratings Methodology
The table above is an abridged version of our full research, so to find out more about NZ’s best broadband providers, just click on the big button at the bottom of this story.