There are other streaming options available to South Africans apart from Netflix and Showmax – with Amazon’s Prime Video product standing out as an attractive alternative.
While Prime Video does not offer some of the most popular shows around – such as Game of Thrones and Stranger Things – it has its own exclusive shows which may be tempting to local viewers.
The Grand Tour – a car show hosted by former Top Gear presenters Jeremy Clarkson, Richard Hammond, and James May – is an example of a Prime Video exclusive which may win over some South African users.
Testing Prime Video
We tested Prime Video by signing up to the streaming service’s 7-day free trial.
Once the trial is over, new subscribers receive an introductory price of $2.99 per month for the first six months, increasing to $5.99 thereafter.
The interface is similar to that of Netflix, with rows of tiles containing the thumbnails of popular and categorised movies.
In the first row, Amazon highlights its original series, which include The Grand Tour, Good Omens, Jack Ryan, and American Gods.
Other categories include “Top Movies,” “Recommended Movies,” “Recently Added Movies,” and “Top TV”.
When you hover over a tile, information is displayed in a pop-up box, including the film or series’ IMDb rating, the number of seasons available, and a blurb about the show or movie.
In the first few categories, we instantly recognised some shows and movies, including Mr & Mrs Smith, The Office, House, and Two and a Half Men.
After scrolling down for a bit, however, the titles became noticeably less recognisable and some were even in foreign languages.
While the interface is easy to navigate for anyone who has used Netflix before, our impression of the featured content left us wondering about the breadth of Amazon’s catalogue.
Comparing streaming services
To put this to the test, we compared the highest-rated series and movies on IMDb which are available on Netflix, Showmax, or Prime Video.
Shows and films which were in the IMDb rankings but not available on any of the platforms were excluded from the comparison.
What we found was that Prime Video offers almost none of the top series on IMDb, and pales in comparison to its competition in South Africa in this regard.
However, it did offer some of the top movies on IMDb, significantly outperforming Showmax.
Seemingly, the only reasons to sign up to Prime Video are to watch a selection of top movies or specific shows that only Prime Video offers, such as The Grand Tour.
Below is a comparison of top series and movies available on Prime Video, Netflix, and Showmax in South Africa.
|Game of Thrones||9.5|
|Planet Earth II||9.5|
|Band of Brothers||9.5|
|Blue Planet II||9.3|
|Rick and Morty||9.3|
|The Civil War||9.1|
|When They See Us||9.1|
|The Vietnam War||9.1|
|Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood||9.0|
|The Godfather Part 2||9.0|
|The Blue Planet||8.9|
|The Lord of the Rings: Return of the King||8.9|
|House of Cards||8.8|
|The Lord of the Rings: Fellowship of the Ring||8.8|
|The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers||8.7|
|Saving Private Ryan||8.6|