Is Amazon Lying to Users and Shareholders?
Amazon (NASDAQ:AMZN) seems to have found a novel way to increase the title count in its Instant Video library without actually adding to it. An analysis of the collection found the company’s claim of offering more than 17,000 movies and television shows on its streaming service in fact counted each episode of a series as a completely separate title. Put simply, it means Amazon counts the series The X-Files, originally shown by Fox (NASDAQ:NWSA), more than 200 times, and ABC’s (NYSE:DIS) Grey’s Anatomy 170 times.
The service, Amazon Prime Instant Video, charges users $79 a year and competes with Netflix (NASDAQ:NFLX) and Hulu Plus (NASDAQ:CMCSA). The number of movies offered by Amazon through the service is 1,745 and there are roughly 150 television series on it, which brings the 17,000 figure down closer to about 1,900.
The average number of times Amazon counts a single TV series on its service is about 100. The company, mercifully, does not count HD TV episodes and movies separately from standard-definition content.
Netflix’s collection of approximately 60,000 titles also only actually offers a much fewer number than that, though the company does not provide a specific tally. “We do not disclose the number of viewables on Netflix,” a spokesperson told Fast Company. “A primary reason is that the title count fluctuates a lot as titles come in and out of window. Additionally, while we do have the biggest streaming library, we don’t want people to measure us by title count.”
A website that uses Netflix’s API to track streaming videos predicts the count is closer to 13,000, including about 9,500 movies.
Amazon declined to comment.