Amazon Prime (UK)

Amazon PrimeOn the face of it, Amazon Prime is a great purchase – providing free, next- or same- day delivery on some Amazon store items for £8.99 a month (actually £6.53 a month if you opt for the £79 annual membership). Throw in video, music, books and limitless photo storage – to name but a few benefits – and it becomes a no-brainer if you are a regular shopper. However, you do need to do a little homework to check it offers enough if you are subscribing to improve your viewing choices.

Prime Time Viewing

Diving in for video choices, I was initially impressed. It quickly became clear that a large proportion of movies and shows were available as an additional purchase only. For example:

  • Sherlock Season Three is free but Season One costs an extra £9.99
  • Homeland Season Six costs an extra £16.99
  • Passengers (2016) costs an extra £13.99 (currently £13.99 on iTunes with no subscription fee !)

Of the impressive 35,386 videos on Prime, it turns out that only 6,282 – or 18% – are actually included for free with your subscription. Of those included videos, only 1,571 are in HD and only 1,300 have been rated 4 stars or better (4% of all videos). There is a huge volume of highly dubious titles such as:

  • UFO Secrets – Alien Contacts – The Best Evidence
  • The Gospel according to Matthew – Part 2
  • Bad Movie Police Case #3 – Humanoids from Atlantis (5 stars from 2 viewers !)

It is not all crap. There are newer film releases such as Trumbo, Spotlight and The Hateful Eight plus exclusive TV shows including The Grand Tour with Top Gear refugees Clarkson, May and Hammond, The Man in the High Castle and Lucifer. All are worth a butchers and may well justify the subscription for you. The The Man in the High Castle is particularly good, with production values and effects that shame worthier viewing from broadcasters such as the BBC (check out the Beeb’s adaptation of Len Deighton’s alternative WW2 history in SS-GB – also available on Amazon Prime for an extra £7.99 – poor story, limited sets and lousy dialogue despite some fine acting).

Worthy

Amazon Prime is not pants but you do need to have a good idea of what you are after. The quieter benefits – such as unlimited photo and video storage – might be more valuable (offering original-quality storage as opposed to Google Photo’s watered down but otherwise free unlimited photo pot). It is important to remember that ending a Prime subscription would obviously see these withdrawn smartly. Amazon offer a very good, structured ‘goodbye’ mechanism but make certain you have a decent backup of important personal content should you decide to end it. One such gotcha is if you move country – as I found – you have to close the account and subscribe in your new Amazon country or opt for a much more limited ‘international’ Prime video service. A recent reply from an Amazon Customer Service agent probably best sums it up:

… I’m sorry to inform you that your Amazon Prime membership at Amazon.co.uk gives you great benefits …

A good overall offering with otherwise decent customer service. You just need to make sure those ‘sorry’ benefits are worth it for you.

1 Comment

Simon LewisMay 24th, 2017 at 5:11 pm

Check out similar reviews at http://www.consumerreports.org/shopping/pros-cons-amazon-prime/

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