Posted by: crudbasher | February 23, 2011

More Battles in the Content Wars

Things are heating up in the streaming content wars. Netflix got an early lead by moving quietly and before any of the big players realized that battle was on. Now other people are moving.

In the last month several things have happened.

  1. Criterion has pulled all their content from Netflix because of an exclusing deal with Hulu Plus.
  2. Netflix has signed a 2 year contract with CBS for some of their older shows. (hello Cheers and Star Trek!)
  3. Now this: is giving away 5000 streaming shows and movies to members of Amazon Prime.(link below)

Amazon Prime has been around for a while now. Basically you pay $79 per year and get free 2 day shipping on everything you buy. (Note: if you are a student, you can get this for free, but not the streaming videos part)

Now Amazon has turned on a streaming service and bundled it with Prime. Very cool. It works out to slightly cheaper than Netflix streaming only service and you get the 2 day shipping.

The down side is their selection of titles pales in comparison to Netflix.

So why do I keep track of this story? How does it apply to Education?

I have mentioned many times on this blog that we are a short time away from every student having a computer in every classroom, even if that computer is a smartphone. That means Internet access for every student, which can radically change the student teacher relationship. However, there’s a catch. The Internet is only useful if you can access things. If a lot of the best content is locked away in their own subscription based silos, it will hurt education.  A school district might get a subscription to one or two services, but 10, 20? That’s a problem. While right now it’s only really video content doing this, eventually other forms of content might be locked away too.

This fragmentation of the Internet is a problem. It’s also inevitable I think. Companies are trying out various business models to survive. It’s a give and take between content companies and the consumers. It’s like paying to check a bag on an airline. It’s new, didn’t use to be that way, people don’t like it, and some airlines aren’t doing it. I prefer to fly on Southwest because they don’t do that. As long as people have a choice I think things will sort themselves out to favor the consumers.

I’ll be keeping my eye on this. The article quoted below talks about the service.

  • Another shot in the content wars

    tags: technology amazon netflix

    • As expected, Amazon has announced its new and improved Amazon Prime service that now offers more than 5,000 streaming TV shows and movies to customers. Those who already pay the $79 per year for Prime won’t have to pay any extra to get access to the streams. Video will be available on Macs and PCs in the US, as well as a number of set-top boxes.


    • Our initial takeaway from the announcement is that it’s a good start—and certainly a nice freebie to those who already subscribe to Prime—but things are a little bland out of the gate. It’s not yet at the point where I would want to cancel my Netflix subscription in favor of Amazon, though I would consider it if the selection improves over time (which it undoubtedly will).


    • Amazon does have one major point in its favor though: price. Netflix’s streaming-only plan costs $7.99 per month (or $95.88 per year), making it almost $20 more per year than Amazon Prime. That’s not a massive savings, but when combined with the free two-day shipping deals that also come with Prime, Amazon’s offering looks a little sweeter.


Posted from Diigo. The rest of my favorite links are here.


  1. […] for this is pretty clear to me. They are a content middle man. As have been rather forcefully preaching on this blog for the last 21 months, the Internet is the death of the middle man. Digital content doesn’t […]

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