updated 12:00 am EDT, Fri April 13, 2012
Amazon Prime catalog actually much smaller
Amazon drew flak on Thursday after it was accused of and later confirmed inflating its Amazon Prime video catalog. The company acknowledged to Fast Company that it counts each individual TV episode as a show, leading to even just one long-running TV series representing a large part of its catalog. A roster of 17,000 titles claimed by Amazon amounted to 1,875 titles, all but 150 of which were movies.
Netflix, Amazon's main competitor in subscriptions, consciously avoids mentioning numbers partly out of honesty. Its access to videos is determined videos going into and out of rotation, which prevents it giving a consistent figure. The video streaming pioneer claims a larger library, although it's helped by having been active well ahead of Amazon.
Pay-per-show services like iTunes usually have considerably larger movie and TV show collections as studios typically favor their models of buying or renting individual shows, leading to many more recent titles being in stock.
The reasons for pumping the video counts aren't certain, but the alternative figures are likely intended to give a better impression of a still-young service. Amazon increasingly sees its Prime video service as a vehicle for the Kindle Fire which, much like iTunes for the iPad, provides a ready-made content library to spur sales.