I have to say that there is a lot of difference in the experience delivered by Amazon Instant Video and Apple’s iTunes.
I use Amazon Instant Video for two reasons: it has a lot of free content with my Prime subscription, and it seems to be the only way I can buy some Food Network shows – right now ‘Next Food Network Star’. From Apple I buy (again Food Network) ‘Pioneer Woman’. While these are two specific examples, the same performance applies to all shows we watch through these two channels.
Here’s the typical Apple experience:
Click the link to play on the Apple TV direct.
- Wait about 30-40 seconds and HD playback starts.
- It continue to the end without pausing.
- I can pause playback indefinitely.
Here’s the typical Amazon Experience.
Find the content on the Amazon iPad app.
- Start playback. Wait about 30-40 seconds for playback to start.
- Switch to airplay as it always switches out of airplay initially.
- Wait 30-40 seconds while the buffering happens over.
- Start playback of the show
- About 2/3 or the way through the opening credits, the show restarts at the beginning.
- At times the restarts happen mid show and go back to the beginning of the show.
- Do NOT leave the show in pause for more than 2 minutes or it will drop out and require the whole buffering process to start over. Sometimes the Amazon App will reset itself to play on the iPad not the Apple TV.
I would suggest that senior executives at Amazon do not use their own product, because there is no way they would put up with it if they did. Remember this is content I’ve paid (relatively) a lot of money for. By that I mean that the prices charged per show (about $1.84 for FNS) are way, way higher than the revenue obtained from cable distribution, where Food Network as a whole will get about 60c a month per subscriber for all Food Network’s content – 24x7x30, not one 40 minute show for three times the monthly return.
These ridiculously high prices per show relative to traditional distribution is why unauthorized distribution will remain prominent. It’s not a piracy problem, it’s a business model problem. Still.