Amazon drastically inflates streaming library numbers [u]

Posted:
in General Discussion edited January 2014


The methods with which Amazon advertises its streaming offerings may be misrepresentative of how many shows are available through the company's for-pay online service, igniting scrutiny of how online streaming services quantify their libraries.



Update: This article has been updated to clarify that Netflix does not release specific numbers of shows, and instead publicizes the size of its library based on hours of content.



One of the largest internet streaming providers, Amazon Prime, reportedly uses a method of counting individual TV episodes toward the total number of "shows" offered, which could be a problem if consumers feel mislead by the claims, reports Fast Company.



Amazon's $79-a-year Prime Instant Video boasts that it has "17,000 movies and television shows" when the service actually has only 1,745 movies and about 150 TV series. The language can be taken two ways, and Amazon's claim is technically correct.



What is misleading, however, is the term "shows," which can be used interchangeably when talking about an episode or a series as a whole.



The internet sales giant counts 192 episodes of the TV series 24, over 200 epsiodes of The X-Files and 170 episodes of Grey's Anatomy toward the total 17,000 total. The average number of episodes from a TV series is counted toward the library is 100.





Source: Amazon







Another major player in online streaming, Netflix, does not publicize the specific number of titles in its library as the metric may fluctuate based on availability.



"We do not disclose the number of viewables on Netflix," a spokesperson said. "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. The number of titles does not equate to member happiness or viewing pleasure."



The Associated Press reported earlier this week that Netflix had over 60,000 streaming titles, but that number is disputed as Netflix has only made claims to thousands of hours of content.



"According to our count, it's about 13,000," said Daniel Choi of InstantWatcher.com, a website that uses the Netflix API to track streaming content. "But there are two different ways of counting. We count all television series as one title each. If you split up the TV series into individual episodes, that count will go up."



Understandably, consumers may see the quoted totals as a misrepresentation of the amount of content offered by the companies, but it seems as though both services are content to leave the numbers ambiguous.



"I think my count probably represents better what people think of in terms of the number of titles," Choi said. "Usually you become a fan of a TV series--you don't cherry-pick individual episodes."



[ View article on AppleInsider ]

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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 50
    So, shouldn't the headline read something like "Amazon inflates streaming library numbers, unofficial Netflix stats use same method"? Netflix actually isn't saying anything about their numbers. They're not misleading anyone, in fact, as said, they don't say as to *not* mislead anyone.
  • Reply 2 of 50
    tallest skiltallest skil Posts: 43,399member
    And they'll get away with it because no one cares about them.



    Apple, on the other hand, can't sneeze without people saying the color of the snot is a reason to sue or sell.
  • Reply 3 of 50
    chrisnhchrisnh Posts: 41member
    It was with great fanfare that Netflix helped usher in the world of streaming video. But ever since they helped 'usher streaming video in' all they seem to do is discourage you from using it. Movies from the 1980s and 1990s are noted as 'Recently Added' to their streaming library. In the end, their streaming library is woefully thin. It seems they want to push people to the more expensive DVD plans, which seems to go against the grain as far as technology goes. It seems as though Netflix could make a handsome profit if they moved more of their library to the streaming model. Fewer distribution centers, fewer people, lower mailing costs.



    Whatever bad PR Netflix gets, they deserve.
  • Reply 4 of 50
    daharderdaharder Posts: 1,580member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by mbarriault View Post


    So, shouldn't the headline read something like "Amazon inflates streaming library numbers, unofficial Netflix stats use same method"? Netflix actually isn't saying anything about their numbers. They're not misleading anyone, in fact, as said, they don't say as to *not* mislead anyone.



    Very true... but given the 'source' here such ridiculous hyperbole comes as no surprise.
  • Reply 5 of 50
    madivanmadivan Posts: 45member
    Readers feel misled.



  • Reply 6 of 50
    This explains why the pickings seem so slim on Netflix. The streaming service leaves a lot to be desired.
  • Reply 7 of 50
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by MadIvan View Post


    Readers feel misled.







  • Reply 8 of 50
    tbelltbell Posts: 3,146member
    Exactly what I was thinking. The title is actually a lie and unfairly disparages Netflix. Netflix might even have a legal claim.



    Amazon is the guilty party. Netflix is telling the world it doesn't give out its numbers, so it hasn't done anything questionably wrong.



    Quote:
    Originally Posted by mbarriault View Post


    So, shouldn't the headline read something like "Amazon inflates streaming library numbers, unofficial Netflix stats use same method"? Netflix actually isn't saying anything about their numbers. They're not misleading anyone, in fact, as said, they don't say as to *not* mislead anyone.



  • Reply 9 of 50
    I've rated over 1300 titles on Netflix. Does that mean I've seen one tenth of their content? This month and next I'll be finishing the Battlestar Galactica series. I wish the image quality were better.



    During the last minute of every show I watch on Netflix the video begins to stutter. The size of the show doesn't matter. It is always in the last minute that it occurs. Netflix customer service representatives say it must be the cache. I replied saying; "If it were the cache it would happen at the same amount of time into each show, not at the last minute of both 90 minute and 21 minute shows.



    Anybody else have that problem?
  • Reply 10 of 50
    tbelltbell Posts: 3,146member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by ChrisNH View Post


    It was with great fanfare that Netflix helped usher in the world of streaming video. But ever since they helped 'usher streaming video in' all they seem to do is discourage you from using it. Movies from the 1980s and 1990s are noted as 'Recently Added' to their streaming library. In the end, their streaming library is woefully thin. It seems they want to push people to the more expensive DVD plans, which seems to go against the grain as far as technology goes. It seems as though Netflix could make a handsome profit if they moved more of their library to the streaming model. Fewer distribution centers, fewer people, lower mailing costs.



    Whatever bad PR Netflix gets, they deserve.







    Netflix doesn't deserve bad press from over stating the amount of videos it has available for streaming when it is actually Amazon lying to people not Netflix. That is what the article incorrectly stated.



    Further, Netflix made a couple of dumb moves last year, but any lack of streaming titles on Netflix has to do with the studios failing to license the content to Amazon on reasonable terms. The studios are getting better offers from companies like Comcast, which are ripping people off on monthly subscriptions so can afford to pony up more. Moreover, saying an old movie is recently added isn't improper either because even though the content is older it was just added to Netflix.



    Netflix through no fault of its own is weak in the area of current movies. It, however, is pretty good with TV content. It also has an excellent documentary and foreign movie selection. I don't care about this stuff, but it has added quite a few exercise videos lately. I'd like to see more current movie selections as well, but the studios have an agenda against Netflix.



    My only grievance against Netflix was in less than a year raising my membership costs twice. The second time doubling it (if I wanted both streaming and mailed videos).
  • Reply 11 of 50
    jragostajragosta Posts: 10,473member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by I am a Zither Zather Zuzz View Post


    This explains why the pickings seem so slim on Netflix. The streaming service leaves a lot to be desired.



    That's part of the reason I quit using Netflix.





    Realistically, though, it's very much of a 'buyer beware' issue. Before signing up for either service, a prudent customer would check to see if the shows they want to watch are available.
  • Reply 12 of 50
    nagrommenagromme Posts: 2,834member
    Netflix is HUGELY dishonest. I almost signed up with them again until I realized:



    If you aren't already a customer, they claim that ALL movies are in their library. Even ones currently in theaters and unreleased on DVD! (Even titles like The Avengers that haven't even even finished production yet.)



    Blatant false advertising. Here’s how it works--try it:



    If you don’t have an account (or if you're logged out), then when you go to their site you can “Browse Selection” to see if you like their library enough to buy one of their services.



    Any movie you search for will come up under Browse Selection. There is NO indication that a given movie is not really available... until AFTER you pay.



    In fact, as recently as a few weeks ago, they also claimed that every movie you searched for (including The Avengers) was available to "Watch Instantly." That has been removed recently. Now you simply can't tell which movies are available for Watch Instantly and which are on DVD.



    Bait and switch! AFTER you pay, then and only then can you browse their REAL selection, which indicates what is available and what is simply a "placeholder" for something they might or might not someday get. And only AFTER you pay can you tell what's available to Watch Instantly. A tiny fraction of what they indicate before you pay.



    I was this close to buying their streaming plan, since everything I searched for came up (until recently) wth “Watch Instantly.” Awesome selection, I thought! Until I accidentally brought up a current theatrical release and it too said “Watch Instantly” in the page title. Only then did I realize there was no way to tell what their actual selection was without paying.



    Why are people tolerating this? I can find almost no mention of it online. Yet thousands of people must be signing up and suddenly seeing the library shrink once Netflix has your credit card! I can’t imagine advertising getting any more illegal than this.
  • Reply 13 of 50
    apple ][apple ][ Posts: 9,233member
    Very misleading and incorrect title.



    The article which this AI story is taken from and which AI links to has this as a headline:



    Amazon Massively Inflates Its Streaming Library Size



    For some strange reason, AI decided to add Netflix to their title, which is an untrue claim.
  • Reply 14 of 50
    stldougstldoug Posts: 10member
    I just noticed this on NetFlix with "NOVA - Science Now". Instead of listing this as a series, their listing each episode as a standalone show. Very Annoying.
  • Reply 15 of 50
    kotatsukotatsu Posts: 1,010member
    As bad as the US Netflix library is, and it is indeed terrible, you guys are still more fortunate than us poor Brits. Netflix here is a total joke. The current title count is apparently around 1500, of which the vast majority are obscure straight to video junk from the 1980s.



    We also have an Amazon streaming service called Lovefilm, which has a passable library, considerably better tha Netflix US. However it's all in super compressed SD, and with stereo sound at best.



    I still rent BDs (from Lovefilm) to get new releases, and also watch 1080p streams from Zune on my X360, the quality of which is often rather good.
  • Reply 16 of 50
    jragostajragosta Posts: 10,473member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by nagromme View Post


    Netflix is HUGELY dishonest. I almost signed up with them again until I realized:



    If you aren't already a customer, they claim that ALL movies are in their library. Even ones currently in theaters and unreleased on DVD! (Even titles like The Avengers that haven't even even finished production yet.)



    Blatant false advertising. Here?s how it works--try it:



    If you don?t have an account (or if you're logged out), then when you go to their site you can ?Browse Selection? to see if you like their library enough to buy one of their services.



    Any movie you search for will come up under Browse Selection. There is NO indication that a given movie is not really available... until AFTER you pay.



    In fact, as recently as a few weeks ago, they also claimed that every movie you searched for (including The Avengers) was available to "Watch Instantly." That has been removed recently. Now you simply can't tell which movies are available for Watch Instantly and which are on DVD.



    Bait and switch! AFTER you pay, then and only then can you browse their REAL selection, which indicates what is available and what is simply a "placeholder" for something they might or might not someday get. And only AFTER you pay can you tell what's available to Watch Instantly. A tiny fraction of what they indicate before you pay.



    I was this close to buying their streaming plan, since everything I searched for came up (until recently) wth ?Watch Instantly.? Awesome selection, I thought! Until I accidentally brought up a current theatrical release and it too said ?Watch Instantly? in the page title. Only then did I realize there was no way to tell what their actual selection was without paying.



    Why are people tolerating this? I can find almost no mention of it online. Yet thousands of people must be signing up and suddenly seeing the library shrink once Netflix has your credit card! I can?t imagine advertising getting any more illegal than this.



    Yep. Just tried it with The Hunger Games. Very dishonest.
  • Reply 17 of 50
    hittrj01hittrj01 Posts: 753member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by nagromme View Post


    Netflix is HUGELY dishonest. I almost signed up with them again until I realized:



    If you aren't already a customer, they claim that ALL movies are in their library. Even ones currently in theaters and unreleased on DVD! (Even titles like The Avengers that haven't even even finished production yet.)



    Blatant false advertising. Here?s how it works--try it:



    If you don?t have an account (or if you're logged out), then when you go to their site you can ?Browse Selection? to see if you like their library enough to buy one of their services.



    Any movie you search for will come up under Browse Selection. There is NO indication that a given movie is not really available... until AFTER you pay.



    In fact, as recently as a few weeks ago, they also claimed that every movie you searched for (including The Avengers) was available to "Watch Instantly." That has been removed recently. Now you simply can't tell which movies are available for Watch Instantly and which are on DVD.



    Bait and switch! AFTER you pay, then and only then can you browse their REAL selection, which indicates what is available and what is simply a "placeholder" for something they might or might not someday get. And only AFTER you pay can you tell what's available to Watch Instantly. A tiny fraction of what they indicate before you pay.



    I was this close to buying their streaming plan, since everything I searched for came up (until recently) wth ?Watch Instantly.? Awesome selection, I thought! Until I accidentally brought up a current theatrical release and it too said ?Watch Instantly? in the page title. Only then did I realize there was no way to tell what their actual selection was without paying.



    Why are people tolerating this? I can find almost no mention of it online. Yet thousands of people must be signing up and suddenly seeing the library shrink once Netflix has your credit card! I can?t imagine advertising getting any more illegal than this.



    I completely agree with your statement, but you do have the option of signing up for a free trial, so I don't think Netflix is in any legal trouble for false advertisement. Sign up for the trial, see that they aren't telling the truth, cancel trial membership, no money paid.
  • Reply 18 of 50
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Smallwheels View Post


    I've rated over 1300 titles on Netflix. Does that mean I've seen one tenth of their content? This month and next I'll be finishing the Battlestar Galactica series. I wish the image quality were better.



    During the last minute of every show I watch on Netflix the video begins to stutter. The size of the show doesn't matter. It is always in the last minute that it occurs. Netflix customer service representatives say it must be the cache. I replied saying; "If it were the cache it would happen at the same amount of time into each show, not at the last minute of both 90 minute and 21 minute shows.



    Anybody else have that problem?



    The stuttering on Netflix is the reason I've suspended my account. Their streaming is a joke. (And, for those wondering, no, it's not the quality of my internet connection)



    1080p, my 4$$.
  • Reply 19 of 50
    MacProMacPro Posts: 19,251member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Smallwheels View Post


    I've rated over 1300 titles on Netflix. Does that mean I've seen one tenth of their content? This month and next I'll be finishing the Battlestar Galactica series. I wish the image quality were better.



    During the last minute of every show I watch on Netflix the video begins to stutter. The size of the show doesn't matter. It is always in the last minute that it occurs. Netflix customer service representatives say it must be the cache. I replied saying; "If it were the cache it would happen at the same amount of time into each show, not at the last minute of both 90 minute and 21 minute shows.



    Anybody else have that problem?



    Battle Star Galactica is very good HD for us, using Apple TV 2 and FiOS 30 Mb/s and Airport Extreme. Never a stutter unless I caused it. I have discovered after I have down loaded something large on my Mac over FTP for example, I get issues with Netflix, rebooting the Airport Extreme always fixes the problem.
  • Reply 20 of 50
    MacProMacPro Posts: 19,251member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by anantksundaram View Post


    The stuttering on Netflix is the reason I've suspended my account. Their streaming is a joke. (And, for those wondering, no, it's not the quality of my internet connection)



    1080p, my 4$$.



    As I said to Smallwheels I get superb HD from Netflix with FiOS. I wonder if it is better in some areas than others. Are you using FiOS or cable? I ask as I suspect Comcast and other old cable technology companies still suffer contention ratios unlike FiOS.
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