Explained: What Is Amazon Prime And Do You Need It?

Image: Amazon

Amazon's entry into Australia last year was underwhelming, but the company continues to shore up its local storefront in a bid to tempt shoppers. Part of that includes Amazon Prime, a paid subscription service that provides users with extra benefits, such discounts, deals and even streaming video. So, what does Prime have to offer Australians?

The short answer is nothing, because you can't get a Prime membership via Amazon Australia. Instead, it's split into its individual components, one of which you can't get yet: Prime Video, Twitch Prime and Prime Shipping (currently unavailable, but it is coming).

There's also a bunch of other goodies, though how much of those will transfer to Australians once Prime is implement in full locally is unclear.

First of all, pricing. A casual sub will set you back $US10.99 ($13.37) per month, while the annual deal is $US99.99 upfront ($124.90). That works out to be $10.40 per month, saving you a couple of bucks if you want to go all-out.

Of course, it's hard to say how Amazon will adjust the cost once it switches from US dollars. It's possible it won't - as is the case with Prime Video.

Speaking of which...

Prime Video

Image: Supplied

Amazon's streaming video service has been up and about locally for a few years and yet, even with the introduction of a proper Amazon Australia, the site's landing page still fails to provide pricing in Aussie dollars.

Not that it matters if you get a Prime membership, as it's part of the $10-$13 per month subscription. Unfortunately with Prime unavailable in Australia, Prime Video is currently considered separate product.

That said, if you're not interested in any of the other benefits and just want to get your entertainment fix, Netflix is a more appealing proposition, even if it's a few bucks more.

Prime Video also bags you Twitch Prime... which is nice.

Twitch Prime

Image: Supplied

If you've never heard of Twitch, it's a livestreaming website predominately for video games and gamers. Amazon snapped Twitch up a few years back and added a "premium experience" called Twitch Prime. It comes part and parcel with an Amazon Prime subscription and provides the following benefits:

  • Free in-game loot every month, plus exclusives and surprises: You'll get characters, vehicles, skins, virtual currency and boosts, free games, plus surprises and exclusives.
  • Ad-free viewing plus a free channel subscription every 30 days

Unfortunately, if you hit the country selection dropdown on the Twitch Prime landing page, Australia is noticeably absent. You can still pick the "other countries" option, but it's not made entirely clear what you miss out on, other than Amazon Prime shipping (which isn't available yet anyway, but more on that in a minute).

Hopefully Amazon and Twitch will get their act together and Australia will get some recognition here, but for now be warned -- you might miss out on some Twitch Prime bonuses because of location / region differences, unless you pretend you're in the States.

Note that Twitch Prime includes a subscription to Prime Video.

Prime Shipping

Image: Amazon

Alright, so this is what most people will get a Prime subscription for. In the US, Prime can get you same-day or two-day shipping, as well as free or discounted postage.

At the moment, Amazon has yet to provide a launch date for Prime Shipping in Australia, other than an utterly unhelpful "coming in the future". There's also no hint at what our perks will be, other than "exclusive delivery benefits" on "eligible items".

Uh, cool?

The good news is, once Amazon does get Prime going in Oz, it'll bundle Prime Video and Twitch Prime, saving you dollars if you want these services. Honestly, it's all going to come down to a combination of price and sweetness of the pot... and Amazon has provided no hint of either.

For now, the best thing to do is sign up for email updates, if you want to stay in the loop.


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