Amazon excels at making a seemingly infinite array of grocery items feel organized and accessible. So why did its streaming service, Prime Video, have such an ugly, clunky user interface for so long? “Amazon Prime Video’s library is now virtually unbrowsable,” declared the online entertainment magazine Paste in a headline last year. As the streaming business became more competitive, especially with the arrival of flashy entrants like Disney+ and HBO Max, the poorly designed Prime Video interface became more noticeable.
On Monday, Amazon finally got in on the game, unveiling an 18-month redesign that included a simplified main navigation menu, a more direct path to sports programming, a new way to highlight live TV and a carousel designed to beef up the interface. Cinematic and help users find what they want to watch more quickly.
The overhaul comes as Amazon pushes deeper into the entertainment business. The tech giant completed its $8.5 billion acquisition of Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer in March. It will pay the National Football League an estimated $1 billion annually for the national broadcast rights to “Thursday Night Football,” a deal that begins in September. Prime Video’s megabudget “Lord of the Rings” series also debuts that month. As part of its recent Prime Day, Amazon’s annual deals event for members, the company slashed the price of its new Fire flat-screen TVs by up to 40 percent.
Leading streaming service Netflix also lost subscribers in its spring quarter for the first time in a decade, and is back on its heels at the moment, with more losses expected to be announced on Tuesday.
As part of Amazon’s redesign, users will see a new color palette, larger artwork, and a more prominent Top 10 list. Given Amazon’s efforts to compete with Roku and Apple to sell subscriptions to third-party services like Paramount+ and BritBox, the new interface improves how such subscriptions are integrated. (Amazon calls these other streaming platforms channels.)
“It’s important to us that consumers understand the breadth of choice they have and the benefit of using the Prime Video app for all their streaming,” Amazon director of product management Helena Sarna said in a video interview. In a blog post, Amazon said the overhaul would make Prime Video “less busy and overwhelming.”
The new interface will begin rolling out worldwide this week, with Living Room and Android devices first in line, Ms Sarna said.
In some ways, the remake looks like competing apps, including Prime Video Netflix. “We really wanted to make the Prime Video experience effortless and enjoyable and easy to use,” said Ms. Sarna. “And part of ease of use is familiarity. So, you know, in situations where there are established patterns in the wild, we use them.