Amazon Prime Video customers might notice that the platform is beginning to resemble Netflix. Subscribers will now be able to create up to six profiles per account, much like fellow streaming services.
As of Tuesday, Amazon is offering the multiple profile model in the U.S. and internationally. Only weeks ago, Amazon rolled out this service in India and a number of African countries. After seeing success there, they are expanding the model globally.
The update allows one Prime account to have a single owner as well as five other users. This makes it easier for parents and guardians to control what children are viewing. Before, Prime Video users had the option to install parental controls on a device-specific manner. This allowed a parent to place parental locks on adult content for a specific laptop or TV. But it posed issues if children and parents shared a device.
Now, the multi-profile system features a Prime Video Kids profile. This profile will only allow viewers to access content made for those aged 12 and under. The platform will also tailor search results and suggestions for this younger age group. It’s notable that the Kids profile will still have access to downloaded content.
Another important aspect of this feature is that purchasing ability will be blocked on the Prime Video Kids profile. This way, bored children can’t unknowingly rack up a parent’s credit card bill. On regular adult accounts, parents can ensure this doesn’t happen by requiring a PIN to rent or buy movies.
Amazon Prime Video users have requested this change since the platform first launched. It seems strange that the company would wait so long to provide a service already offered by its biggest rivals, Netflix and Hulu. This change addresses the problem many families face, the issue of having multiple members of the household watching the same series, separately. That practice throws off season progress tracking. Separate suggestions and progress tracking have already been available on Netflix for six years. Finally, the Amazon has addressed this annoyance.
While the company has not explained why it took so long, the decision’s timing is telling. Amazon may have kept the single-user model for so long in order to diminish the free-rider problem (friends borrowing each other’s passwords). But demand for streaming is at an all-time high during the coronavirus pandemic. And the streaming field is far more crowded than it used to be, with the recent emergence of Disney+, HBO Max, Peaock, and Quibi. As with its other services, Amazon is trying to keep its grip on the video streaming market.