Amazon Streams U.S. Premiere of British Comedy on Facebook

British comedy “Catastrophe” made its streaming debut in the U.S. this week exclusively on Amazon’s Facebook page. The move is a new approach to promoting Netflix competitor Amazon Prime Instant Video. Two days after Monday night’s premiere, the show will be made available for streaming only to Amazon Instant Video subscribers (the entire season will be available Friday). This is not the first time social media has been leveraged this way. Hulu has been posting select videos on Facebook, while studios have been offering movie rentals and purchases via social platforms.

“Monday’s premiere could be about consolidating a position of strength,” according to International Business Times. “Though Netflix gets most of the ink for streaming video, Amazon’s rival service, Amazon Prime Instant Video, might not be such a distant second. According to estimates by Consumer Intelligence Research Partners, Amazon Prime Instant Video has more subscribers in the United States than Netflix does.”

Amazon_Prime_Instant_Video_Devices_2015

CIRP estimates that Amazon has more than 40 million Prime subscribers. However, since Prime membership offers a variety of perks — such as free two-day shipping, Kindle books, photo storage and streaming music — not all subscribers may be aware of the Instant Video service, while some may subscribe for reasons other than video.

“Research by Strategy Analytics shows that most Amazon Prime members ponied up the $99 yearly fee to save on shipping, rather than as a cost-effective way to get video,” notes IBT. “That same research found that a larger percentage of Amazon Prime members — 40 percent, compared to 36 percent — use Netflix for streaming video than Amazon Prime.”

Therefore, Amazon is testing the waters with Facebook, which now serves 4 billion videos per day. And while most of these videos are short-form, the Interactive Advertising Bureau recently found that more than one-third of mobile users worldwide watch long-form video on their mobile devices.