Streaming services aren’t getting better, but still want you to pay for more content

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Prime Video lately elevated its subscription by $2.99 for an ad-free expertise, but its in-video navigation has been a giant challenge since its inception. Regardless of charging ever-increasing costs, many of those platforms nonetheless let customers cope with their clunky interfaces. So why are streaming platforms forcing prospects to pay extra whereas providing a mean consumer expertise?

Platforms like Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, Max, and many others., have changed conventional cable subscriptions as a go-to supply of leisure. In keeping with a latest research, Individuals spend 20 hours every week on these platforms and pay a mean of $46 monthly for these providers. The reason being the wide range of content material that’s continuously refreshed on the platform weekly, generally even every day. Nonetheless, of their pursuit of content material acquisition, these streaming giants appear to be neglecting one essential level—consumer expertise.

In keeping with a latest survey carried out by Forbes Residence, Amazon Prime Video has the second-highest variety of subscribers in 2024 (200 million). Nonetheless, solely 14 % of the respondents felt it was straightforward to navigate via its UI.

The woes of a clunky UI

For a lot of customers, fast-forwarding and rewinding or navigating Prime Video’s clunky UI might be bothersome. The interface form of lags whenever you attempt to scrub throughout the video, making it tough for customers to gauge the place they really left off.

A Reddit thread showcases the issues customers face as we speak on Amazon Prime Video. One consumer even goes as far as to say that the platform has the worst consumer interface.

“Among the unique Amazon content material is price watching, however that’s all they’ve going for them. It’s actually hilarious that Amazon is without doubt one of the greatest firms on this planet. They spent $1 Billion on their ‘Lord of the Rings’ TV present, and but they will’t even get one thing as primary as a practical consumer interface proper,” a consumer added.

One other consumer feedback that “very like Amazon’s product search these days, their Prime Video search is sizzling rubbish. And now they’re including advertisements; they may as effectively simply surrender altogether now.”

Richard Lachman, the director of digital media within the RTA Faculty of Media at Toronto Metropolitan College, says folks usually don’t discover options in widespread when switching platforms, which may result in a irritating expertise. “Some options aren’t simply obtainable, some are buggy, and a few aren’t obtainable on all platforms,” he added.

Amazon Prime isn’t the one platform that has been criticized for its UI. Hulu and Max (previously HBO Max) additionally had customers complaining about navigation inconsistency and general glitchy UI.

Mia Eltiste, a consumer expertise (UX) researcher primarily based in Austin, Texas, evaluations streaming platforms and their interfaces on TikTok. In one in every of her movies, she factors out that Hulu’s navigation bar retains disappearing when returning to the house display. “Don’t put your navigation on the highest bar; put it on the aspect,” Eltiste states.

As customers scroll down vertically, the bar retains disappearing, however when it’s on the aspect, it’s simpler to entry. She provides that the platform ought to make sure the navigation bar is out there on all pages—not simply the house display.

Furthermore, whereas everybody feels that Netflix has nailed its UI, many really feel the search bar nonetheless wants work, and watching the top credit of a sequence or film appears not possible as a result of the UI jumps to the following episode or film you’ll be able to watch. Android Central’s Jerry Hildenbrand agrees with the sentiment and says that he finds it irritating to seek for issues to observe.

“Netflix appears good and is simple to make use of, but it surely doesn’t present me sufficient content material. No person desires to make use of the search from their cellphone, so it’s necessary to indicate me what ya obtained.”

Hanging a steadiness between content material acquisition and UI
Prime Video continue watching

(Picture credit score: Amazon)

Lachman says the enterprise technique for a number of of those platforms isn’t targeted on consumer expertise as a differentiator however on content material acquisition. It will get to the purpose the place some providers are rushed to launch, “spending the majority of their funds on content material with out mature tech/UX groups and a precedence on understanding and responding to consumer experiences.”

He feels that consumer complaints about UX should not a purpose folks select to unsubscribe to streaming providers, however that is set to vary as customers begin taking UI into consideration when deciding to go away or subscribe to a service. “If there are fewer gamers, all with high-quality content material, then the UX groups might achieve some precedence in decision-making and budgets.”

In keeping with Ampere Evaluation, world streaming providers are set to extend their complete content material spending by 7 % in 2024 to $46 billion. Netflix will spend $17 billion this 12 months buying content material, whereas Amazon’s complete video and music expense in 2023 was $18.9 billion.

Again in 2022, Amazon Prime Video redesigned its dwelling web page, giving it a contemporary facelift. The present UI includes a simplified navigation menu, a brand new Reside TV web page, and redesigned carousels for higher content material discovery. Nonetheless, this redesign targeted on highlighting their broad choice of content material and never on the fundamentals of how the app capabilities.

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(Picture credit score: Joe Maring / Android Central)

In keeping with Eltiste, any platform that wishes to enhance its consumer expertise ought to focus on being practical, dependable, and usable. Nonetheless, many corporations don’t even give it some thought being a pleasurable expertise on their platform.

Lachman says that a greater method to strategy UI is to concentrate on utilization and content material consumption. Corporations must also take note of consumer frustrations and observe social media complaints in regards to the UX and product options.

In 2023, Max made some modifications to its consumer expertise amid the merger between HBO Max and Discovery Plus into one platform. Following complaints about its glitchy interface, TechCrunch reported that Max was set to realize an up to date consumer interface with numerous enhancements to ship a seamless transition for current HBO Max subscribers throughout most platforms.

Lachman notes that corporations have to prioritize UX in funds, hiring, and technique. “Ensure that consumer expertise champions are the important thing members of decision-making and empower them to dedicate sources to bettering the interface.”

Because the streaming panorama continuously modifications, focusing solely on content material acquisition won’t be sufficient to draw or retain subscribers. Platforms additionally have to prioritize consumer suggestions, which may assist them retain their subscribers in the long term.

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