Amazon Prime touches down in Canada

Faith Merino · January 8, 2013 · Short URL:

The bad news: it doesn't include Prime Instant Video

It’s a good day for Canada. Our neighbor to the North will now be able to get free two-day shipping on Amazon orders for $79 CAD a year. Amazon announced Tuesday that it’s bringing its Prime service to our neighbors to the North, which means that Canadian users can now get unlimited free two-day shipping for a yearly fee. There’s a caveat, though: the new Canadian Prime subscription doesn’t include Prime Instant Video.

“We are proud to bring Amazon Prime to Canada,” said Steve Oliver, country manager for  “Amazon Prime offers its members the convenience of fast, free shipping on millions of eligible items, whether the order is for a single DVD or a kitchen mixer.  There is no minimum purchase amount and no need to consolidate orders, so Canadians from coast-to-coast can enjoy a simpler, faster shopping experience."

It’s true—there really is no minimum purchase requirement. I ordered a $7 baby toothbrush through my Prime subscription a couple of weeks ago.

Amazon couldn’t be reached for comment, but a cursory glance at the site reveals that the new Canadian Prime service doesn’t, in fact, come with Prime Instant Video. Nor does the Canadian site doesn’t have Amazon’s full priced Instant Video service. Amazon’s acquisition of LoveFilm for $317 million back in January 2011 gave it an entry point into the European digital video market, where it now reaches over two million users throughout the UK, Denmark, Norway, Sweden, and Germany.

So, while Americans, Brits, Norwegians, Germans, Swedes, and Danes all get some kind of Instant Video Streaming option, Canada remains out of the loop. It’s a shame too, since Amazon has really been beefing up its Prime Instant Video offerings with a number of new releases like Tin Tin and Hugo, as well as a bevy of newly added TV episodes. Last week, Amazon announced a deal with A&E Networks that will add a bunch of new shows from A&E, Lifetime, Bio, and History to Prime.

2012 was a big year for Amazon Prime. In August, the company struck a deal with NBCUniversal Cable and New Media Distribution to add a bunch of new TV shows to the line-up, including past seasons of Parks and Recreation, Parenthood, Friday Night Lights, Heroes, Battlestar Galactica, and more. Prior to that, it inked a deal with ESPN to bring premium ESPN content to Prime, including the 30 for 30 series of sports docs, such as Pony Express, Winning Time, and Ice Cube’s Straight Outta L.A.

Its biggest deal ever came in March, when Amazon made a deal with Discovery Communications to bring 3,000 new titles to Prime’s selection. Some of the titles included Discovery Channel’s Dirty Jobs, TLC’s Say Yes To The Dress and Animal Planet’s Whale Wars, Cake Boss, Mythbusters. And—of course—Shark Week. 

But Canada still has cause to celebrate. As Jeff Bezos humbly put it last year: “Amazon Prime is now the best bargain in the history of shopping.”



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