On Day 10 of the US Open, Amazon, which holds exclusive streaming rights for the UK coverage of the action at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Centre in Flushing Meadows, New York, have finally got in touch with their Prime customers to provide access links to its service.
The email received this morning states:
We understand that some customers have been unable to find replays of US Open matches. These can be found here each day:
The live feeds from all five courts, which will give full coverage of the tournament this week, are available here.
If you experience any issues while watching US Open, visit our troubleshooting steps in our help pages.
With criticism continuing over the quality and ease of watching Amazon’s groundbreaking coverage of the US Open, and only five days left of play, the gesture will be viewed as too little, too late.
The plethora of complaints about the live action on Prime Video, has ranged from picture and sound quality, to camera angles, ease of navigation around the service, restricted match choice, and the short duration of highlights.
User feedback on Amazon’s own website has been critical, giving its coverage from Flushing Meadows just one-and-a-half stars out of five, and concluding the move to Prime Video for tennis fans in the UK is a backward step.
After spending a reported $40m (£31m) to secure the tournament rights, the US online retail giant will need to sell a lot of Prime subscriptions, which cost £79 per annum in the UK, to recoup its outlay.
The apparent lack of full match replays became a bone of contention that has now seemingly been rectified, but accessing the right link from the Prime Video home page is fraught with difficulty, depending on the device being viewed, as captioning has been poor.
The use of a blue icon for live play and a yellow one for recorded material has not been particularly helpful in navigating to the match wanted, particularly as the screen has been filling up with a mass of these as the US Open progresses, which are poorly captioned.
Amazon hope to draw viewers away from traditional television, wrenching the rights from Sky and Eurosport in what the company sees as a landmark event.
That we, the consumers, must get used to this new world is clear on the day that Amazon became the second trillion-dollar company behind Apple.
By streaming live action from a major global sporting event, Amazon’s ‘over-the-top’ (OTT) offering, selling directly to consumers via the internet and bypassing traditional telecommunications, cable or broadcast television service providers, is only the first of many such initiatives.
Over the past few years, online platforms have invested heavily in content as they battle with those more-established formats for supremacy and customer viewing.
Amazon has been among the most aggressive as it seeks to grow its subscriber base but has, until now, mainly focused on comedy, drama and film.
The firm made its UK sporting debut this summer, when it provided live coverage of the pre-Wimbledon Queen’s tennis tournament in London.
Gatecrashing the tennis world has seen it also go for year-round content, after it secured ATP men’s global tour rights for four years at a reported cost of £50m.
It means Amazon Prime members in the UK and Republic of Ireland will have access to 37 ATP World Tour events.
After months of speculation Amazon announced it would bid for top flight Premier League football rights in England and, in June, a deal was announced that Prime Video is to livestream exclusive coverage of 20 matches a season online.
That the online giant has been experiencing teething problems with the US Open coverage was to be expected as OTT platforms are groundbreaking technologies.
Amazon’s coverage of the ATP men’s tennis circuit begins in January next year and runs until the end of 2023.
It could be that providing a service covering the US Open came too early for producers, and new features will be added down the line.
Certainly Prime will need to have smoothed out its many problems to provide a better service if it is to keep its existing customer base, let alone attract more viewers.
For those wanting to watch the climax of the US Open, you can currently watch it on Amazon Prime on a range of devices, through your TV, and on hand held devices such as iPad’s and tablets.
At home you can stream Amazon Prime Video to your TV, through hundreds of compatible HDTVs, Blu-ray players, set-top boxes, gaming consoles, Amazon Fire TV and Smart TV’s.
You can also watch Prime on your computer, just connect to the Internet and go online to Amazon Video Store to stream thousands of titles, you can will soon be able to stream Amazon Video on your Apple TV box too.
Alternatively you can download the Amazon Prime Video app from the Apple or Google Play store, to watch on any compatible device .
You can pay for just ‘Prime Video’ subscription, which costs £5.99 a month or, if you want some of the other services Amazon Prime offers, pay £7.99 a month or £79 annually.
With the full Amazon Prime package you’ll also get free one-hour delivery, unlimited music streaming and access to Amazon’s exclusive Prime Day shopping event among a long list of perks.
As with most streaming services there is also a 30 day trial option available if you are not ready to commit just yet – simply sign up to Amazon Prime Video on the Amazon website, opting for the 30-day trial and instantly download or stream any of the TV shows and films available via your computer or Amazon app.
Don’t forget to set a reminder to cancel before the subscription ends, though, as you will be charged the monthly or annual fee when the trial date ends.