Amazon’s streaming video service, Prime Video, no longer lets customers buy or rent digital content directly on its Android app – due to an upcoming change in Google’s rules.
Until recently, viewers who wanted to purchase video on demand titles on the Prime Video app, such as films and TV shows, could do so directly on their Android phones or tablets.
But starting May 2 in the UK (and gradually rolling out around the world), users can no longer pay for the content directly inside the app – and will instead have to go to Amazon’s website, buy the content there, and return to the app (or use a workaround – see below).
The first to notice the change, in Germany, was tech site CASCHYS BLOG. Amazon later confirmed to us that this is now true for the UK as well (see their full response below).
The reason for this move, most likely, is an upcoming change of the rules from Google – the company behind Android.
Normally, apps that offer in-app purchases need to pay Google a percentage of every digital purchase done via Google’s payment system on Android.
For a long time, digital stores like Amazon’s Prime Video, Audible and Kindle were able to use an alternative billing system, and thus skip the cut they otherwise had to pay Google.
But starting June 1, Android apps that use payment systems other than Google’s will be removed from the official Android Play Store.
Therefore, Prime Video had three choices – move to Google’s billing system and start paying 10%-30% out of every purchase, remove the app entirely from Google’s Play Store, or remove the option to use in-app purchasing inside the app.
The ability to purchase directly has also been removed from the Audible Android app, and the Kindle store (both also owned by Amazon).
The removal of the direct Prime Video purchasing option is also expected to happen on Android TV and Google TV devices – such as the Humax Aura and the Google Chromecast with Google TV.
Buying Prime Video Content On Android – The Workaround
Amazon’s Prime Video has two types of content: subscription-based content that Prime Video members get at no extra cost, and video-on-demand content that users can either buy or rent.
In addition, the platform includes Prime Video Channels – an add-on that lets you subscribe to full 3rd party channels with their own content library, such as BritBox, Discovery+ and PremierSports.
At this point, Android users can no longer directly buy, rent – or subscribe to channels, and are instead directed to Amazon’s website (which they will need to go to on their phone – or computer’s – browser).
There’s another option, though – which is to use the Prime Video app from Amazon’s own App Store for Android.
Amazon’s alternative app store is a bit of a hassle to install for the first time on your smartphone, as you need to go to your phone’s Security Settings and allow app installations from “Unknown Sources” (Keep in mind that generally speaking, it is ill -advised to install apps from sources other than the Google Play store – so don’t forget to turn this option back off when you’re done).
Then you need to download the installation APK file from Amazon and install the store. At that point, you will be able to install apps directly from Amazon’s own app store – including the Prime Video appwhich will have the ability to directly purchase content still intact.
If this is too much work for you – the easiest option would be to go to Amazon’s website each time you want to purchase content – and then have it wait for you, to watch, on the regular Prime Video Android app.
“Starting May 2, Android mobile and tablet device users can only buy, rent, or subscribe to Prime Video content by visiting the prime video website on your mobile or via the Prime Video app on other supported devices, including most smart TVs, games consoles, streaming media players and non-Android mobile or tablet devices.
“Content or subscriptions purchased via the website and/or another supported device will continue to be playable in the Prime Video Android app.”