Report Reveals Amazon’s Internal Prime Video Data

Posted on March 15, 2018 by Paul Thurrott in Music + Videos with 18 Comments

Report Reveals Amazon's Internal Prime Video Data

An exclusive Reuters report has revealed how well Amazon’s Prime Video service is performing against Netflix, Hulu, and others. It’s a rare peek at a major player in an important digital market in which such data is typically kept secret.

Here’s what we learned, plus a few additional data points for context.

An audience of tens of millions. While Amazon has never released figures detailing the size of its audience, internal documents shows that about 26 million people regularly use its Prime Video service overall.

Digital video is paying off for Amazon. While many have questioned the escalating cost of the original content funded by firms like Amazon, Netflix, and Hulu, it’s paying off for the online retailer. Over 5 million new Prime customers came to the firm as a result of its video service by early 2017.

Amazon Originals are a big driver. Of the 26 million people who watch Prime Video content, about one-quarter of them are there for the company’s Prime Originals content. That’s the content that Amazon funds directly and provides exclusively.

Amazon Originals are expensive, too. Amazon spends about $5 billion per year on original and exclusively licensed content, Reuter says. By comparison, Netflix paid $6 billion on such content in 2017, and it could spend as much as $8 billion this year. Hulu spends $2.5 billion, while Apple’s budget is just $1 billion. (Look at me doing research.)

Deep dive: “Man in the High Castle”. The show “Man in the High Castle” cost $72 million to produce and market. It attracted over 1 million new Prime subscribers, and “Amazon calculated that the show drew new Prime members at an average cost of $63 per subscriber,” Reuters notes. But it had a total audience of 8 million viewers in the U.S. alone.

Deep dive: “The Grand Tour”. By comparison, the Amazon Originals show “The Grand Tour” only cost Amazon $49 per subscriber. It drew an audience of 1.5 million first streams.

Deep dive: “Transparent.” The Amazon Originals show “Transparent” is an industry darling, having won numerous awards and thus some free publicity for the service. But it lags in viewers: At its height, the show was only half as big as “Man in the High Castle” in the U.S. and it fell to 1.3 million viewers for its third season.

Deep dive: “Good Girls Revolt”. This other critically-acclaimed show hasn’t panned out for Amazon at all: It had 1.6 million viewers in the U.S. but cost $81 million to make and was only streamed 52,000 times by viewers who joined Prime specifically for new video content. “The program’s cost per new customer was about $1560, according to the documents,” Reuters notes. “Amazon canceled it after one season.”

Digital perks drive Prime adoption. While the Reuters report doesn’t provide specifics, it does say that the internal documents it viewed prove that Jeff Bezos’s stated goal for these digital services is working: It is driving more and more customers to adopt a Prime Membership, each of which is a nice annual subscription fee for Amazon to collect.

How many Prime subscribers? Amazon never divulges how many people subscribe to Prime, and the internal documents that Reuters saw do not provide a number, either. Instead, Reuters notes that “analysts” estimate that there are 75 million Prime subscribers worldwide, and that over half are outside the U.S.

How many Prime subscribers actually use Prime Video? Of those 75 million Prime members, about 26 million actually use Prime Video in the U.S. only, about half the number that uses Netflix in the U.S. Worldwide, Netflix has over 120 million subscribers, while Hulu has over 17 million.

“The Lord of the Rings” is coming. Amazon paid $250 million for the rights to a serial prequel to “The Lord of the Rings.” (I thought that’s what “The Hobbit” was. Anyway.) And it will spend at least another $500 million in production and marketing for its first two seasons, triple the cost of “Man in the High Castle.” So it would need to draw three times as many viewers to pay off. Something tells me it will work out just fine: “Man in the High Castle” isn’t exactly a high profile book or show, but Tolkien’s work exists on a much higher plane.

 

Tagged with ,

Join the discussion!

BECOME A THURROTT MEMBER:

Don't have a login but want to join the conversation? Become a Thurrott Premium or Basic User to participate

Register
Comments (19)

19 responses to “Report Reveals Amazon’s Internal Prime Video Data”

  1. red.radar

    Wow.... the grand tour only has an audience of 1.5million viewers ?


    figured it have more. That means the new top gear with Matt Leblanc has more viewership.


    I guess amazon isn’t penetrating foreign markets quite as well

    • Brad Sams

      In reply to red.radar:

      Reuters says "first streams" which i think this means this was the first show watched by 1.5 million people.

      • Markyjns

        In reply to brad-sams:

        That’s an interesting point, our household took up Amazon Prime specifically for The Grand Tour, that was the one and only reason we signed up. I’ve come to enjoy the rest of the services especially Prime’s free next day delivery or even same day in some cases but if / when the Grand Tour is cancelled so will our subscription.


        This is a long winded way of getting to my point which is, if your definition is correct of how Amazon is measuring the reason for joining i.e. ‘first stream’ is what counts, we signed up to get The Grand Tour but streamed a whole bunch of original content in that first week leading upto The Grand Tours debut on the Friday night.


        So our reason for joining will have been ‘awarded’ to something else!

    • wright_is

      In reply to red.radar:

      It is going seriously down hill. I watched the first season and there were a couple of good bits, which kept me watching, in the hope that there would be more, but they were belabouring the point in several places (the "video game" style hostage rescue, it was about 10 minutes longer than it needed to be, we got the point quickly and it became utterly boring long before the end of the segment.

      I've only watched a couple of episodes from the 2nd season, but it feels like they are really of their game.

    • jrickel96

      In reply to red.radar:

      Top Gear's total viewership, even with LeBlanc at the helm, is much larger. While streaming forms are continuing the emerge, the BBC is still the largest player in television globally. The BBC's audience is near 400 million globally and continues to grow. Those aren't just potential viewers, those are actual eyeballs on the screen each week. Quite a bit of it is for BBC World News.

  2. Nicholas Kathrein

    I've been watching a lot of Amazon Prime video ever since I got my 4k hdr tv because they are one of the only games in town if you don't want to spend like 15$ to $20 per show/movie you watch. All the new stuff is at least 4k and some is 4k hdr. It's astounding how beautiful it all is and the shows are great as well.

    • Stooks

      In reply to Nicholas_Kathrein:

      I do believe that Neflix has more 4k content and started streaming it before Amazon. Also Apple is pushing lots of 4K these days as well if you have their 4K Apple TV, which I think is the overall "Best" streaming box right now, in terms of power/features and app coverage.

      • Nicholas Kathrein

        In reply to Stooks:

        As I already have Amazon prime for the 2day shipping Amazon Prime tv is free as I look at it so I can watch quite a bit of original 4k and 4k hdr shows that I'd have to pay another 10 to 12 for Netflix. Also I disagree with Apple having the best streaming box. I'd go with the Nvidia Shield TV with Android TV. Apple might have more total apps but Android TV has all the services minus itunes which is fine with me. You can run things like Kodi which is why the Shield is better.

  3. Tony Barrett

    One really, really annoying thing I noticed about Amazon lately in their drive to get people to sign up to Prime (I'm not a Prime member, but regularly shop online). I have items I'd bought without problem, some very recently. In the last few weeks these items are now showing as 'Reserved for Prime members only'. So, they're in stock, the price is ok, but I can't buy them because I don't subscribe to Prime! I'll just take my custom elsewhere.

  4. lvthunder

    I wonder what kind of bump they got when they put the app on Apple TV. That's when I started watching stuff on Amazon.

    • jrickel96

      In reply to lvthunder:

      That would be interesting, but I'm sure they don't want that number to get out or Apple doesn't. If it's an impressive number then it would just strengthen Apple's position but make Amazon look more dependent on Apple. The opposite way would hit Apple, though probably not that significantly.



  5. ben55124

    How about Deep dive: "Kid Shows"? That's the biggest use for my household. Kid shows go great with $50 kindle fire tablets.

  6. Sherlitt


    Don’t squander your time attempting to profit through forex. Because there’s great opportunity and truly you can profit here. Just Google the site Emini S&P Trading Secret and you will see what you’ve been looking for.

  7. Trickyd

    Interesting, as a long time UK Prime subscriber (for the free delivery) the video stuff is a bonus , I mainly watch films on it of which there is quite a good collection (better than Netflix in my opinion) and apart from the brilliant Comrade Detective the Grand Tour is the only amazon original show I've watched - I like the 4K support. But for 'tv' shows I find the BBC (BBC4 in particular) iPlayer and Channel 4's All4 streaming have vastly better and less mainstream content and I watch those far more.


    that is disappointing that they've bought more Lord of the Rings - I couldn't be more underwhelmed at that news having successfully avoided the other 57 episodes!

Leave a Reply