Amazon's U.S. audience for all movie and TV show programming on Amazon Prime Video was about 26 million customers in early 2017, according to company documents seen by Reuters.
Amazon Prime Video is provided as a benefit to Amazon Prime members who subscribe to Amazon's $99 per year Prime service, and features thousands of TV shows and movies, along with original content produced by Amazon.
Amazon has never revealed figures for its total Prime Video audience, but the documents provide an insight into the success of Amazon's successful original programming strategy, which involves producing content to entice consumers into Prime membership and boost merchandise sales.
For example, the documents cover late 2014 to early 2017 and compare metrics for 19 shows exclusive to Amazon, including cost, viewership and the number of people they helped lure to Prime. Known as Prime Originals, the shows account for around a quarter of what analysts believe to be total Prime sign-ups over the same period.
Video has grown to be one of Amazon’s biggest expenditures at $5 billion per year for original and licensed content, two people familiar with the matter said. The company has never disclosed how many subscribers it won as a result, making it hard for investors to evaluate its programming decisions.
The internal documents show what Amazon considers to be the financial logic of its strategy, and why the company is now making more commercial projects in addition to high-brow shows aimed at winning awards, the people said.
According to the documents, season one of alternate history drama "The Man in the High Castle", which is based on Philip K Dick novel, had 8 million U.S. viewers as of early 2017. The program cost $72 million in production and marketing, and attracted 1.15 million new subscribers worldwide.
Amazon's accounting reveals that the show drew new Prime members at an average cost of $63 per subscriber. A Prime subscription costs $99, while Prime members often go on to buy more goods from Amazon than other consumers. The documents also reveal that Amazon drew over 5 million people globally into its Prime subscription membership by the beginning of the 2017.
Apple announced Amazon Prime for Apple TV last summer, but owners of the set-top box had to wait six months for the service to eventually drop. Amazon Prime Video supports Apple's centralized TV app, meaning users can use Siri Universal Search to find Amazon Prime Video content, and add it to their "Up Next" queue of shows and movies.