April 30, 2020
With schools shuttered and millions of families housebound due to the coronavirus pandemic, Amazon in March made thousands of hours of content available for free on Prime Video without requiring a Prime membership. Amazon has more than 112 million Prime members worldwide.
That promotion, among others, contributed to Prime Video doubling its first-time user base in the first quarter — a trend that included transactional VOD movies and third-party over-the-top video access through Amazon Channels.
Speaking on the April 29 fiscal call, CFO Brian Olsavsky said Amazon hoped the offer of free content, including ad-supported IMDb TV, would highlight the video aspects of the Prime membership to existing users and casual browsers.
“We are seeing a lot more use of our video and digital media benefits,” Olsavsky said, adding that increased numbers of consumers are also benefiting from Amazon’s Alexa voice-activated software in its CE products.
“They’re asking questions specific to COVID-19, using it for education for their children, and we’re seeing a lot more of it used on the communication side,” he said. “It gives people and members a good opportunity to use all their Prime benefits [including music streaming and books], which they hadn’t used as much in the past.”