April 18, 2018
Amazon April 18 announced for the first time (in a shareholder letter) it has exceeded 100 million Prime members globally since launching the $99 annual membership loyalty platform with free two-day shipping 13 years ago.
Prime membership includes free access to Prime Video, Prime Photo, Twitch Prime (video games), Prime Now deliveries and Prime Music, among other services.
The tally comes two days after Prime Video rival Netflix said it ended the first quarter (March 31) with 125 million subscribers worldwide.
In the letter, founder/CEO Jeff Bezos said Amazon turns 20 years-old in 2018, employing more than 560,000 people. Bezos reiterated that Prime Video continues to drive Prime member adoption and retention.
As a result, Amazon Studios significantly upped original content in 2017, including “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel,” winner of two Critics’ Choice Awards and two Golden Globes, and the Oscar-nominated movie The Big Sick.
“We’ve expanded our slate of programming across the globe, launching new seasons of LA cop drama “Bosch” and grifter drama “Sneaky Pete,” starring Giovanni Ribisi from the U.S., “The Grand Tour” from the U.K., and first original German series, “You Are Wanted,” while adding new “Sentosha” shows from Japan, along with “Breathe” and the award-winning “Inside Edge” from India,” Bezos wrote.
Amazon also expanded third-party over-the-top video platform – Prime Channels – adding CBS All Access in the U.S. and launching Prime Channels in the U.K. and Germany.
“We debuted “NFL Thursday Night Football” on Prime Video, with more than 18 million total viewers over 11 games. In 2017, Prime Video Direct secured subscription video rights for more than 3,000 feature films and committed over $18 million in royalties to independent filmmakers and other rights holders,” wrote Bezos.
The executive said Amazon Studios is looking forward to upcoming Prime Original series pipeline, which includes “Tom Clancy’s Jack Ryan,” starring John Krasinski; “King Lear,” starring Anthony Hopkins and Emma Thompson; “The Romanoffs,” executive produced by Matt Weiner; “Carnival Row,” starring Orlando Bloom and Cara Delevingne; “Good Omens,” starring Jon Hamm; and “Homecoming,” featuring Julia Roberts in her first television series.
As previously reported, Amazon acquired the global TV rights for a multi-season production of “The Lord of the Rings,” as well as “Cortés,” a miniseries based on the epic saga of Hernán Cortés from executive producer Steven Spielberg, starring Javier Bardem.
“We look forward to beginning work on those shows this year,” Bezos said.