Amazon is cracking down on Prime account sharing.
The retailer’s Prime service has become a growing focus for the company in recent years, with a nationwide advertising campaign designed to encourage sign-ups to the scheme. An annual membership costs £79, including free next-day UK delivery, Prime Instant Video, a Kindle lending library and – most recently introduced – Prime Music.
The digital media subscription packages have been increasingly diversified over time, from eBooks and TV and films to music. While each are available separately – Prime Instant Video costs £5.99 a month solo – they are designed to add value to the overall Prime account, which, thanks to the free delivery, often boosts spending on Amazon products.
Amazon, though, has come up against the same problem as Netflix and other subscription services: account sharing.
Research this year by Parks Associates found that 11 per cent of US households share accounts on SVOD services, with 8 per cent using an account held by someone else outside of their home. 5 per cent of Amazon Prime customers share accounts.
As a result, Amazon is losing out on potential revenue from multiple subscribers instead of workmates or friends pooling together for one collective account. It may be a relatively small proportion of its income, but the retailer has already taken action, introducing new limits on account sharing. As of the start of this month, an “Amazon Household” can contain up to six members: two adults, each with their own Amazon account, and up to four children, who don’t need Amazon accounts in order to be a part of the household.
Free trial or paid Amazon Prime members can share certain Amazon Prime benefits with one other adult by forming an “Amazon Household”. The following benefits can be shared between two adult household members: Amazon Prime Delivery Benefits, Prime Instant Video (streaming only) and Kindle Owners’ Lending Library.
“To share content and Amazon Prime benefits, both adult account holders need to authorise each other to use payment cards associated with their Amazon accounts for purchases at Amazon,” explains the retailer.
Amazon Student Prime members (free trial or paid) or invited guests of other Prime members can’t share their benefits, but other types of Amazon Prime members can share eligible benefits with those types of members.
Amazon, though, is not as badly affected as Netflix, which currently sees 11 per cent of its subscribers share accounts with others who do not pay the monthly fee. Netflix has taken its own measures by upping the prices for those hoping to stream on multiple screens at the same time: for two simultaneous streams, a number you could expect from a typical household, it costs £7.49 a month. For four simultaneous streams, a number more associated with larger households, perhaps belonging to students, or those sharing accounts with other people outside of their home address, it costs £8.99 a month.