Amazon Prime has more than 100 million members worldwide
James R | On 20, Apr 2018
Amazon Prime membership has officially broken the 100 million barrier this year.
Amazon has traditionally kept quiet about the size of its premium membership service, which includes free next-day delivery on many items, as well access to add-on services, such as Prime Music (a Spotify rival). This week, though, CEO Jeff Bezos confirmed the number in a letter to shareholders summing up the firm’s performance in the last year.
“13 years post-launch, we have exceeded 100 million paid Prime members globally,” he wrote. “In 2017 Amazon shipped more than five billion items with Prime worldwide, and more new members joined Prime than in any previous year – both worldwide and in the US.”
Amazon’s Prime service has expanded in the last 12 months to Mexico, Singapore, the Netherlands, and Luxembourg. Its growing global reach is partly fuelled by Amazon Prime Video, the streaming service that Prime members have included in their membership. Prime Video is available on a month-by-month basis too, with or without the postal perks and the other full Prime membership benefits, but it is also used by Amazon as a key driver of Prime member adoption and retention. You can read more about how they measure that, and their viewing figures, here.
The exact number of viewers, or even Prime members who use Prime Video, is still a closely guarded secret, but Amazon has divulged some stats from its last 12 months. Bezos specifically referred to Amazon’s new deal with the NFL for Thursday Night Football games, with more than 18 million total viewers tuning in across the 11 games.
Amazon’s scripted TV and film ambitions are only growing bigger, with upcoming projects including a Tom Clancy reboot 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, executive produced by Sam Esmail and starring Julia Roberts in her first TV series. Amazon has also acquired the global television 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,” wrote Bezos.
Amazon also recently launched Amazon Prime Video Direct, a platform that allows independent filmmakers to release their movies directly on to Amazon Prime Video. In 2017, Prime Video Direct secured subscription video rights for more than 3,000 feature films and committed over $18 million in royalties to filmmakers and other rights holders.
Amazon may not tell us more than that, but Bezos is clearly pleased with performance. Indeed, with Prime members tending to spend a third more than non-Prime members on Amazon purchases, the knock-on effect of Prime Video’s success can be seen, to some degree, in the purchase of Amazon’s streaming device, the Fire TV Stick. That joined the Alexa voice-controlled Echo Dot in being the best-selling products across all of Amazon in 2017 – across all categories and all manufacturers. Customers bought twice as many Fire TV Sticks in the 2017 holiday season versus the previous year. Prime Day 2017 – an exclusive day of discounts for Prime members – was also Amazon’s biggest global shopping event ever (until surpassed by Cyber Monday), with more new Prime members joining Prime that day than any other day in its history.