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Amazon Prime Video Streaming Hours Doubled in Fourth Quarter

28 Jan, 2016 By: Erik Gruenwedel

Prime memberships up 51% in 2015. E-commerce giant again reticent on actual sub numbers and content spending

Amazon Jan. 28 reported its Prime membership subscriber base grew 51% worldwide in 2015 from 2014. Prime Video, a free component of the $99 annual Prime subscription, ended Q4 with nearly double the streaming hours globally compared with the previous-year period.

Amazon did not reveal actual streaming hours or Prime subscriber data. Management, which last quarter said worldwide Prime subscribers numbered in the “tens of millions,” reiterated the standard boilerplate response to how Prime Video is faring.

“We’re very thrilled with the customer response to Prime Video. Again, [when] Prime Video is used by our Prime members, it drives adoption and retention, higher free-trial conversion rates and higher renewal rates for subscribers,” CFO Brian Olsavsky said on the company's fiscal call. 

Olsavsky said internationally, twice as many Prime members are are streaming than during the same period last year. Prime Video is available in the United Kingdom, Germany, Austria and Japan, while Amazon Prime is also available in Italy, India and South Korea.

“We are encouraged by the pickup and response of customers [to Prime Video],” he said.

As previously reported, Prime original series “Mozart in the Jungle” received two Golden Globes, for Best Television Series — Musical or Comedy and Best Performance by an Actor in a Television Series — Musical or Comedy (Gael García Bernal).

Over the holidays, Prime subs made “The Man in The High Castle” the most watched original series, up 450% over the previous top-streaming title.

The second season of original series “Transparent” was named as one of the top TV series of 2015 by The New York Times, Variety, IndieWire and The New Yorker.

Amazon Studios released its first original movie, Chi-Raq, directed by Spike Lee. The film was included in 2015 “Best Films” lists from LA Weekly, The New Yorker, The Washington Post, Los Angeles Times, Slant and Vulture. The film has generated $2.6 million at the domestic box office since its Dec. 4 debut. It will be available for streaming in February.

“So, very, very pleased with critical acclaim to the Amazon Studios content,” Olsavsky said.

Management said it remains pleased with the “streaming partners program,” an over-the-top video program that gives Prime members the option to add Showtime, Starz and related third-party streaming services to their Prime membership.

Finally, Amazon Q4 media sales, which include packaged-media and electronic sellthrough movies and TV shows, print and e-books, increased nearly 11% to $3.93 billion.

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