Amazon's 100M Prime Subscribers are Big for Streaming Content

20 April, 2018, 01:18 | Author: Sheri Evans
  • Amazon's Jeff Bezos

Amazon.com (AMZN) shares climbed more than 1% Thursday after CEO Jeff Bezos disclosed Prime subscription numbers for the first time-and they dwarfed even the loftiest Street and analyst estimates. Costco (COST) claimed 90.3 million card-carrying members as of the end of its most recent fiscal year, though many of those were multiple members paying through the same account, as paid subscriptions were disclosed as 49.4 million.

"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 U.S", Bezos said in his annual letter to shareholders, which was published Wednesday. However, he didn't reveal how many have already subscribed to Amazon Music but stated the figure stands at tens of millions at the moment. Since then, Amazon has introduced other perks, like free two-hour delivery on certain items and access to Prime Video, the company's own streaming service.

"You can not rest on your laurels in this world", he wrote.

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The rest of Bezos' letter focused on Amazon's efforts to live up to the rising expectations of its customers by maintaining high standards.

"People are pretty good at learning high standards simply through exposure", he said.

In 2017, Amazon celebrated the 10-year anniversary of Frustration-Free Packaging, the first of several sustainable packaging initiatives that have eliminated more than 244,000 tons of packaging materials over the past 10 years.

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In his letter, Bezos did more than touch on Prime. They're investing instead in Bezos's ability to push into new markets and find fresh sources of revenue, which jumped 31 per cent past year to US$178 billion. And the company is betting the Alexa voice-activated platform will become the next wave of interactions between people and devices, supplementing the computer mouse and touch-screen interfaces.

The staggering growth of Prime underscores its value as a "golden jewel" for Amazon in cross-selling around its Whole Foods Market customers and creating a competitive moat around its Prime customer base to fend off rivals such as Walmart (WMT) and Target (TGT).

The data was listed in Amazon's annual proxy statement filed with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, which also featured pay for top executives including Bezos who received $1.68 million in compensation for 2017. That would come out to about the same as last year's median pay.

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