Jeff Bezos has finally blown the lid on a longstanding mystery, by revealing to shareholders in a letter yesterday that Amazon has exceeded 100 million paid Prime members globally — 13 years after the program’s launch.
Until then, it had been a mystery how many people subscribe to Prime — which offers two-day shipping on all Amazon purchases and also furnishes access to the Amazon Video library, among other perks. Bezos wrote that “Prime Video continues to drive Prime member adoption and retention,” citing critically-acclaimed originals like The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel and The Big Sick. And in 2017, he said that Prime secured the rights to 3,000 films and paid indie filmmakers $18 million through its Amazon Video Direct program.
Looking ahead, Bezos pointed to a promising slate of original series premiering this year, including: Jack Ryan, based on the Tom Clancy novels and starring John Krasinski; a King Lear adaptation with Anthony Hopkins and Emma Thompson; The Romanoffs; a series called Carnival Row with Orlando Bloom and Cara Delevingne; Jon Hamm’s Good Omens; and Julia Roberts’ television debut, Homecoming. He also said that the company will begin work this year on its pricey Lord Of The Rings series as well as a Steven Spielberg-produced miniseries called Cortes.
Prime is priced at $12.99 monthly or $99 for an annual subscription. While more people signed up for Prime last year than in any previous year, Bezos noted, the company still counts less paying subscribers than competitor Netflix, which last reported 125 million subscribers globally.