Amazon's tablet strategy pays off as 3M new Prime subscribers come aboard

Call it the year of the tablet: Amazon's (NASDAQ: AMZN) push to get as many of its devices into the hands of consumers, particularly over the holidays, appears to have paid off as the retail giant reported that it signed up more than 3 million new Prime members in the third week of December and doubled holiday sales of its streaming capable devices.

Amazon's new Fire tablet was the top-selling device during the holiday, while its Fire TV Stick was the third-most sold streaming device. The ranking reflected Amazon's push to sign up new customers via its lower-end, $50 tablet, which includes a 30-day trial membership to Prime and is likely a key source of many of those 3 million new subs.

Viewing hours on Prime Video doubled compared to the same period last year, according to Amazon founder and CEO Jeff Bezos. The top-streamed movie during the season, according to a corporate release, was The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part I; the top-streamed original series was the alternate-reality thriller The Man In The High Castle.

On the surface, Amazon's sales stats for December, including its streaming device shipments, are impressive. The company may have helped boost those sales by banning sales of competing devices, like Chromecast and Apple TV, from its retail website earlier this year.

But how much the holiday blowout will impact its bottom line remains to be seen. Many of those millions of new subscribers may opt out of Prime membership at the end of their trial period. And the Seattle-based company didn't give specific dollar amounts on its sales over the holiday, and it tends to cherrypick the figures it releases publicly ahead of its quarterly reports. The company will release its fourth-quarter earnings later in January.

For more:
- see the release
- see this WSJ article

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