Amazon now has more than 200 million Prime members worldwide, which means that Prime Video is one of the most widely available streaming services.
Outgoing Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos disclosed the new total in his latest letter to shareholders. Amazon said it had 150 million Prime members in January 2020. Consumer Intelligence Research Partners estimated that as of December 31, 2020, Amazon had 142 million Prime members in the U.S.
While the total doesn’t indicate how many Prime members are watching content in Prime Video, it does potentially put the service near the same level as Netflix, which ended the fourth quarter with nearly 204 million global paid streaming members. The company expects to add another 6 million during the first quarter of 2021.
Amazon’s reach into streaming video extends beyond just Prime Video. Its Fire TV devices and platform counts 50 million active users and Prime Video Channels for years has served as a unified storefront and access point for third-party streaming services including HBO, Paramount+, Starz, Cinemax and discovery+. The company also owns and operates IMDb TV, an ad-supported streaming service that’s helped Amazon’s AVOD audience reach top 55 million users.
Amazon’s immense streaming video market power has been wielded in negotiations with programmers and has led to standoffs over distribution agreements. HBO Max, AT&T’s subscription streaming service that launched in May 2020, took months to finally get a native app on Amazon Fire TV devices. According to the Wall Street Journal, AT&T told Amazon it wanted HBO Max on Fire TV devices but not on Prime Video Channels but Amazon it couldn’t have one without the other. AT&T reportedly extended its deal with Amazon Web Services to grease the wheels for HBO Max on Fire TV.
Peacock, NBCUniversal’s ad-supported streaming service, has been available nationwide for nine months but still does not have a native app on Fire TV. According to Vox, Amazon and NBCUniversal are at odds over who controls direct relationships with users and the valuable data they generate on the platform.