Amazon's U.S. audience for Prime Video is reportedly around 26 million

Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos has been upfront about the company's use of entertainment to drive merchandise sales

Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos has been upfront about the company's use of entertainment to drive merchandise sales

The company's top television shows reportedly enticed more than 5 million people worldwide to become Amazon Prime shoppers by early 2017, based on internal documents reviewed by Reuters These same documents also show that the company reached about 26 million people in the USA across all Prime video content-which also features non-original programming. For example, Reuters reports that The Man in the High Castlehad 8 million United States viewers in early 2017, while bringing in "1.15 million new subscribers worldwide based on Amazon's accounting".

The documents compare metrics for 19 shows exclusive to Amazon: their cost, their viewership and the number of people they helped lure to Prime. The streaming/online retailer spends about $5 billion per year on its Prime Video content, and based on their returns, this kind of spending definitely seems justified.

That is far less than the $99 that subscribers pay in the United States for Prime; the company charges similar fees overseas. Crunching the numbers indicates that it cost Amazon just $63 per new Prime subscriber as a result of one original series. The show "Man in the High Castle" cost $72 million to produce and market.

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Considering that Prime costs $99 annually for USA residents and fairly similar pricing overseas, investors should be pleased with the new found information. It has ditched many smaller-scale shows, which were pointing in a different strategic direction. Of the 26 million people who watch Prime Video content, about one-quarter of them are there for the company's Prime Originals content.

For example, a highly-popular show like The Grand Tour attracted 1.5 million of these "first streams". Prime customers are known to spend significantly more money, as much as ten times more, and place orders more frequently than regular members.

Amazon ended 2017 with about 60 million Prime subscribers in the U.S. Netflix ended 2017 with 54.75 million U.S. subscribers. Although Transparent won an Emmy in 2016, the show has gone through major changes recently. At $1,560 per new customer, the decision to cancel any further production after the first season was swift. Amazon paid $250 million for the rights to a serial prequel to "The Lord of the Rings".

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