It looks like Amazon’s investment in streaming video is really starting to pay off. According to Amazon CFO Brian Olsavsky, the number of hours people watched Amazon Video content increased dramatically – doubling from 2015.
Specific numbers weren’t revealed, but during an annual earnings call, Olsavsky said, “One of the main things we look out on Prime Video is customer usage patterns and in 2016 we had a doubling of Prime hours for video, music and reading. So we’re happy with the engagement that customers have.”
2016 was a fairly groundbreaking year for Amazon Studios. They rolled out Prime Video to more than 200 countries in 2016, making huge gains specifically in India. The company debuted Amazon.in, which has it own original series studio featuring some of the biggest filmmakers and movie stars in the world.
Critics took notice of Amazon’s new work as well, giving Amazon Studios seven Oscar nominations and two Golden Globe wins (Casey Affleck for best actor in the drama category (Manchester by the Sea) and Billy Bob Thornton for best actor in a TV drama (Goliath). Add in the fact that the debut episode of Amazon’s original The Grand Tour was the single biggest premiere ever for a Prime Video, and it was a good year all around.
Of course, all of that come with a cost. “The investment did step up in the second half of lat year, including marketing,” Olsavsky said, “and that will continue in 2017 and beyond,” 2016 was a breakout year for Amazon, and they’re showing no signs of slowing down.
Amazon’s “Instant Video” feature is available to all Amazon Prime customers at no additional charge. Prime itself only costs $99 a year, meaning the video feature alone is right in line with the pricing of streaming services like Netflix and Hulu. But with Prime, you get free two-day shipping on most Amazon purchases, free cloud photo storage, plus a number of other great features.