Purposeful Films

Amazon Prime Original Series: Budgets, Viewership Numbers, and More Statistics Revealed

“The Man in the High Castle’s” first two seasons cost $179 million and fetched 2.44 million Prime subscribers.

Usually, streaming platforms don’t reveal the number of people binge-watching their shows and movies. There are no traditional ratings for Amazon, Netflix, and Hulu like for traditional TV networks.

However, a fresh Reuters report sheds light on Amazon’s numbers. The internal document obtained reveals that 26 million people approximately have tuned into its video catalog. Additionally, its TV series has fetched 5 million new Prime subscribers as of early 2017.

The internal documents evaluate metrics which have not been reported ever for nineteen shows that were exclusive to Amazon. It estimates their cost, viewership and the total viewers they helped lure to Prime.

Amazon’s core strategy is using video to convert viewers into shoppers. Fans get admittance to Amazon’s lineup by joining Prime. It is a club that comprises a two-day package delivery and other perks, for a yearly fee.

Though the company has nothing to say on the documents seen by Reuters, Jeff Bezos, the Chief Executive was open about the company’s use of entertainment to drive merchandise sales.

According to sources, videos have become one of Amazon’s biggest expenses at $5 billion annually for original and licensed content. Never before has the company revealed the number of subscribers it won as a result. It made it hard for investors to estimate its programming decisions.

The documents seen by Reuters disclose what the company considers to be the strategy’s financial logic. It also gives an idea why the company is now making more commercial projects apart from high-brow shows targeted at winning awards.

The Man in the High Castle: Budget and Viewers

As per the documents obtained by Reuters, the first season of “The Man in the High Castle,” had brought in 8 million viewers in the U.S. by early 2017 and garnered a total of 1.15 million new Prime subscribers worldwide.

Since the show had to spend $72 million for marketing and producing, suggestively, as per Amazon’s calculations, it fetched new Prime members at an average of $63 per subscriber. The second season, an alternate history drama that depicted Germany as the victor of the Second World War was even pricier and cost $107 million. However, it did not yield as the first season and fetched only $829 per subscriber.

More Expensive Shows on Amazon

The Man in the High Castle” is not the only Amazon expensive show.  “Sneaky Pete’s” first season cost $93 million; “Bosch’s” first two seasons cost $47 million and $53 million, respectively; “Goliath’s” season one cost $82 million; “Mozart in the Jungle’s” second season cost $37 million; and “Good Girls Revolt” cost $81 million which gathered only 52,000 first streams and lead to its cancelation.

Amazon’s flagship show has been “Transparent” since its inception. However, the family drama’s critical acclaim and the slew of awards haven’t resulted in high viewership numbers. Reportedly, its first season drew 4 million viewers, whereas its third go-round only fetched 1.3 million.


How TV Shows are rated by Amazon

The internal documents of the company show that Amazon evaluates TV shows by the price to hook a customer on Prime. The company divides the show’s expenses of marketing and production by the total number of people who stream the program first after their signup; the lower the number the better for the company.

However, a person familiar with Amazon’s strategy stated it credits a particular show for enticing someone to begin or extend a Prime subscription in case that program happens to be the first one a customer streams upon his signup. This metric is referred to as the “first stream.”

Amazon then works out how expensive the viewer was to obtain by dividing the cost of the show by the number of first streams it had.

The internal documents do not reveal the length of time the subscribers stayed with Prime. It also does not show how much shopping they do on Amazon. As a result, the documents are not enough to decide the overall productivity of Amazon’s Hollywood venture.

What can be drawn from the Figures?

The figures point out that broad-interest shows can attract Prime members cheaply through Amazon’s calculations. Among the big winners include “The Grand Tour,” the motoring series that stars the previous presenters of “Top Gear.” The show garnered over 1.5 million first streams from Prime members across the world. In its first season, it costs $49 per subscriber.

The documents reflect Prime subscribers across the U.S., U.K., Austria, Germany, and Japan. Amazon’s programs that were accessible before Prime Video rolled out in December 2016 internationally.

As per the estimate made by the analysts, 75 million or even more customers have subscriptions to Prime across the globe. And it includes about half of all households in the U.S.  At Purposeful Films we want to produce work to sell into Amazon Studios. Do you have these goals?

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