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>> Secret numbers from inside Amazon show that the company's top television shows are drawing tons of people to sign up for its shopping club, Prime. I'm Reuters Jeffrey Dastin in San Francisco. Internal Amazon documents that we've seen with numbers that have never been reported before show that more than 5 million people started or extended a Prime subscription to watch 19 Amazon original shows from late 2014, to early 2017.
That's as much as a quarter of the Prime sign ups in this period based on annual assessments. Prime is the cornerstone of Amazon's business. But the company has never provided evidence as to why spending $5 billion per year as it is on video according to sources, actually drives more shopping.
These documents help clear the uncertainty. For instance, one of its most popular shows called The Man on a High Castle, which is about an alternate reality when Germany and Japan won the second world war, had 7.9 million viewers in the United States as well as signed up 1.2 million Prime members worldwide.
The company gives credit to a TV show for luring or keeping a subscriber. If it is the first one they stream and it calls this metric First Streams. Amazon was able to say that The Man in the High Castle basically brought on new Prime members for an average of $63 per Prime member.
And so that gives you a picture of how lucrative these shows can be, because Prime members in the United States pay $99 per year for Prime. That's why you see Amazon pivoting to make more commercial projects that it thinks will attract audiences around the world. And why it offered $250 million for the rights alone to make a prequel series to The Lord of the Rings.
These projects may well be worth the money, as chief executive Jeff Bezos said in 2016, when we win a Golden Globe it helps us sell more shoes.