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Report: Prime Video Now Has More Paid U.S. Subscribers Than Netflix

David Satin

Long live the new king? That’s almost certainly the sentiment going around Prime Video’s corporate headquarters, thanks to news from market intelligence firm Parks Associates. Parks has released a new report which shows that Prime Video has surpassed Netflix’s paid subscriber total in the U.S. for the first time in history.

In fact, according to Parks, this is the first time that ANY streamer has passed Netflix in paid U.S. subscribers. Netflix is still the largest single streaming service in the world, with 223 million global users., but the platform has suffered a net loss of 1.8M customers in the U.S. and Canada in 2022, despite a gain of 104K in the third quarter. Netflix does not make its U.S.-only subscriber numbers public, but its current total for the U.S. and Canada is 73.39M subscribers.

Prime Video does not publicly report its subscriber numbers at all, but Parks clearly has some insight that is not available to the public regarding the platform’s paid U.S. users. The claim that Prime Video has taken the top spot from Netflix is too big for Parks to make without being absolutely sure of its data. However, one complicating issue in determining Prime Video subscribers is determining how many customers actually actively use the service, versus how many simply have access to it via their Amazon Prime membership.

Similar to difficulties counting the impact of the Disney Bundle, the full scope of Prime Video subscribers is nearly impossible to determine, but with Parks claiming that the Amazon streamer has taken the lead, that is a fairly sizeable accomplishment.

So how did Prime Video manage to nab the top spot? One of the biggest reasons is likely the fact that, starting in September 2022, the service became the exclusive home of the NFL’s “Thursday Night Football.” A leaked internal memo stated that Amazon saw more Prime sign-ups during the first “TNF” game of the season than it had on previous Prime Days, when subscriptions were offered at a substantial discount.

Prime Video has also taken big strides forward in its scripted TV and movie offerings this year. Amazon purchased MGM Studios in March, bringing 4,000 movies and 17,000 hours of TV to Prime Video. The platform also produced what is reported to be the most expensive TV show ever made in “The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power,” which was a record-breaker for Prime Video.

This information leads to the question of what Netflix can do to get back on top. The launch of its new ad-supported tier may lure back customers who left the service because of price increases that took place in January of 2022. Netflix may also see its paid subscriber numbers rise when it launches its crackdown on password sharing, which is due to take place in 2023.

“Streaming services are introducing new content, services, and partnerships that are changing how consumers interact with video,” Parks’ VP of research Jennifer Kent said. “Netflix’s ad-supported plan gives the company a way to win back subscribers who left over high subscription prices. It also gives Netflix a path to creating unique accounts for those who have been content to share passwords with friends and family in the past. It’s an exciting time to track these services, with lots of disruption and change.”

Netflix will clearly have to keep making changes if it wants to claim the most domestic paid subscribers once again. Prime Video, with its increasing sports offerings and buzzy shows like “Rings of Power,” is not going to make it easy for Netflix to reclaim the top spot.

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