amazon instant video

Amazon is touting a study finding that the number of streams delivered for its Prime Instant Video service nearly tripled year over year — and now surpasses Apple and Hulu in streaming-video usage.

But Amazon remains far behind Netflix, the leader in subscription video-on-demand market, while Google’s YouTube also delivers more video views than the Internet retailer does.

SEE ALSO: Netflix Video Usage More Than 10 Times Amazon and Hulu Combined

Amazon cited a report from Qwilt, a provider of online-video delivery and caching solutions, which found Amazon as of March 2014 streams more video than Hulu or Apple, jumping over those two services since March 2013. Netflix remains the No. 1 streamer, followed by YouTube. The data is gathered from MSO broadband providers that use the Qwilt systems.

“We’ve invested hundreds of millions of dollars in great TV shows and movies for Prime members and it’s working,” said Bill Carr, VP of digital video and music for Amazon.

But Netflix is the undisputed champ, and actually gained more share than Amazon over the past year. Netflix represented 57.5% of the video-streaming market in March 2014, up from 52.5% a year ago — compared with Amazon’s increase from 0.6% to 3% share, according to Qwilt. Meanwhile, YouTube’s overall share declined over that period (from 28.2% to 16.9%), and Hulu climbed from 1.5% to 2.8%, the study found.

Other studies have shown Netflix is in a league of its own. In September 2013, Netflix represented 31.6% of all downstream Internet traffic in North America during primetime hours in September — nearly 20 times more peak-period bandwidth than Amazon video, which had 1.6% share, and 24 times more than Hulu (at 1.3%), according to a report by network-equipment maker Sandvine.

SEE ALSO: Amazon Aiming to Fire on All Video Cylinders, But It’s Playing Catch-Up

Last week, Amazon introduced Fire TV, a small, square set-top box that provides access to Netflix, Prime Instant Video, Hulu Plus, WatchESPN and video rentals from Amazon, among other content. The Fire TV device also deliver photos, music and games to big-screen HDTVs.

With the set-top debut, Amazon has put in the last puzzle piece for an integrated homevideo ecosystem. It’s trailing on all fronts — lagging on devices, subscription VOD, content acquisition, original productions — but is aggressively investing in each area.

For Prime Instant Video, available as part of the $99 annual Prime free-shipping program, Amazon has acquired several exclusive series including PBS’s “Downton Abbey,” Fox’s “24,” BBC America’s “Orphan Black,” CBS’s “Under the Dome” and several kids’ shows from Viacom’s Nick Jr. like “SpongeBob SquarePants” and “Dora the Explorer.”

Amazon Studios’ first original series, “Alpha House” and “Betas,” debuted last fall. The company announced last week that it renewed “Alpha House” for a second season and greenlit four new primetime series — Chris Carter’s “The After,” “Bosch,”  “Transparent” and “Mozart in the Jungle” — along with two new children’s series, “Gortimer Gibbon’s Life of Normal Street” and “Wishenpoof!” Those series will be available on Prime Instant Video later in 2014 or early 2015.

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