Amazon Prime service tops 100 million paid subscribers

The ranks of people subscribing to Amazon Prime service for speedy delivery of purchases and streamed television has topped 100 million, the company's chief Jeff Bezos said Wednesday in an annual letter.

The new high in subscriptions at Prime, launched 13 year ago, was among milestones from 2017 shared by Bezos in the letter, a copy of which was filed with US securities regulators.

Amazon shipped more than five billion items through its Prime service last year, and logged an unprecedented number of new memberships, according to Bezos.

Prime subscriptions cost $99 in the United States, and come with fast, free shipping as well as online access to movies and television shows.

The Seattle-based company has been investing heavily in original television content.

“Prime Video continues to drive Prime member adoption and retention,” Bezos said in the letter.

“We’ve expanded our slate of programming across the globe.”

Amazon offers Prime service in cities in nine countries.

In January the company raised the monthly Prime subscription price in the US to $12.99 from $10.99, but left the annual cost at $99.

Best known as an online retail colossus, Amazon has the leading system for hosting services or content in the internet cloud and is the force behind the Alexa digital assistant being built into a wide array of devices.

Amazon boasts more than 560,000 employees, and reported a profit last year of slightly more than $3 billion.

The company on Wednesday also announced a collaboration with US consumer electronics retail chain Best Buy to sell Toshiba and Insignia smart “Fire” televisions infused with Alexa.

“Amazon and  Best Buy  have a long history of working together, and today we take our partnership to a new level,” Bezos said in a joint statement.

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