Amazon Prime is a paid subscription service offered by Amazon that gives users access to free two-day delivery (one-day in some areas), streaming video and music, and other benefits for a monthly or yearly fee.
Type of site
|Founded||2 February 2005|
|Revenue||$6.4 billion (2016)|
In April 2018, Amazon reported Prime had more than 100 million subscribers. Degree level students and anyone who has an academic domain (e.g. .edu, .ac.uk) in their email address can get privileges, including discounts on Prime membership.
In 2005, Amazon announced the creation of Amazon Prime, a membership offering free two-day shipping within the contiguous United States on all eligible purchases for a flat annual fee of $79 (equivalent to $99 in 2017), as well as discounted one-day shipping rates. Amazon launched the program in Germany, Japan, and the United Kingdom in 2007; in France (as "Amazon Premium") in 2008, in Italy in 2011, in Canada in 2013, in India in July 2016 and in Mexico in March 2017.
Amazon Prime membership in Canada, Germany, the United Kingdom, India and the United States also provides Amazon Video, the instant streaming of selected films and TV programs at no additional cost. In November 2011, it was announced that Prime members have access to the Kindle Owners’ Lending Library, which allows users to borrow certain popular Kindle e-books for free reading on Kindle hardware, up to one book a month, with no due date.
In March 2014, Amazon announced an increase in the annual membership fee for Amazon Prime, from $79 to $99. Shortly after this change, Amazon announced Prime Music, a service whose members can get unlimited, ad-free streaming of over a million songs and access to curated playlists. In November 2014, Amazon added Prime Photos, which allows unlimited photo storage in the users' Amazon Drive (though only some raw photo files count as photos). Amazon also began offering free same-day delivery to Prime members in 14 United States metropolitan areas in May 2015.
In April 2015, Amazon started a trial partnership with Audi and DHL in order to get deliveries directly into the trunks of Audi cars. This project is only available on the Munich (Germany) area to some Audi connected car users.
On July 15, 2015, to commemorate its 20th birthday, Amazon celebrated "Amazon Prime Day", which Amazon announced would feature deals for prime members that rivaled those on Black Friday. Also that month Amazon Prime announced that it would be signing Jeremy Clarkson, Richard Hammond, and James May, formerly of BBC's Top Gear, to begin working on The Grand Tour, due to be released in 2016. On July 13, 2016, Amazon Prime said customers placed 60 percent more orders worldwide on "Prime Day".
In December 2015, Amazon stated that "tens of millions" of people are Amazon Prime members. Amazon Prime added 3 million members during the third week of December 2015. It was also during December that Amazon announced the creation of the Streaming Partners Program, an over-the-top subscription service that enables Amazon Prime subscribers to add additional streaming video services to their accounts. Among the programming providers involved in the program are Showtime, Starz (with additional content from sister network Encore), Lifetime Movie Club (containing recent original movie titles from Lifetime Television and Lifetime Movie Network), Smithsonian Earth, and Qello Concerts.
In January 2016, Amazon Prime reached 54 million members according to a report from Consumer Intelligence Research Partners. Several reports in January 2016 said that nearly half of all U.S. households are members of Amazon Prime.
In April 2016, Amazon announced same-day delivery would be expanded to include the areas of Charlotte, Cincinnati, Fresno, Louisville, Milwaukee, Nashville, Central New Jersey, Raleigh, Richmond, Sacramento, Stockton, and Tucson, bringing total coverage to 27 metro areas.
In September 2016, Amazon subsidiary Twitch announced premium features that are exclusive to users who have an active Amazon Prime subscription (Twitch Prime), including advertising-free access to the service, and monthly offers of video games and add-on content.
In December 2016, Amazon announced Wickedly Prime, a private-label line of food and beverages available to Prime members.
Amazon announced , a service that lets customers try on clothes before they pay, in June 2017.
In 2017, Amazon announced the Prime Exclusive Phone program, which offers select smartphones from companies such as LG, Motorola and Nokia at a discount if the user will allow Amazon to display ads on the lock screen.
In April 2018, Amazon announced an increase in the annual Prime membership fee, from $99 to $119 to start in May; current subscribers will start to pay the higher rate in June.
Prime Music is a Spotify/Google Play Music competitor that offer a library of millions of songs to Amazon Prime members at no added cost. Amazon Prime members can stream and download music for free. Prime has a collection of over 2 million songs available for download without advertisements. Consumers who need a larger music library can subscribe to Amazon Music Unlimited with over 10 million songs for $7.99 and $9.99 for non-Prime members.
The service debuted on September 7, 2006 as Amazon Unbox in the United States. On September 4, 2008, the service was renamed Amazon Video on Demand. The Unbox name still refers to the local program, which as of August 2014 is no longer available for downloading purchased instant videos. On February 22, 2011, the service rebranded as Amazon Instant Video and added access to 5,000 movies and TV shows for Amazon Prime members.
Beginning in October 2016, Prime members in the U.S. receive access to a rotating set of Kindle e-books through Prime Reading. Some magazines and travel guides are also available through the service. Prime Reading is unrelated to the Kindle Owners Lending Library, Kindle Unlimited, and Kindle First, all of which continue to be available.
In April 2014, Amazon began a service for shipping non-perishable grocery store items into a single box for delivery for a flat fee. The service is available in the United States, the United Kingdom, Germany, Austria, India, Japan, Italy, Spain, and France. This is an Amazon Prime member exclusive service that helps prime subscribers purchase household goods and get them delivered super-fast. At a flat rate of $6, Amazon Prime members can enjoy shipping a box of "pantries" to their homes. As you shop, Amazon quantifies the space each item takes up so that you can assess the number of boxes you need before check off and shipping.
In December 2014, Amazon announced that as a benefit to Prime members located in parts of Manhattan and New York City the capability to get products delivered to them within one hour for a fee of $7.99, or within two hours for no additional fee. As of 2014, 25,000 daily essential products were available with this delivery service. In February 2015, the service was extended to include all of Manhattan. By mid-2016, it had been expanded in the United States to include parts of Chicago, Miami, Baltimore, Seattle, Dallas, Atlanta, Austin, Nashville, Portland, San Antonio, and Tampa. Outside of the United States, it has expanded to parts of the United Kingdom, Italy, Germany, France, Spain, Japan, and Singapore. To meet the on-demand needs of Prime Now, Amazon further launched Amazon Flex, a platform for independent contractors to provide delivery services.
In October 2017, Amazon.com added an option for Prime members to get in-home deliveries by its Amazon Flex contractors, who gain entry using a one-time code. The service, Amazon Key, is available for customers in the United States residing in 37 metro areas, as of April 2018. Currently, the service requires a Kwikset or Yale smart lock, along with a special edition of Amazon's Cloud Cam security camera.
Customers are given a time window of four hours for the package to be delivered. Once the courier opens the door, the Cloud Cam records a clip until the door is locked, which is sent to the customer's smartphone. Participants in the service can also use the Amazon Key companion app for iOS and Android to lock/unlock the door, monitor the camera, and issue virtual keys.
A month after the service was launched, a security expert found a flaw in the system, which would freeze the camera, and prevent the customer from seeing what is happening in their home. The issue has since been patched.
Amazon Key In-Car is a service allowing owners of vehicles with OnStar (that are 2015+ models) or Volvo on Call, to get packages delivered in their vehicle's trunk. The service is available in the same areas as Amazon Key's In-Home delivery, but requires no additional hardware. Customers are provided with a four-hour delivery window. During that time, their vehicle must be located in a publicly accessible area.
60 Minutes announced on December 1, 2013 that Amazon Prime Air was a possible future delivery service expected to be in development for several more years. In concept, the process would use drones to deliver small packages (less than five pounds) within 30 minutes by flying short distances (10–20 km) from local Amazon Fulfillment Centers. In the United States, the project will require the Federal Aviation Administration to approve commercial use of unmanned drones.
Such approval could be in place as early as 2015, and Amazon expects to be ready at that time. In July 2014, it was revealed the company was developing its 8th and 9th drone prototypes, some that could fly 50 miles an hour and carry 5-pound packages, and had applied to the FAA to test them.
Despite the company's confidence, the project is not yet in flight, and Amazon are awaiting both patents and logistic agreements from the US and UK governments.
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