Amazon is claiming that its original TV show Alpha House was the most watched program streaming on its Prime Instant Video service this past weekend.
Alpha House is one of many new original shows being produced by Amazon to make its Prime Instant Video service competitive with Netflix and Hulu Plus, which are both producing their own lines of original shows that are exclusive to their streaming service. The Prime Video service is basically a perk for those that subscribe to the company’s Prime service, which offers customers low-cost (“free”) 2-day shipping on lots of goods.
The show is a political comedy starring John Goodman. Amazon released the first three episodes of the series at once and is releasing new episodes every Friday. The company’s Amazon Studio’s arm is also planning to produce a handful of other comedies, at least two dramas (one from the creator of X-Files), and a slew of children’s shows.
And while Amazon might be premature in calling Alpha House a success, it’s hard to determine exactly what that success means in relation to other streaming video services. First of all, Amazon isn’t saying exactly how many people watched the show over the weekend, so that makes a ratings comparison with traditional TV impossible. It also has far fewer people watching its streaming service, as the latest Sandvine report shows, so it’s very likely that its original TV shows aren’t as widely watched as popular shows on YouTube and Netflix, which take up about half of all streaming video viewing at peak times across the continent.
Then again, Amazon doesn’t necessarily need its shows to be successful in conventional ways as long as enough people are watching original programs and Prime memberships (including access to Prime streaming video) continue to increase sales of its online retail business.
Amazon said it plans to release its second original series Friday, its Silicon Valley-inspired comedy Betas. It’ll be interesting to see how the show performs in light of Alpha House’s relative popularity, at least according to Amazon.