Watching analysts, research companies and trade pubs like this one ponder the subscription video business is a bit like observing Stanley Kubrick's monkeys in 2001: A Space Odyssey peruse the monolith that suddenly appeared in front of their cave.
How many subscribers does the black box (rectangular cuboid?) known as Amazon Prime Video have? Do you count a user who just pays the $139 annual Prime service fee for free shipping as a Prime Video subscriber? Does watching one video a month make a Prime member a Prime Video user? Two videos? Three? Can you get free next-day shipping on the monolith?
And is it, er, monolithic to compare Amazon Prime Video to Netflix in terms of sheer paid user girth?
Maybe. But Parks Associates is doing just that, anyway.
Through its own means and ways, the research company projects that Amazon Prime Video has surpassed Netflix in sheer number of paid U.S. subscribers. (Netflix finished the third quarter with just under 73.4 million customers in the U.S and Canada.)
Parks says it's been measuring this U.S. benchmark since 2019, and it's the first time Netflix has been surpassed.
Listen, Next TV likes to stir up the ol' monkey bin as much as the next guy, but we're a little more circumspect on suddenly declaring Amazon Prime Video the top subscription OTT service in America.
Just look at Nielsen's latest Top 10 weekly streaming rankings (for Oct. 31 - Nov. 6). Every show in the top 10 for most minutes streamed in the U.S. that week was on Netflix.
It's pretty clear that Netflix is still drawing significantly more engagement than any other subscription OTT platform out there.
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Daniel Frankel is the managing editor of Next TV, an internet publishing vertical focused on the business of video streaming. A Los Angeles-based writer and editor who has covered the media and technology industries for more than two decades, Daniel has worked on staff for publications including E! Online, Electronic Media, Mediaweek, Variety, paidContent and GigaOm. You can start living a healthier life with greater wealth and prosperity by following Daniel on Twitter today!