Amazon spent $11 billion on video and music content last year, up from $7.8 billion in 2019


Netflix’ Sound of Metal, starring Riz Ahmed.Source: Netflix

Amazon spent $11 billion on content for its streaming video and music services last year, the company disclosed Thursday in its annual report, the latest sign of the company’s willingness to invest heavily in entertaining Prime members.

The $11 billion in content spend in 2020 is a sharp uptick from a year earlier, when Amazon spent $7.8 billion, according to the report. Amazon defines video and music expenses as any licensing and production costs, as well as costs associated with digital subscriptions and sold or rented content.

Amazon has sought to attract consumers’ attention in a sea of rival video and music streaming offerings from Netflix, Disney, Apple, Spotify and many others. Over the past several years, it has built up a robust library of original and licensed videos, music and podcasts, including through its acquisition of podcasting start-up Wondery in December.

It quickly ramped up spending on video and music content in 2020 as consumers spent more time indoors looking at screens amid the coronavirus pandemic. Amazon has also pursued more costly film projects as its profile in Hollywood has risen.

The company has long been willing to make big investments on video and music content as a strategy to buoy Prime memberships. On Thursday, CEO Jeff Bezos announced in his annual shareholders letter that Amazon now has 200 million Prime subscribers, up from 150 million at the beginning of 2020. Amazon folds its music and video offerings into the Prime subscription plan, which costs $119 a year and includes other perks like free, two-day shipping.