Jennifer Salke, Vernon Sanders and Albert Cheng, the troika leading Amazon Prime Video’s streaming operation, all hail from broadcast television. (Salke and Sanders recently worked at NBC and Cheng at ABC.)
Ratings data, in their longtime former world, is the coin of the realm. But when they arrived at Amazon, they remarked during their executive session Saturday at TCA summer press tour, they conceded that they have had to adapt to their new home.
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“Our company doesn’t embrace that strategy,” Salke said. “We agree that it’s not a strategy for us. We know what the numbers are, and that may change over time, but right now, we’ll talk about the success of our shows and single out shows that are overperforming, but we have yet to embrace a strategy across the company where we get out with actual numbers.”
With more than 100 million Prime members in 200 countries, Salke said, “our entire North Star is to entertain and delight Prime customers all over the world. There’s a different strategy there” from broadcast and cable peers, or even from Netflix, which has become a lot more forthcoming with data, albeit mostly self-reported.
Cheng said that even though the company doesn’t share “absolute numbers” with show creators, executives take creators through metrics about show performance.
Repeating previous assertions about the strategy of Amazon versus other companies, Salke said, “We’re not in the volume business, we’re in the curating business of bringing individual shows” to viewers around the world.”
The closest thing the session came to hard data was Salke’s assertion at the top of the executive session that the most “successful” shows in Prime history have all been released over the past year. The roster includes Tom Clancy’s Jack Ryan, Good Omens, Hanna, Season 2 of The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel and Homecoming.
Success for those shows may be defined in terms of driving Prime memberships and not pure viewing.