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amazonprimeAmazon is secretive about lots of metrics, including the number of Amazon Prime members. But the company made a point of saying in its earnings report Thursday that it has signed up “millions of new Prime members.”

The $79/year subscription service, with its core benefit of free shipping, is critical for the company because it leads to more sales over time from people who sign up.

In the company’s earnings conference call yesterday, Amazon finance chief Tom Szkutak said one factor driving the increase is Amazon Prime Instant Video, which offers no-extra-cost streaming of a large subset of the company’s online streaming catalog.

Szkutak declined to give any further details on the call. “We are very excited Prime is growing very fast, very excited for the service that we offer customers both in terms of physical and digital goods,” he said.

A report earlier this year by Morningstar analyst R.J. Hottovy said Amazon Prime reached an estimated 10 million members as of the end of 2012, with the potential to reach 25 million members by 2017.

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