Photo: Sonja Flemming/CBS
Photo: Sonja Flemming/CBS
Amazon, which has long pushed its various Kindle ebook readers as ‘the bestselling’ or ‘fastest selling’ model yet while offering no sales figures, is now seeking to do the same with its video streaming service.

On Friday the firm’s UK PR agency emailed journalists claiming Extant, a new sci-fi series starring Halle Berry and made bySteven Spielberg’s Amblin Television, “has attracted record audience numbers for episode one in its opening 24 hours.”

In typical Amazon form, the release contains no viewing or streaming figures, merely the above assertion and the meaningless claims that:

“Streams for Extant were three times higher than any other opening episode of a TV show in the history of the UK’s largest movie and TV streaming service.

“The first day viewing figures for episode one of Extant has even exceeded first day viewing figures for Season 2 of Amazon Prime Instant Video’s hugely popular flagship show Vikings.”

As we don’t know how many people watched Vikings on day one – it could 3, 3,000 or 300,000 – we have no way of knowing if Extant’s numbers are even remotely impressive and so we shouldn’t allow ourselves to get excited.

I advised Amazon’s PRs that without actual numbers this wasn’t a story we could report as news and was told:

“Thanks for your note. Unfortunately Amazon Prime Instant Video doesn’t disclose viewing figures, there’s nothing our competitors would like to know more.

“We have offered a streaming comparison with the biggest show in the history of the platform (as both LOVEFiLM and Prime Instant Video) as an indicator of the initial success of Extant.”

My response to this is pretty simple – if Amazon wants to be considered a serious broadcaster it’ll have to supply viewing figures just as the BBC, ITV and every other UK and US broadcaster does.

Until it does, I’m going to assume that at least 4 people watched Extant in the first 24 hours of the episode becoming available but I’m not going to get excited or help Amazon pass off unsupported claims of success as news.