Amazon delivered better-than-expected results in the fourth quarter of 2023, with revenue up 14% year-over-year in a strong holiday-season showing.
Revenue of $170 billion in the quarter ending December 31 exceeded Wall Street analysts’ consensus forecast for $166 billion. Earnings of a dollar per share represented the strongest profit figures in more than two years, soaring above the year-ago quarter’s 3 cents a share and easily beating estimates of 80 cents.
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The quarter included the bulk of Prime Video’s exclusive NFL Thursday Night Football games. The season posted a 24% increase in viewership over 2022 levels, serving as a pillar of the company’s growing video ad business.
Advertising services revenue, a category that includes streaming video, rose 27% from the year-ago period to reach $14.6 billion. In addition to the live sports on Prime, the tech giant is also emphasizing its ad capabilities across Twitch, Freevee and Fire TV. Prime Video’s scripted film and TV titles are also beginning to include ads as of this week for all subscribers who do not step up their subscriptions by paying an extra $3 a month to keep their experience ad-free.
With all eyes on Big Tech to ramp up their artificial intelligence capabilities, Amazon also announced the launch of an AI-shopping assistant called Rufus. The feature is trained on Amazon’s product catalog and information from across the internet and can answer customer questions about products. Rufus is launching Thursday in beta for “a small subset” of customers in Amazon’s mobile app, the company said, with a wider rollout in the U.S. to come over the next few weeks.
Amazon shares, which have risen toward their all-time record high levels established in 2021, jumped 6% in after-hours trading.
CEO Andy Jassy hailed the “record-breaking holiday shopping season” in the earnings release. “As we enter 2024, our teams are delivering at a rapid clip, and we have a lot in front of us to be excited about,” he said.
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