The Information published (N.B. paywall) an article this
morning saying that Amazon earned $1.4 million Alexa skill revenue
through the first 10 months of 2019 which was well short of its
$5.5 million target. This refers to the revenue that Amazon earns
from in-skill purchases (ISP) where consumers pay for added
features of Alexa skills from third-party developers. The article
also says that 2018 revenue was “in the low hundreds of thousands
of dollars” though the target was $5 million.
Amazon did not confirm these figures, but a spokesperson did
respond by email today regarding The Information’s article saying
that, “Alexa is a long-term bet for Amazon, and we’re as
optimistic as ever about its future. We’ve just scratched the
surface of what’s possible with Alexa.”
Alexa skill revenue referred to here is a similar approach to
Apple’s fees for purchases through the iOS app store. Amazon takes
a 30% fee and the developer gets the remaining 70%.
We have a few Alexa devices, and use them, but I didn’t even realize you could pay for additional skills like this. Never even occurred to me. I just don’t even think Amazon is trying on this front — they seem focused on the stuff you can do with Alexa out of the box and that’s it.