Amazon surpasses Hulu, Apple in streaming video traffic

While Amazon may have been trying to turn Prime Instant Video, its streaming service, into a major player with the unveiling of the Fire TV last week, it may have already have done so, according to a recent analytics report.

Amazon's traffic, as measured by Qwilt in March 2014, increased by 94% compared to a year earlier. In some U.S. operator networks, Amazon's streaming video traffic increased by nearly 300% during that time period, according to the analytics provider.

The online retail giant's streaming video service now ranks third in the industry, after Netflix and YouTube, according to Qwilt. Amazon surpassed Hulu and Apple, after having been ranked number five a year ago.

Citing the report, Amazon credited its growth to the variety of shows the service offers, including "Downton Abbey," "24," and "Veronica Mars."

"We've invested hundreds of millions of dollars in great TV shows and movies for Prime members and it's working," Bill Carr, the Vice-President of Digital Video and Music for Amazon, said in a statement.

The service also offers original content such as "Alpha House" and "Transparent." Amazon's shows have to compete with popular offerings from its competitors, like Netflix's Emmy-winning "House of Cards."

With the announcement of the Fire TV last week, Peter Larsen, vice president of Amazon's Kindle division, explained to reporters that the set-top box will offer content from Amazon Instant Video as well Netflix, Hulu, ESPN and Showtime.

Facing stiff competition from Apple TV and Roku, as well as Google's Chromcast, Amazon's content delivery system (CDN) -- which rivals Apple -- may be its saving grace.

"Amazon has a robust CDN, an existing advertising network, and a successful online retail property. So, it is in a position to monetize that box in ways that no other consumer electronic maker or online video service can currently match," Brett Sappington, director of research at Parks Associates, told CBS News in an earlier report.

"At the same time, having these benefits is no guarantee of success. Google also has an ad network, CDN, and successful video business (YouTube), yet was unable to find success with its GoogleTV offering," Sappington added.