Amazon takes on YouTube, launches Amazon Video Direct

Amazon's new YouTube-like service will let almost anyone sell video content

Amazon takes on YouTube, launches Amazon Video Direct
Credit: Amazon

First Amazon took on Netflix, but now the company is taking aim at YouTube by launching Amazon Video Direct (AVD).

AVD is a self-service program for video creators to make their content available to Amazon customers, including those with Prime memberships—which is nothing to scoff at, since Prime was estimated to be in about half of all U.S. households ... and that was before Prime started offering $9 monthly subscriptions.

Amazon’s new video service is designed “for professional video producers,” according to Bloomberg, “but its only requirements are that the videos be high definition and have closed captioning for the hearing impaired.”

Jim Freeman, vice president of Amazon Video, naturally had only good things to say.

“It’s an amazing time to be a content creator,” he told StreetInsider. “There are more options for distribution than ever before, and with Amazon Video Direct, for the first time, there’s a self-service option for video providers to get their content into a premium streaming subscription service. We’re excited to make it even easier for content creators to find an audience and for that audience to find great content.”

When uploading a video to AVD, video creators choose whether they want to make the videos available for free, to sell or to rent videos, or to have them included in Prime. In Amazon’s words, “For each title, you can choose to earn royalties based on hours streamed by Prime members, a revenue share for rentals, purchases, monthly subscriptions, or ad impressions—or any combination of these options.”

Amazon is “offering 15 cents for every hour of viewing a video creator's stuff generates via Prime Video in the U.S., and six cents an hour for views outside of the U.S.,” a company spokesperson told Recode. “If video makers allow Amazon to show their stuff to any visitor for free, Amazon will give them 55 percent of all ad revenue their clips generate. And if uploaders let Amazon sell their stuff via its subscription service or via its rental store, Amazon will split that revenue 50-50.”

Bonus for Amazon Video Direct stars

Video creators potentially could become an Amazon Video Direct star. The company explained: “Amazon will distribute a share of $1,000,000 per month as a bonus to the Top 100 titles included with Prime through Amazon Video Direct.

This bonus—based on global customer engagement—is incremental to revenue earned from hours streamed, rentals, purchases, monthly subscriptions and ad impressions. All of your titles included with Prime are automatically eligible.”

The first AVD Stars $1,000,000 monthly bonus will be based on streaming activity from June 1 to June 30.

Variety noted that current “AVD partners include Conde Nast Entertainment, HowStuffWorks, Samuel Goldwyn Films, the Guardian, Mashable, Mattel, StyleHaul, Kin Community, Jash, Business Insider, Machinima, TYT Network, Baby Einstein, CJ Entertainment America, Xive TV, Synergetic Distribution, Kino Nation, Journeyman Pictures and Pro Guitar Lessons.”

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