Amazon Video Direct Heats Up Competition with YouTube


Amazon Video Direct

Amazon is heating up the competition with YouTube through its new service that allows users to post videos and earn royalties from them.

The self-service program for creators and storytellers lets anyone upload videos and choose from four distribution options:

  • Make it available to Prime Video subscribers and receive a per-hour royalty fee
  • Sell it as an add-on subscription through the Streaming Partners Program
  • Offer it for digital rental or purchase
  • Make it available to all Amazon customers for free with ads and receive a 55 percent share of the ad revenue

Amazon Video Direct launched yesterday in the US, UK, Germany, Austria and Japan as part of a larger strategy by Amazon to augment its streaming video service that includes robust original content and exclusive deals with HBO, Epix and others yet to come.

Specific benefits of Amazon Video Direct include access to Amazon’s tens of millions of Prime members, a revenue stream from royalties and performance metrics.

“It’s an amazing time to be a content creator,” said Jim Freeman, VP Amazon Video, in a press release. “We’re excited to make it even easier for content creators to find an audience, and for that audience to find great content.”

As Amazon transforms from retailer to multimedia purveyor, Google’s YouTube is a formidable competitor with a decade-long headstart. According to eMarketer, YouTube owns 20 percent of the US market projected to make nearly $2 billion in video-ad revenue in 2016, as reported by The Wall Street Journal.

Peter Csathy, chief of consulting firm Manatt Digital Media Ventures, said, “Think of this like a Trojan horse to bring you into the kingdom of Amazon, which is a massive shopping mall,” said Peter Csathy, chief of consulting firm Manatt Digital Media Ventures, in The Wall Street Journal. “It really underscores how video has become the battleground in tech.”

Amazon also launched AVD Stars program, where video creators share 1 million dollars per month based on customer engagement with their title.

AVD launch partners include Condé 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.

On the programming front, Amazon Prime Video has added series from The Weinstein Company and Oscar/Emmy-winner Julian Fellowes.

Julian Fellowes Presents Doctor Thorne, based on the book series by Anthony Trollope and starring Tom Hollander, Ian McShane and Alison Brie, premieres exclusively for Prime members in the US on May 20. opened its doors on the World Wide Web in July 1995 and has remained on target for its four guiding principles ever since: customer obsession instead of competitive focus, passion for invention, commitment to operational excellence and long-term thinking.


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