Amazon launched a new video service today, “Amazon Video Direct”, that offers all creators a platform through which they can upload videos and earn royalties for their work in an innovative move above streaming services such as YouTube and Vimeo.
Amazon account holders can upload original or their own licensed videos to the Video Direct service and designate whether the videos will be viewable by "all Amazon customers" via an ad-supported model, shown to Amazon Prime Video subscribers (presumably without ads) or available as a one-time rental or purchase. They can then earn royalties for each title, based on hours streamed by Prime members, a revenue share for rentals, purchases, monthly subscriptions, or ad impressions—or any combination of these options. The service was launched in the United States, United Kingdom, Germany, Austria, and Japan.
“It’s an amazing time to be a content creator,” said Jim Freeman, vice president of Amazon Video, in a a press release. “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.”
Although it may initially seem to be a “YouTube” competitor, especially given the “add-supported video”, Amazon is clearly targeting the more professional end of the YouTube spectrum. With Video Direct, Amazon says it is targeting “creators and storytellers,” giving it a cheaper way to stock up on professionally made video other than purchasing licensed content. The company spends about $3 billion annually on streaming video content, according to Wedbush Securities analyst Michael Pachter.
The launch partners give a good idea of what the market Amazon is aiming for. According to the press release, "AVD launch 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." (Disclosure: Conde Nast owns Ars Technica.)
The new service is part of Amazon’s efforts to expand its variety of content and rival Apple as a multimedia powerhouse. Amazon has been increasing its streaming video offerings with original content and exclusive deals with providers such as Epix and HBO. More recently, Amazon dialed up competition with Netflix Inc. by offering its streaming video service as a month-by-month subscription that is a dollar cheaper than its rival.
Creators who want more information on signing up for Amazon Video Direct can visit Amazon’s website.