Amazon takes on YouTube with new rival Amazon Video Direct

Amazon is going head-to-head with YouTube, launching a new online video platform which gives content owners a variety of distribution – and payment – options.

Amazon Video Direct (AVD) launches today as an enhancement to Amazon Video – the home of paid-for Netflix rival Amazon Prime Video.

We’re told that customers in the United States, United Kingdom, Germany, Austria and Japan ‘now have access to new movies, TV shows, docu-series and music videos from content creators’.

However, no recorded music companies have so far been named as official launch partners.

Alarm bells for the music business may already be going off: Amazon has given detail as to how content owners can upload videos onto AVD – but how they take them down in the case of copyright infringement is another matter.

What we do know is that some large non-music copyright holders already seem positive about the move – and the protections it will afford.

Amazon Video Direct (AVD) gives uploaders four options for their content:

  • Included in Prime Video, available to tens of millions of Prime users;
  • Available as an add-on subscription through the Streaming Partners Program;
  • Offered as a one-time rental or a one-time purchase;
  • Available to all Amazon customers, ad-supported

According to Variety, the Prime Video option pays creators a 15 cents per-hour royalty fee in the US – or 6 cents per-hour in other territories – up to $75,000 per year.

Amazon will also pay partners 50% of the retail price for one-off purchases and rentals.

As for ad-supported, that follows the YouTube model, with a 55% share of ad revenue paid out.

Samuel Goldwyn Films is a launch partner of AVD. Its President, Peter Goldwyn, said:

“As a major, independently owned and operated motion-picture company, we’re excited to have the ability to distribute our films to Amazon customers around the globe.

“With Amazon Video Direct, we have the control to create the unique distribution strategies that reflect the changing ways in which our audiences discover our films. We can seamlessly make all our movies like Hyena Road, Somm: into the Bottle, Havana Motor Club, available to watch when and where our audiences want them.”

In other words, unlike YouTube, AVD will allow content owners to upload their videos to restricted/premium-only areas, as well as the company’s entire customer base – whose consumption will be funded by ads.

AVD is also going after the lucrative world of YouTube’s most popular amateur ‘stars’ – and stumping up big money to do so.

The AVD Stars program will see Amazon commit a million dollars a month, shared out between ‘creators’ and ‘storytellers’.

This will be based on customer engagement amongst the Top 100 AVD titles, and be paid in addition to any other revenue earned.

Video creators and providers who use AVD to make their titles available in Prime Video will automatically be enrolled.

The one million dollar monthly fund will make its first bonus distributions based on streaming activity from June 1st to June 30th.

“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.”

Jim Freeman, Amazon Video

The following launch partners have been confirmed: 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.

“It’s an amazing time to be a content creator,” said Jim Freeman, Vice President of Amazon Video.

“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.”Music Business Worldwide

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