Amazon Video Direct, A New Face
There’s certainly no shortage of places to find video content online, but Amazon has now ratcheted the competition up a notch by launching Amazon Video Direct, an online video service which looks set to compete against YouTube. Google’s video behemoth continues to dominate with 128 million unique users hitting YouTube every month in the U.S. alone, but Amazon’s new entrant will surely catch the eye of bedroom video stars.
Just like YouTube, Amazon Video Direct will enable anyone to create an account, upload video and earn a royalty share from advertising. Viewers are served the videos either via a paid subscription or for free with ad support. Existing Amazon Prime members will be able to benefit from advert-free videos as part of their existing membership.
This isn’t Amazon’s first foray into video; their Prime Video service now offers a wealth of big-name TV shows and original, professionally-created content. This has put them head-to-head with streaming giant Netflix, so they’re used to fighting for a share of the viewers against equally well-funded competitors.
Jeff Bezos’ company is also no stranger to providing a vehicle for user-generated content following their acquisition of the video site Twitch in 2014 for $970 million. Twitch gives people the ability to live stream their gaming sessions to an audience of over 100 million users.
Amazon Direct Video, on the face of it, appears to be almost identical to YouTube in its offering. They’re going some way to distinguish themselves, though, and two claims they make are
- Content creators can choose from a range of royalty options that include receiving shares of advertising, subscriptions and purchase revenue (a combination can be chosen).
- Performance metrics, such as the number of subscribers, minutes streamed and projected revenue can be used to tailor the way video is offered and promoted.
The new service will initially be available in the UK, U.S., Austria, Germany and Japan and there are an impressive number of platforms on which the content can be consumed, ranging from Amazon’s own Fire TV device to games consoles and web browsers.
In an interview with the BBC, Amazon Video’s President, Jim Freeman, explained the key benefits of Amazon Direct Video for content creators: “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.”
The proof of the pudding will be in the uptake of Amazon Direct Video amongst the countless YouTube stars currently making sizeable livings from product unboxings, reviews and niche interests. Certainly, the emergence of another top tier player in the growing online video battleground is no bad thing at all.