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Amazon Video Direct launches, woos YouTubers with cold, hard cash

by Jacob Kleinman | May 10, 2016May 10, 2016 10:00 am PST


Amazon Prime Video is mostly known for offering popular movies, TV shows and original content. Now the company is opening up its platform to smaller creators with Video Direct in an effort to compete directly with YouTube.

Amazon Video Direct launched on Tuesday, offering video makers around the world a new way to share their work. Like YouTube, Amazon is offering royalty payments based on how often each video is streamed. The top 100 videos each month will also get an extra bonus from a $1 million special “AVD Stars” fund.

Video creators can choose whether or not their content is available for free and with ads for everyone, whether it’s available for a one-time purchase price, or whether it’s only available to Prime Video members. Amazon also allows content creators to offer their content through a new “Streaming Partners Program,” which allows creators to sell add-on subscriptions to their videos.

“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,” Amazon Video vice president Jim Freeman said. “We’re excited to make it even easier for content creators to find an audience, and for that audience to find great content.”

Amazon clearly has YouTube in its sights with Video Direct. The retail giant may be able to steal some of YouTube’s biggest creators away with its new rewards program, but whether it can take a significant bite out of the streaming giant’s viewership remains to be seen. It won’t be easy, but Amazon certainly has the money and technology to put up a tough fight.

Jacob Kleinman

Jacob Kleinman has been working as a journalist online and in print since he arrived at Wesleyan University in 2007. After graduating, he took a...