The company that spawned my laziness is launching a YouTube competitor today with a twist. Amazon Video Direct looks like YouTube. Acts like YouTube. Sounds like YouTube. But it isn’t YouTube.
No, Amazon insists the new service isn’t a duck no matter how much it looks like one. But it’s damn sure Amazon. Serious question – does everything have to have Amazon in the branding? They even put the damn logo on the cover of the Kindle Oasis.
Amazon Video Direct Gets Premium
Amazon is quick to point out the platform is for professional creators, though the only requirements are the format has to be in HD and include closed captioning. Can you even buy a camera that doesn’t shoot automatically in HD anymore?
Here’s where Amazon diverges from YouTube. The creator chooses how the clip is viewable. Keep it YouTube-esque with the streaming capability. Or, give them an easy path to download the video, rent it or even sell their videos.
In addition to the above monetization and viewing options, Amazon Video Direct will offer the option to bundle the videos together to be sold as a ‘season’ via subscriptions. We are going to need an app to manage all of the cord cutting subscriptions.
Yes, all of the above can be achieved now via a patchwork of programs. Amazon’s quest? Remove the barriers and take on YouTube. It already has Twitch in its back pocket, now it wants the crowd of how-tos, insightful ‘did you know’ videos and the various publishing partners that drive YouTube’s success.
Cash is Amazon’s Carrot
Amazon Video Direct Stars Program isn’t a surprise offering considering it has to make a splash against YouTube. The program is a monthly bonus pool that will pay out a share of one million dollars to the top 100 AVD titles in Prime Video.
Here’s how the company describes the program:
Amazon will distribute to creators a monthly bonus from the one million dollar monthly fund, based on the Top 100 AVD titles in Prime Video, 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 AVD Stars program launches today, and the one million dollar monthly fund will make its first bonus distributions based on streaming activity from June 1st to June 30th.Amazon has also partnered with publishers and news organizations to make their content available to watch on Amazon Video. 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.
Amazon isn’t stopping there when enticing major creators over to the platform.
Creators will gain access to Amazon’s streaming audience and earn royalties based on minutes viewed. Initially, publishers can earn 15 cents per hour of video streamed in the United States and 6 cents in other territories.
Those wanting more user metrics will have access to optimized performance metrics. Want to know how long someone watched your latest masterpiece? Done. Want revenue projections? AVD will offer that along with number of subscribers and monetization history.
It will allow production teams to make monetization switches immediately to take advantage of shifting preferences of their subscribers. Want a tutorial to be available to download versus streaming only? Make that that switch.
“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 VP Jim Freeman said in announcing the program. “We’re excited to make it even easier for content creators to find an audience, and for that audience to find great content.”
It’s a hell of a salvo against YouTube, but Google’s video juggernaut is a force in the world of online video. The ability to promote in Amazon’s ecosystem is something that will interest creators and at the very least, it’s another platform for discovery.
Amazon Video Direct won’t dethrone YouTube, but it’s not a ‘me too’ service. It streamlines monetization in a way that YouTube has refused in the past. Promotion inside one of the biggest video platforms gives creators a more level playing field and another chance for new channels to emerge out of the digital landscape.
It may look like YouTube and sound like Youtube. But Amazon Video Direct is not YouTube.