Amazon aims for YouTube with Prime Video Direct service

Amazon has a history of playing catch-up in certain industries. Sure, it can be argued that the Seattle-based company created consumer-based e-commerce back in the late 1990s, but Amazon has also rarely shirked from trying to get in on parts of the tech space after others have seemed to have nailed down a particular market.

Among those areas are video streaming and original online content (Amazon followed Netflix’s lead), Web-based cloud services (IBM and others were doing this before Amazon) and TV set-top boxes (Roku, TiVo, Apple and Google had devices out well ahead of Amazon’s Fire products). And now, Amazon looks ready to take on YouTube in the video-posting arena.

On Tuesday, Amazon said it was launching Amazon Video Direct, which the company calls “a new self-service program for creators and storytellers to make their video content available to Amazon customers, including tens of millions of Prime members.”

In other words, you can now use Amazon Video Direct to post your own videos online via Amazon’s video-streaming site. The service comes as a bonus to Amazon Prime subscribers, or can be purchased through a separate subscription. Video producers can choose to rent or sell their programs on Amazon, make the videos ad-supported or paid from royalties that are based on how many times a video is streamed.

Amazon has also created a pot, if you will, worth $1 million a month that it will distribute to those who make the 100 most popular videos every month that are watched by Prime members.

The new video service comes as YouTube is offering up more options to make money off its more than 1 billion monthly video viewers, such as its YouTube Red service, which lets consumers pay a monthly fee to watch videos without any advertisements.

How to judge whether Amazon’s Prime Video Direct is a success will remain a challenge, and rely a bit on faith. Amazon has never divulged exact numbers for how many Prime members it has, so the company saying there are “tens of millions” of such subscribers is probably as concrete a figure as anyone is going to get.

Photo: Amazon’s logo displayed on computer screens in London in December 2014. (Leon Neal/AFP)


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  • danwat1234

    Youtube red is dumb for the negation of ads, because an adblocker like adblock or adblock plus already blocks all ads on Youtube, for free.

  • EllaFino

    Who is going to pay to put up videos when it is free on YouTube.