Amazon Video Direct (AVD) is the next big idea to fall out of the constantly moving Amazon conveyor belt. Following recent releases of standalone Prime Video subscriptions and same-day delivery to US Prime members, Amazon Video Direct is challenging YouTube on their own turf.
AVD users can distribute their content in four ways; through the Amazon Prime library with royalties per hour (15 cents in the U.S BUT 6 cents everywhere else, thanks a lot), through selling their content as an add-on subscription, as free content with ads, or as a digital rental/purchase.
On top of these revenue models, Amazon says it will be handing out hefty bonuses every month through its Amazon Video Direct Stars programme to the top 100 titles. This is very reminiscent of the payout structure by YouTube Red.
AVD’s launch partners read like a shopping list of top Youtube contributors, including the likes of Machinima, StyleHaul, HowStuffWorks, Samuel Goldwyn Films, the Guardian, and Business Insider.
However, Amazon’s “sign up” button isn’t exactly like the smooth process of uploading something to YouTube. The required account information includes “set up payments for your sales” and “submit your tax information” sections.
This ‘grand’, ‘exciting’, idea all comes crashing back down to reality when you realise the stiff competition Amazon Video Direct is up against.
Vimeo is the home of professional media producers, with a growing user base among media professionals. Facebook, on the other hand, is a popular location for amateur user content, having recently prioritised video on the platform.
The biggest enemy of them all, though, is YouTube. Amazon no doubt has Google in its crosshairs. YouTube is the king of video consumption on the internet, where 300 hours of video are uploaded every minute and 5 billion videos are watched every single day. YouTube’s user base is astronomically high – around 1.3billion.
Amazon Video Direct will no doubt provide competition for YouTube, Facebook, and Vimeo. But can it honestly ‘blow-up’, or just end up as the Tidal of video – peaking early on but soon dropping off without damaging Spotify or Deezer?
It will be interesting to see how AVD handle Content ID (i.e. users uploading and monetising content created and owned by others). If Amazon thinks it can follow in the steps of Facebook and ignore the issue for the first few years, it’s going to be extremely difficult for them to attract any real talent.
Amazon Video Direct is a bold assault on the oversaturated video market. Competition is great for consumers but AVD will need to come up with a miracle to surpass YouTube.