Amazon looming over YouTube territory with new Video Direct

amazon logo canvasAmazon’s video plans saw a new development with the launch of Video Direct, a new video posting platform that offers professional creators options for distribution and payment. The user-generated content uploaded by creators can be watched by any Amazon customers on an ad-supported basis. They can also be made available as a one-time rental or purchase, or they can be watched by Prime Video subscribers (likely without the ads). The service is rolling out in the U.S., UK, Germany, Austria, and Japan.

According to Ars Technica, the payment rates are $0.15 an hour for U.S. viewers and $0.06 an hour in other countries. Creators get 55% of revenue for ad-supported content and 50% of net rental and paid purchases. For further incentive, Amazon is also distributing $1 million per month across the 100 most-popular programs viewed by Prime members.

The move does target YouTube, but only the tier of its members who are using video as a core business. For instance, the account used for uploading to Video Direct must have a company name, and Amazon needs bank and tax information to distribute revenue. The roster of launch partners demonstrates the caliber of user Amazon is targeting: Conde Nast Entertainment, Machinima, The Guardian, and Mashable to name a few. Still, given the growing number of voices from the music industry forming a united front to lobby for changes to YouTube’s business model, a rival that offers more control and potentially more revenue could lead to a serious shake-up in the video space.

Anna Washenko