Amazon Turns to User-Created Content with New Video Platform

Amazon Video Direct Enables and Encourages Content Creation

This week, Amazon announced a new service called Amazon Video Direct, a self-service programme enabling content creators and film-makers to distribute their video material to its customers. Amazon will make the content through available through its video app, as well as on mobile devices and set-top boxes such as Roku.

Videos will be published on Amazon’s Prime Video streaming service, offered either as a one-time rental, a one-time purchase, or offered as a subscription. Amazon Video Direct is initially available to viewers in the US, the UK, Germany, Austria and Japan. There are several business models available to content creators. Videos can be ad-supported providing free access to customers, or made available as part of the $99 annual membership with Amazon Prime, where content owners can earn royalties based on the number of minutes streamed.

Jim Freeman, Amazon’s vice president of video, pointed out that the service provides another top-brand channel for the distribution of video. There’s no doubt that the Amazon brand is a premium outlet for content creators.

Amazon launched the new video service with a series of partners including Baby Einstein, Condé Nast Entertainment, The Guardian, HowStuffWorks, Mashable, Mattel and Samuel Goldwyn Films.

Also launching this week is the Amazon Video Direct Stars programme, which gives video creators a share of $1 million dollars per month. This monthly fund will make its first bonus distribution, based on streaming activity, at the end of June 2016.

We expect the Amazon Video Direct programme to bolster the company’s Prime Video, after the latter became a stand-alone service. The rollout of Amazon Video Direct is another sign of Amazon’s growing competition with other large-scale Internet players.

Amazon is building on the success of its self-publishing programme via its Kindle platform and bringing that business model to video content. Its challenge will be to ensure this new content stream does not dilute the premium aspirations of Amazon Prime video service — there’s no place for endless kitten videos on Amazon’s video platform.