Amazon takes on YouTube with new user-uploaded platform

Amazon is launching a new self-service platform that allows anyone to upload videos to reach Amazon's user base.
(AFP/Getty Images)

Amazon is taking a page from YouTube as it looks to expand its footprint in the entertainment space.

The Seattle-based e-retailer is launching a new self-service platform that allows anyone to upload videos to reach Amazon’s user base.

The service is called Amazon Video Direct. Anyone with a valid Amazon subscription can sign up for a self-publishing account.

People can distribute their content a number of ways: they make their videos available to Amazon Prime subscribers; sell their content as an add-on subscription, or offer it for a one-time rental or download fee or stream it for free with advertising.


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Amazon’s entry into the user-uploaded video space comes as the company is investing heavily in original programming with its streaming service to compete with the likes of Netflix and Hulu.

The new service also positions Amazon in more direct competition with Google-owned YouTube, the leader in the field with more than 1 billion users, which also is facing rising competition from companies such as Facebook and Vimeo.

“It’s an amazing time to be a content creator,” said Jim Freeman, vice president of Amazon Video, in a statement. “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.”

Users who upload content will be able to share in the revenue made off their videos. Those who choose Prime Video distribution will earn royalties of 15 cents per hour streamed in the U.S. and 6 cents in other territories. Monies earned is capped at $75,000 per year. Those who choose the add-on, rental or digital purchase options will receive 50% of the retail price. And those who choose the ad option will receive a 55% share in ad revenue.

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Amazon Video Direct launches with the following partners: 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 is also launching a program called AVD Stars which will give top-performing video creators a share of $1 million each month based on consumer engagement. Funds will be allocated based on the Top 100 AVD titles in Prime Video and will serve as an incentive to add their content to Amazon’s platform.



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