Amazon is opening up its Prime Video service to “creators and storytellers”, in a move widely seen as a direct shot at online video rival YouTube.
Amazon Video Direct is a new self-service program that will let users make their video content available to Amazon customers, including tens of millions of Prime members.
Content creators can choose to make their videos available for free to Amazon Prime Video customers and earn royalties based on hours streamed.
They can also opt to offer content to all Amazon customers on an ad-supported basis, to rent or own for a one-time purchase price, or as an add-on subscription through Amazon’s Streaming Partners Program. The latter already lets viewers stream content from premium networks like Starz and Showtime.
“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,” said Jim Freeman, vice president of Amazon Video.
“We’re excited to make it even easier for content creators to find an audience, and for that audience to find great content.”
Amazon Video Direct (AVD) is now available in all the countries where Amazon Video is available – the US, UK, Germany, Austria and Japan.
Amazon customers will be able to access new movies, TV shows, docu-series and music videos from content creators, while those creators will get performance metrics on how their videos are performing on the site.
These metrics include the number of minutes a title was streamed for, projected revenue, payment history, or number of subscribers, letting video providers optimise the way they offer and promote content to customers.
At the same time, Amazon announced it is Amazon Video Direct Stars programme, which gives video providers the chance to earn a “monthly bonus” based on customer engagement.
This bonus will come from a US$1 million per-month fund, which will be shared among the creators of the 100 most popular AVD titles on Prime Video each month, and will be paid out on top of any other revenue earned.
Video creators and providers who use AVD to make their titles available in Prime Video will automatically be enrolled in the scheme, according to Amazon.
Toy brand Mattel, fashion MCN Stylehaul, Conde Nast Entertainment and other major online brands such as The Guardian, Mashable, Business Insider and Machinima have all signed up as launch partners for AVD.