Amazon launches YouTube rival; will distribute $1m each month to the top 100 videos

Amazon has launched its own video streaming service called Amazon Video Direct. The new video platform allows content creators to earn royalties for their work, offering up a number of different royalty options, such as:

  • $1,000,000 shared monthly between the top 100 videos
  • Ad impressions
  • Direct selling
  • Views from Prime members

Your Account

Registering for the service takes a slightly different approach to YouTube. Rather than setting a channel name and avatar, you're asked to create a business account, which may seem intimidating for the average creator. Ultimately, though, all you need is an address, phone number and a name (this can be a business or personal name), as well as a bank account. Once you've filled out the 3-step registration form, you've got yourself a publisher account.

After you are logged-in, you will be able to view your Dashboard. The Dashboard shows you a graph of how many minutes of your content have been streamed, along with tables detailing the total views, as well as the amount earned. The data is broken down into columns that show the amounts per market; for example, Amazon in the UK and US. This provides greater insight into where most of your royalties and viewers are coming from.

You will also be able to access a 'Your Videos' page. This area is where you can upload standalone videos, episodes or videos to stream as part of a subscription. Under the Subscription tab you can add a new 'tier' - this is where you set your pricing, using Amazon's recommended pricing or setting your own, on a monthly basis. You are also able to set branding, such as logos and banner images.

The subscription system appears to be in competition with YouTube's Red, where users can subscribe to view your content.


As mentioned at the beginning, there are several methods of earning royalties on the content published to Amazon Video Direct. Here's a deeper look at exactly how you make money from the platform.

If your videos are available to be bought or rented directly, you'll earn 50% of the net revenue, with Amazon taking the other half.

Amazon Prime members who watch your content will make you money, too. This is calculated on an hourly basis, with a cap of 500,000 hours per title, per year. The rates for each country are as follows:

  • United States: $0.15/hour
  • United Kingdom: $0.06/hour
  • Germany: $0.06/hour
  • Japan: $0.06/hour

Amazon provides the following as an example: if you have 2.5 hours watched from U.S Prime members, you'll receive $0.37.

There's also the option of earning royalties from non-Prime members. These members will see advertising placed on the video, much like with YouTube, and you'll earn 55% of the net advertising revenue generated per title.

If you set-up subscriptions, you will receive 50% of the net monthly subscription revenue.

On top of all the above methods of earning royalties, Amazon will also be putting forward $1,000,000 each month, which will be distributed to the top 100 titles. The amount a title will earn from this bonus is based on several factors, which Amazon states as being "incremental to revenue earned from hours streamed, rentals, purchases, monthly subscriptions, and ad impressions". The titles will also need to be available through Prime to be eligible.

In order to receive payment, you will need to meet the minimum thresholds, which vary by country. At the time of writing, these are set as:

  • $100
  • £100
  • €100
  • ¥10,000


Amazon Video Direct works a little differently to YouTube. With YouTube, the area in which you upload videos is also the same area in which you watch videos. With Amazon's platform, you'll be uploading and managing your content through Amazon Video Direct, but your content will be published to Amazon Video. That means that your content will be searchable on Amazon's marketplaces just like any other Amazon Video content you currently see.

It is also important to note that, when creating content, Ultra HD and 4K are not currently supported, with the maximum resolution being 1920x1080p. If your video contains captions, you'll need to submit a caption file separately, even if the captions are displayed on the video itself.

Amazon told Bloomberg that the platform is mainly aimed towards "professionals" however as long as the content is in HD format and, if needed, has a caption file, then you're able to upload your content.

If you'd like to sign-up to the new service, you can create an Amazon Video Direct publishing account here.

Source: Amazon via BBC News

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