Amazon goes full YouTube, adds ability for creators to upload, share and monetize videos

Proving once again that it wants to compete in every sector of the video business, Amazon (NASDAQ: AMZN) has launched a YouTube-like service that lets video creators share and monetize their content.

Starting today, Amazon Video Direct will allow video creators in the U.S., U.K., Germany, Austria and Japan to upload their videos and make them part of the expansive Prime Video library.

Amazon said makers will be able to monetize their videos in a number of ways: they can earn royalties based on the number of hours the content is streamed; they can market their content for rental or purchase; and content makers can set up an add-on subscription service that will be administrated by Amazon.

The online retail behemoth said it's offering users "insightful performance metrics," such as number of minutes a title was streamed, projected revenue, payment history and number of subscribers.

Operating virtually unchallenged in the user-generated video space it pretty much created for more than a decade now, YouTube (NASDAQ: GOOG) has fostered dissonance among its own makers, who have groused about the platform's limited monetization capabilities and data sharing.

The entry into the user-generated market by a technology giant in Google/YouTube's league is of no doubt concern to the incumbent. 

In fact, Amazon seems to be directly aiming to poach YouTube's most popular makers, creating what it calls the "AVD Stars" program, which gives creators of top 100 most popular titles a share of a $1 million monthly fund.

"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, VP of Amazon Video, in a statement. "We're excited to make it even easier for content creators to find an audience, and for that audience to find great content."

The move is, of course, one more reason for pay-TV operators to be wary of Amazon, which is already looking at ways it can deliver IP-based live-streaming of pay-TV services. 

For more:
- read this Amazon press release

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