Amazon is already competing with Netflix in terms of offering web users streaming movies and TV shows. Now it's going directly after YouTube's user-generated video content. Today, it launched Amazon Video Direct (AVD), a service that will allow users to directly upload videos to Amazon and get paid for them.
YouTube's partner program already allowed users to make money from their videos. Last year, YouTube launched a premium, ad-free service called YouTube Red which offers exclusive content and lets users download videos for offline viewing, a service already offered by Amazon Prime Video.
According to Bloomberg, Amazon says the new service is meant for "professional video creators." YouTube markets itself to content creators of all ages and skill sets.
AVD videos can be viewed across all of Amazon's streaming platforms—computers, mobile devices including Fire tablets, Fire TV sticks, and more. The audience that creators open their content to will determine how they get paid though. Video makers can choose to have their content viewed by only Prime subscribers and be paid every time it's streamed, or open to all Amazon customers and be paid by ad-revenue. They can also be sold or rented for a one-time fee, or included as an add-on subscription, similar to the model that Showtime and Starz currently offer Amazon Prime subscribers. The only requirements for videos is that they be high-definition and include closed-captioning for viewers who are hearing impaired, according to Bloomberg.
There's incentive for content creators to make hits. In addition to launching AVD, Amazon also announced the Amazon Video Direct Star program. Each month, Amazon will divvy up $1 million between the makers of "the Top 100 titles included with Prime through Amazon Video Direct." The titles will be measured globally by hours streamed, monthly impressions, rentals, purchases, and ad impressions.
Amazon's biggest difficulty will be global reach. Amazon Video is available in only the United States, Germany, Austria, the United Kingdom and Japan. Meanwhile YouTube is currently the second-most viewed site in both the world and the U.S., and generates billions of dollars per year in ad-revenue. Netflix, which is available in over 190 countries, earned over $1.9 billion in the first quarter of 2016 alone. Amazon hopes it will be able to encroach on its competitors' reach and profits if it can further expand and be known across the globe.