Amazon Video to take on Google directly with YouTube style content, letting users monetise their own clips

YouTube, if you hadn’t noticed, is a rather popular site on the internet as a whole. So popular, in fact, that the statistics page no longer offers actual raw numbers, just dizzying figures. It has over a billion users, it claims, which is a huge slice of traffic however you cut it – given you’re (most likely) reading this on a planet of 7 billion people.

It’s no surprise that other video providers would love to get a slice of that tasty traffic pie, but it’s virtually a monopoly. Vimeo, Dailymotion, Metacafe: none even come close to YouTube’s dominance, and it’s unlikely Google is losing too much sleep over rivals popping up any time soon.

Amazon, though: they’re different, and that’s exactly what the retail giant is planning on next. The company will launch Amazon Video Direct, which will allow users to have their videos feature in the main Amazon Video app. Creators will get a cut from the money made off Amazon Prime subscribers, alongside rentals, purchases and ad impressions. The twist is that users will be able to pick whether or not their videos form part of the Prime service – if they choose not to, they’ll appear as free content: the first time Amazon has given away free videos.amazon_instant_video_youtube

The Wall Street Journal reports that Amazon will keep 45% of revenue from ads taken on free broadcasts and 50% from channel subscriptions and video purchases. Videos on Prime will be paid a flat rate of 15 cents for each hour streamed within the US and six cents overseas.

It’s a seriously bold move, and should Amazon manage to reach the scale of YouTube, they’ll run into some difficult growing pains that Google has had to overcome. That statistics page I mentioned earlier

used to say that over 300 hours of video were uploaded to the site every minute. Given the site has grown significantly since then, it’s safe to say that it’s a difficult beast to manage, and amongst the page’s current stats is one particularly concerning warning for anyone looking to follow in YouTube’s footsteps: “As of October 2014, YouTube has paid out $1 billion to rightsholders who have chosen to monetise claims since Content ID first launched in 2007.”

That’s a long-term problem though. First, Amazon has to convince film makers that an online retailer is the ideal platform to support their content… then they can worry about growing pains.

READ NEXT: 9 YouTube apps to supercharge your video watching

Images: Simone Brunozzi and Mike Seyfang used under Creative Commons

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