Amazon ups fight against YouTube with free-for-all Video Direct platform

Amazon has launched a YouTube-style video service which will allow anyone with an Amazon account to upload their own content.

The tech giant is set to play rival Google at its own game in the user-generated video space, and let creators upload their own content which will be hosted on Amazon's Prime streaming service, and from which they can generate royalties.

Content posted via Video Direct can be offered up to viewers freely, or creators can make it available for rent or purchase. Alternatively, videos can be hosted on a subscription channel or served exclusively to people paying for Amazon Prime membership.

Amazon has said it will distribute a share of $1m per month as a bonus to the top 100 titles hosted on Prime through Video Direct on top of any other revenue earned. This bonus will be doled out based on engagement from hours streamed, rentals and purchases. It has also said that it will give creators total control over where their videos are streamed offering a choice of markets including the US, the UK, Germany and Japan.

Launch partners include Barbie owner Mattel, Goldwyn Films and Condé Nast.

"It’s an amazing time to be a content creator," said Jim Freeman, vice-president of Amazon Video. “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.

"We’re excited to make it even easier for content creators to find an audience, and for that audience to find great content," he added.

The move brings the firm closer in line to competitor Google, and follows on from several big plays from Amazon in the video space, including heavy investment in original programming to help it gain ground on market leader Netflix.

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