In an attempt to make their streaming service more appealing to content creators, Amazon has launched Video Direct, which allows anyone to upload and get paid per hour streamed.

If you have spent any time researching what Amazon Video Direct is all about, you've most likely seen it touted as a direct competitor to YouTube, in that it allows anyone to upload their own content, whether it's feature films, shorts, web series, or music videos, and lets them decide whether or not to make viewing that content free.

However, what's different about Amazon Video Direct is that it gives users four options on how to earn royalties from their work. According to Amazon, this is how that breaks down:

  • Buy or rent: Content providers can allow viewers to buy or rent their work and receive 50% of net revenue.
  • Included with Amazon Prime: Providers can make their content available on Amazon Prime and earn $0.15 for every hour their content is streamed.
  • Free with ads: Providers can make their content free with ads and receive 55% of net advertising revenue.
  • Add-on subscriptions: Providers can make their content available only to those with add-on subscriptions and receive 50% of net monthly revenue.

It does seem like Amazon Video Direct is in direct competition with YouTube with their "free with ads" option, however Vox made a very interesting point about how paying content creators based on hours streamed makes them a bigger threat to the juggernaut streaming service Netflix — and here's why:

Right now you can earn a living making ad-free television shows, but to do it you need to talk executives at Netflix or HBO or Showtime into paying you. What Amazon is doing is saying anyone who wants to can make a show with an absolute guarantee that if the show proves popular they will get paid.

Think about it, getting your film or show onto Netflix is kind of like getting drafted onto an NBA team; your content is first scouted and added to the Netflix Database, and once it's on that database, there needs to be a high enough queue demand in order for Netflix to consider your content further.

What Amazon Video Direct does is gets rid of the draft and lets everyone play, ensuring that those who produce the best, most heavily streamed content will get paid for it. No scouting, no database, no waiting for Netflix to see some kind of value in your film.

If you think about it, parts of AVD is kind of like a YouTube/Netflix hybrid: anyone can upload content and get paid per hour streamed — which sounds pretty promising for indie filmmakers looking to distribute their work and earn some money in the process.

Source: Amazon Video Direct