Amazon to Launch YouTube Competitor for User-Uploaded Videos

Jeff Bezos Amazon - H - 2016

Amazon Video Direct lets anyone upload videos to the e-commerce giant's streaming platform.

Amazon is already going after Netflix with a growing slate of original content for its video streaming platform. Now the company will take on YouTube with a new service that allows anyone to upload videos. 

Amazon Video Direct will launch as a self-service platform for people who want to distribute video content to Amazon's user base. 

People who upload a video to the Amazon platform have several options on how to distribute it. They can make it available to Amazon Prime subscribers, sell it as an add-on subscription, offer it for a one-time rental or download fee or stream it for free with advertising. 

"It's an amazing time to be a content creator," said Amazon Video vp Jim Freeman. "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." 

The "creators and storytellers" that Amazon is targeting through this program will be able to share in the revenue made off of their videos. In addition, Amazon is launching the AVD Stars program to give creators a share of $1 million each month based on consumer engagement in their videos. The program will allocate the funds based on the Top 100 AVD titles in Prime Video. 

AV is launching with partners including digital producer StyleHaul, Conde Nast Entertainment, Mashable and Machinima.

The launch of AVD comes as the Jeff Bezos-led e-commerce giant continues to bulk up its video offerings. The company currently streams a growing library of licensed shows, exclusive videos and originals via its Prime Video service, which is sold as a stand-alone monthly subscription or as a part of the Amazon Prime membership. It has recently expanded into original movies and live-streaming, in addition to selling subscriptions to other services like Showtime.  

While Google-owned YouTube has a wide lead in the user-uploaded video space with more than 1 billion users, it has started to face competition from the likes of Facebook and, now, Amazon.