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Is Amazon Giving YouTube a Run for Its Money?

Amazon, the leading e-retailer, offers everything from groceries and daily deals to electronics, computer services, and digital content. Now, they’re becoming competitors in the video market by opening up a new video service that is available to more publishers.

The new program, Amazon Video Direct, allows video owners (i.e. Google’s YouTube creators) to distribute their content directly on Amazon Prime Video (a Netflix-type of service).

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What does Amazon have to offer?


comScore reports that Amazon’s website reached 165.1 million unique visitors in the U.S. in March of this year. In addition, there are tens of millions of Amazon Prime members. Basically guaranteeing video creators that their content can be seen by millions of online shoppers is an intriguing concept, to say the least.


Amazon has several ways people can monetize their videos. Content owners can either earn royalties from videos that are published for free or put their videos up for rent and/or sale. If people choose the latter, Amazon is allowing them to keep half of the revenue generated. Videos can be free or ad-supported. They can be offered in packages or as an add-on subscription to Prime Video.


Amazon Video Direct is not only appealing to video creators because of scale and publishing options. Like other video platforms, creators have access to data to see how well their videos are performing, such as the number of subscribers, payment streams, and projected revenue. Based on these useful metrics, publishers can make changes to their distribution activities. Content owners also have control over where their videos are streamed.

How does this compare to YouTube?

YouTube takes a 45% cut from all ad revenue that is generated via its platform. in reality, the money a multichannel network gets from YouTube ad sales is not enough to build a sustainable business. YouTube networks who have been struggling to create streams of revenue beyond YouTube now have a chance to bring in a lot more money. Clearly, video publishers don’t want to be confined to one platform so this new Amazon program has the potential to work wonders for them.

With Amazon Video Direct, if publishers choose to make their content available for free they will then receive a 55% share of ad sales (the same as what YouTube offers). But!, on the subscription side of things, content owners will receive 15 cents per hour streamed (in the United States) and six cents in other countries where Amazon Prime is available.


The service is available now and if you choose to publish on Amazon Video Direct your content will be seen in the U.S., the U.K., Germany, Austria, and Japan. Lastly, videos can be played on all devices where Amazon Video works: mobile phones, tablets, desktops, Fire TV, game consoles, and more.

It will be interesting to see how Amazon Video Direct fares in the video market and if it develops into a viable YouTube competitor. If you’re a video creator and try this new program, tell us how you like it!

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