Already taking on Netflix, Amazon has set its sights on another online video giant. The e-commerce company has just started its own user-generated video service, hoping to further shake up the entertainment industry.
Seattle-based e-commerce giant Amazon launched a service Tuesday that allows users to post self-created videos and earn royalties, encroaching on the domain of YouTube, the site that stoked the mass popularity of user-generated video content online.
Similar to YouTube, Amazon's service, called Video Direct, will give users the option to view the uploaded videos free with advertisements or subscribe to the service and bypass the ads, which will cost a monthly fee of $8.99 (7.9 euros) in the United States.
YouTube's ad-bypassing "Red" service costs $10 a month.
Amazon will also let users buy or rent individual videos and will be offered among its popular subscription-based "Prime" service.
Content creators will receive half of their video's earnings from sales, rentals and ads.
In addition to user-generated content, Amazon has also entered into agreement with a number of media companies to provide content for the new service, including Conde Nast Entertainment, the Guardian and Mashable, as well as toymaker Mattel.
The service will be made available in Austria, Germany, Japan and the United Kingdom as well as the United States.
Changing the game
Video Direct will join the fast growing Amazon Video family, which largely provides movies and TV series that are produced both externally and by Amazon.
In so doing, it seeks to simultaneously lure viewers from traditional television and other online video sites, including YouTube and streaming giant Netflix. Amazon said Tuesday that it would spend $2.9 billion (2.5 billion euros) on video content for Amazon Prime this year.
Analysts were skeptical though Tuesday that the Video Direct service would pose much of a threat to YouTube.
"I don't see 50 million Prime users making a huge dent in the 2-billion-YouTube-user ecosystem," a digital media researcher told the news agency Reuters.
jtm/uhe (dpa, Reuters)