Amazon is becoming a moneymaker for video publishers
Six months after launching a self-serve video distribution program, Amazon is a growing revenue provider for publishers and independent filmmakers alike.
Launched in May, the Amazon Video Direct program helps publishers of varying sizes and types join the Amazon Prime video ecosystem. In terms of distribution, publishers have multiple options: They can make their content available alongside thousands of movies and TV shows on the Prime streaming subscription service; sell their existing subscription streaming channels as add-ons; make individual titles available for purchase or rent; or make the content available on a free and ad-supported basis.
While publishers aren’t restricted to any one option, the ability to put their content on Prime Video, which offers thousands of movies and TV shows and has tens of millions of subscribers, is the most popular choice, according to Eric Orme, head of Amazon Video Direct. “The friction in place to get content onto a tier-one service is pretty high. There are a lot of complexities and barriers there, in general,” Orme said. “We solve that problem.”
Once publishers join the Amazon Video Direct program, they also retain control over how their content is distributed — all with the knowledge that every option comes with a revenue model from the get-go. For instance, if a publisher chooses to upload its content to Amazon Prime Video, it gets 15 cents per hour streamed in the U.S. Internationally, content owners get 6 cents per hour streamed.
These are not the only Prime Video-related revenues, either. Amazon also sets aside a $1 million monthly bonus pool through its Amazon Video Direct Stars program, which pays content owners based on the top-performing titles on the streaming platform. (Other ways to make money through Video Direct include 55 percent of ad revenue generated from content that’s available for free, as well as roughly 50 percent of money made from sales and rentals.)
While not making anyone rich just yet, the Video Direct program is beginning to bring in revenue for publishing partners. How Stuff Works, for instance, has uploaded more than 500 videos to Amazon Prime since the program launched. Revenue from the Video Direct program has “on occasion” been comparable to YouTube, where it has nine channels and close to 2 million subscribers, said Jason Hoch, chief content officer for How Stuff Works. Similarly, Video Direct-related revenue for The Young Turks Network is small but getting more meaningful every month, said Steven Oh, COO of The Young Turks Network. (Both companies have also received cash from the Video Direct Stars program.)
For How Stuff Works, which hasn’t experimented with a paid model to date, this is an entirely new revenue stream. This will become a bigger deal as How Stuff Works is in development on multiple longer-form shows that it can distribute on Amazon Prime starting next year. It’s something that Amazon has encouraged How Stuff Works to do, Hoch said.
“We may decide that some of that content might be available as a rental, some might be ad-supported, and some might be just Prime, where we’re getting a payout through hours watched,” Hoch said. “Having both the flexibility and the math behind it is pretty great.”
For Amazon, Video Direct is a play for the entire video ecosystem. For instance, independent filmmakers are also finding success through the Video Direct program. The ‘90s cult classic, “The Boondock Saints,” for instance, has streamed more than 500,000 hours in a month, according to Amazon. Other independent projects like Danishka Esterhazy’s “Black Field,” which premiered at film festivals in 2009 but never received a U.S. theatrical release, was one of the most-watched films in October.
Overall, Amazon users have streamed billions of minutes of content from Amazon Video Direct self-publishers, Amazon said.
“Our customers are looking for a variety of different things,” Orme said. “If we were to only focus on specific categories or specific providers, there will be stuff we’re going to miss.”
‘Shifting the total supply’: How college football’s return could shore up TV advertisers’ sports viewership shortfall
The delayed, rolling start to college football’s season may be coming at a perfect time for the TV advertising business.
‘Significant under-delivery’: TV advertisers grapple with glut of live sports affecting viewership
TV sports viewership has fallen short of advertisers’ expectations, putting networks on the hook to make up for the shortfalls.
Member ExclusiveHow TV networks are setting up for the expanding ad-supported streaming war
TV networks are finally expanding their streaming pitches beyond the people who subscribe to traditional TV.
SponsoredB2B events were broken before the pandemic, their online reinvention is creating positive change
Kim Darling, executive producer, Inbound Farewell lanyards, business cards and branded pens — it’ll be some time before people get their hands on these souvenirs of in-person events again. As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to transform the way people work, buy, sell, socialize and entertain themselves, the global events industry is facing its biggest-ever challenge. […]
‘This is for cord cutters’: Discovery aims to launch Discovery+ streaming service in early 2021
Discovery+ will feature ad-supported and ad-free tiers and carry no more than five minutes of ads per hour of programming, according to agency executives.
NBCUniversal tests new measurement program to prove it can push product sales for advertisers
NBCU will use the program to inform media planning discussions with advertisers and eventually to guarantee sales against an ad buy.