Amazon has been stepping up their spending on their streaming video efforts recently, and it’s been paying off. Amazon has produced several critically-acclaimed original series and films including The Man in the High Castle, Mozart in the Jungle, and Transparent. Those streaming offerings are in no small way responsible for the huge subscriber boost Amazon has gotten lately, which will son see Amazon Video subscribers outnumber cable subscribers in the U.S. Still, Amazon’s streaming video budget trails billions of dollars behind the undisputed streaming leader, Netflix – and so does its subscriber base. Now, however, Amazon is shifting towards a different model of streaming video distribution that might shake up the playing field quite a bit and set the tech giant apart from the other streaming giants.
Amazon is currently developing two new platform it’s calling Amazon Video Direct and Amazon Channels. Rather than taking on Hulu or Netflix, Amazon Video Direct seems poised to counter YouTube or Vimeo, while Amazon Channels is similar to the à la carte offerings of Sling TV, DIRECTV NOW, or so-called “skinny bundles” offered by cable providers.
Rich Au, head of content acquisition for Amazon Channels, says the service will bring some of the best programming from top networks right to Amazon, which is quickly becoming a one-stop hub for nearly everything on the web:
Currently, when customers want to watch a show, they must navigate through multiple apps or subscribe to large cable TV packages, requiring multiple accounts and extra work to find what they want. Specific to our partners, Amazon Channels is unique in that we’re handling all of the billing and customer service for them, as well as managing compatibility across hundreds of devices.
Amazon Video Direct, meanwhile, allows content creators and publishers of any size to self-distribute videos through Amazon. Videos from these creators are featured on Amazon’s various sidebars and landing pages and are recommended to Amazon users based on various Amazon browsing and viewing histories.
As with all things Amazon, these two new streaming video platforms show that the retail and web infrastructure giant is an unstoppable force to be reckoned with. Is Amazon’s growth a good thing for streaming video and the web in general? Time will tell – hopefully before it’s too late.
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