Amazon may go YouTube route, too, wooing short-video makers

A report says Amazon is making overtures to YouTube networks about distributing their short-form videos even as it builds up its own longer-form content.

Joan E. Solsman Former Senior Reporter
Joan E. Solsman was CNET's senior media reporter, covering the intersection of entertainment and technology. She's reported from locations spanning from Disneyland to Serbian refugee camps, and she previously wrote for Dow Jones Newswires and The Wall Street Journal. She bikes to get almost everywhere and has been doored only once.
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Joan E. Solsman
2 min read
A shot from the show "Alpha House" of four characters walking down a hall
Amazon's original comedy "Alpha House" will be its first foray into long-form original video, in the vein of Netflix. Amazon

Amazon's on-demand video ambitions are bigger than the full-length television shows and movies its recruiting and developing on its own. Actually, its ambitions are shorter.

According to a report by Ad Age, Amazon is investigating a push into short-form video for its on-demand Instant Video service by courting YouTube networks.

The pitch is that expanding distribution to Amazon would also expand the videos' audience and provide an additional source of pay-per-video revenue, according to the report, which cited people familiar with the matter. Producers would have branded pages on Amazon similar to a channel on YouTube, although one source said Amazon executives have put conversations on hold until next year.

YouTube is the Internet's video giant. However, even with more than a billion unique users and 6 billion hours of video streamed each month, and even with a program setting up paid channels, the site has been the target of grumbling among some creators as a poor way to generate money for their content.

YouTube in the past has been happy to see videos from its site spread to other platforms.

For Amazon, the movement toward shorter-form would be more of a play to round out its services and further secure its status as a company aiming to challenge all leaders, rather than a way to buttress its longer-form push. Amazon's development of original series and licensing of hit shows like "Downtown Abbey" are meant to drive people to its Prime paid-subscription service. A shorter-form video product would make Amazon a clear YouTube competitor, just as its shop for one-off purchases of digital downloads makes it an iTunes competitor and its Prime Instant Video service has it facing off against Netflix.

According to the report, Amazon is separately seeking out online video networks and media companies to run editorial videos on product search pages, offering to share advertising revenue from views.