Amazon‘s Instant Video service has traditionally been thought of as both a rival to iTunes and Netflix, in terms of offering movies and TV shows for rent, purchase or for free streaming via the company’s Amazon Prime membership program. But you might want to add YouTube to that list of would-be competitors, as Amazon has now introduced a new section to Instant Video focused on short-form, YouTube-like content called “Video Shorts.”
The company says that the Video Shorts section was added to Instant Video within the last couple of weeks, though the content it contains has actually been building up on the site for much longer than that.
Amazon started adding short-form video content to its video service last year, and has been slowly growing the catalog, which now contains a mix of movie and game trailers, music videos and concert clips, how-to videos, and more.
The how-to’s on Instant Video focus largely on beauty and makeup tips – a genre which is exploding on YouTube, where millions of viewers tune in to vloggers’ channels, and which produces breakout stars like Michelle Phan, who today has over 6.7 million subscribers, for example. Amazon’s offering, however, pales in comparison with YouTube’s user-generated content: its beauty videos seem to be aggregated from content farms like Howcast or Howdini.
Meanwhile, the Video Shorts video game section largely features game trailers and clips, and very few walkthroughs or tips, like YouTube offers. Meanwhile, Amazon has no rival to game livestreaming, a more recently popular category for online video which has since resulted in a billion dollar exit for Twitch to YouTube parent company, Google, according to recent reports.
Other sections in Amazon’s short form video section include “Food & Drink,” “Technology” and “Literature & Books” – categories which conveniently also relate to content Amazon.com sells in its online store.
Though these days, what isn’t Amazon selling? The company’s ambitions are seemingly boundless, with investments in everything from cloud infrastructure and services to mobile devices and consumer hardware. The company wants to deliver groceries to your door, ship its products via drone, stream media to all your screens, and even produce its own TV shows and games.
It shouldn’t then come as any surprise that Amazon would also see its Instant Video Service as something that could not only take on iTunes and Netflix, but potentially YouTube as well…at least, one day. At present, though, the Video Shorts section only has “hundreds of thousands” of videos to choose from – a figure which seems like a lot, but is only a drop in the bucket compared with YouTube, which today hosts over a billion visitors monthly who watch over 6 billion hours of video.
Amazon may have added a Video Shorts section, but it still has a long, long way to go to produce a business that would actually compete with YouTube.