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Amazon Launches Free, Short-Form Video Site Aimed at Boosting Product Sales

Amazon has expanded into short-form online video, launching a destination stocked with 100,000 free clips aimed primarily at driving up e-commerce sales, as well as generating incremental revenue through video ads.

Over the past few weeks, Amazon quietly added a new section to its website, called Video Shorts. Clips include movie and TV trailers, actor and book-author interviews, music videos, videogame trailers, and how-to tutorials for tech, beauty, food and drink.

The destination, in a limited way, also represents a new rival to Google’s YouTube along with other free-video websites like AOL, Yahoo and MSN.

But Amazon’s goal looks mainly to drive viewers to buy more digital and physical goods from Amazon, rather than build a business based on video advertising. In other words: not a “YouTube killer.”

Most of the Video Shorts clips show related items for purchase from Amazon to the right of the video-player window. For example, the trailer for 20th Century Fox’s “Rio 2” on the site includes links to buy the DVD, or rent or purchase the digital version through Amazon Instant Video. The bottom of each Video Shorts page also includes Amazon’s “customers who viewed this item also viewed” suggestive-selling listings.

Movie studios supplying Amazon trailers, featurettes and other content for Video Shorts include Disney, 20th Century Fox, Warner Bros., Paramount, Sony, Universal, Lionsgate, IFC Films and A24.

Music videos are supplied through agreements with Universal Music Group, Sony Music Entertainment, Warner Music Group, Vevo and others, and videogame publishers providing clips include Take-Two Interactive, Electronic Arts, Activision and Nintendo.

Additional video content partners include Howcast, The Verge, Simon & Schuster and WWE.

Amazon has been steadily adding short-form video since last year, a rep said. But before it recently added the Video Shorts section the content previously could only be discovered within relevant search results. The company’s launch of Video Shorts was reported earlier by TechCrunch.

For the second quarter of 2014, the Seattle-based company posted revenue of $19.3 billion, up 23.2% year-over-year, and a bigger-than-expected net loss of $126 million versus a $7 million net loss in the year-earlier period.

 

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