Amazon Video Direct: E-Commerce Giant Reveals Top-Performing Content Partners (EXCLUSIVE)

Courtesy of Samuel Goldwyn Films

Since Amazon’s launch in May of Amazon Video Direct, the company says users have streamed several billion minutes of video from its partners the service, which is open to any content creator or owner and provides multiple options for generating money from that video.

That’s likely less than the staggering amount of video gushing from the fire hoses of YouTube or Netflix. But Amazon Video Direct content partners say the program represents a noteworthy new platform that is letting them generate incremental revenue. And for the first time, the e-commerce behemoth has released the list of the best-performing movie titles, TV shows and digital partners the service — which Amazon is rewarding with extra cash doled out from a $1 million pool on a monthly basis, through its “AVD Stars” program.

Amazon Video Direct partners have four distribution options: They can make their content available to Prime Video subscribers and receive a per-hour royalty fee; sell it as an add-on subscription through the Amazon Channels program; offer it for digital rental or purchase; or make it available to all Amazon customers for free with ads, to receive a 55% share of the ad revenue (the same as YouTube).

For the month of August, Samuel Goldwyn Films had 10 of the 50 top-performing movies on AVD, including the top three titles: English drama “I Capture The Castle,” “Bad Ass” starring Danny Trejo and Charles S. Dutton, and comedy “Tortilla Soup.” Those are streaming through Prime Video, available to members for no additional cost.

The film distributor has seen “exceptional results” from Amazon Video Direct so far, said Samuel Goldwyn Films president Peter Goldwyn, although he did not reveal specific dollar figures. “With the catalog titles we’ve been put up to be accessible through Prime, that’s allowed them to get a second life.”

Currently, Samuel Goldwyn Films offers 29 catalog titles on AVD, along with 15 new releases like “Chicken People”; the new releases are available for rent or purchase. “Having the control over our content… they’ve made it more discoverable, and they’re pushing it to people who want to watch it,” said Goldwyn. “Compared with iTunes or Netflix, there are so many different ways to offer your product – you are not just tethered to one distribution mechanism.”

Comedy studio JASH has also seen positive returns from distributing original content on Amazon Video Direct, according to co-founder and COO Mickey Meyer. Top series on AVD include “Catherine,” “Teach,” “Tim and Eric’s GoPro Show,” and “ScheerRL,” and JASH has in the past month also released “Norm Macdonald Live” and “Tubbin with Tash.” Meyer founded JASH with Daniel Kellison, Doug DeLuca, along with partners Sarah Silverman, Michael Cera, Reggie Bush, Tim Heideker and Eric Wareheim.

Amazon Direct Video was interesting for JASH because its audience skews older than YouTube, and it provides a content-recommendation algorithm that suggests videos based on other videos you’ve watched, Meyer said.

“We’re seeing immediately that we have an audience there, and longer-form content works well,” he said. Whereas YouTube, with its massive amount of video, “is a needle in a haystack,” Amazon Direct Video “is much more of a curated experience. It makes it easier to get your content in front of the audience.”

The Amazon Video Direct Stars incentive program awards a share of $1 million in bonus cash each month to providers that self-publish content into Prime Video in the following categories: top 50 movie titles, top 10 TV seasons, and top 25 digital providers for all other eligible content types. The rankings are based on “customer engagement,” which Amazon calculates using a combination of metrics including hours viewed, streams and customer rating, and the $1 million kitty is distributed proportionately based on customer engagement (i.e., partners or titles with higher customer engagement receive a greater share of the award pool).

Here are the top partners and titles for August 2016:

Top 10 TV Seasons

  1. “Robotech”: FilmRise
  2. “The Price of Empire”: Alliant Content
  3. “That Girl”: Stadium Media
  4. “Judge Faith-First Stage Play; Bringing Down the House”: Veranda Entertainment
  5. “The Terror Routes – The Countdown”: Alliant Content
  6. “History’s Verdict: Hero or Villain? – De Gaulle”: Alliant Content
  7. “Death Row: A History of Capital Punishment in America – Last Meals and Last Words”: Mill Creek Entertainment
  8. “Pioneer Quest – Survivors Of The Real West”: Syndicado
  9. “Colonel March of Scotland Yard – The New Invisible Man”: Multicom Entertainment Group
  10. “America’s Serial Killers: Portraits in Evil – The Night Stalker and Jeffrey Dahmer”: Mill Creek Entertainment

Top 25 Digital Publishers

  1. Amuse
  2. Element Animation
  3. Coilbook
  4. William Anas
  5. White Shark Studios
  6. The Young Turks
  7. JASH
  8. Neta Haiby
  9. Ekadsk Online Services
  10. Aphotic Productions
  11. Julian
  12. Total Content Digital
  13. Wilcko
  14. Ginzburg Press
  15. Rodenburg Films
  16. HowStuffWorks
  17. Moon Mountain Entertainment
  18. Business Insider
  19. Conde Nast Entertainment
  20. Mashable
  21. Magnetfilm GmbH
  22. BrighterMoon
  23. Kin Community
  24. Wiley
  25. StyleHaul

Top 50 Movie Titles

  1. “I Capture The Castle”: Samuel Goldwyn Films
  2. “Bad Ass”: Samuel Goldwyn Films
  3. “Tortilla Soup”: Samuel Goldwyn Films
  4. “After Braveheart”: Alliant Content
  5. “Priceless”: Samuel Goldwyn Films
  6. “Resurrection Science: Defying Evolution”: Alliant Content
  7. “Little Big Man”: HDMedia Distribution Worldwide
  8. “First Footprints: The Original Pioneers of All Humankind”: Alliant Content
  9. “Goya’s Ghosts”: Samuel Goldwyn Films
  10. “How to Colonize the Stars: The Challenge of Interstellar Flight”: Alliant Content
  11. “Brat Academy”: Alliant Content
  12. “Sticks and Stones”: Global Genesis Group
  13. “Fart: A Documentary”: Vision Films
  14. “Is This El Chapo?”: Asian Media Rights
  15. “No Letting Go”: Vision Films
  16. “Lila Says”: Samuel Goldwyn Films
  17. “Automatic Brain: The Magic of the Unconscious Mind”: Alliant Content
  18. “ETs Among Us: UFO Witnesses and Whistleblowers”: Prism Pictures
  19. “Rio Lobo (1970)”: HDMedia Distribution Worldwide
  20. “The Fantastical World of Hormones”: Alliant Content
  21. “Animal 2”: Asian Media Rights
  22. “In Memorium”: Amanda Gusack
  23. “Swimming in Auschwitz”: Alliant Content
  24. “Love by Design”: Stadium Media
  25. “Happy”: Asian Media Rights
  26. “My Daughter, Anne Frank”: Alliant Content
  27. “Where Is Robert Fisher?”: Asian Media Rights
  28. “Marilyn Hotchkiss’ Ballroom Dancing & Charm School”: Samuel Goldwyn Films
  29. “Dangerous Intentions”: Multicom Entertainment Group
  30. “Without Charity”: Ten Wing Media
  31. “Seven Girlfriends”: Passion River Films
  32. “Arctic Manhunt: Hunt for the Mad Trapper”: Alliant Content
  33. “The Break-In”: Justin Doescher
  34. “How Sweet It Is”: Multicom Entertainment Group
  35. “A Haunting At The Park Hotel”: TriCoast Entertainment
  36. “Haunting at Foster Cabin”: Vision Films
  37. “Just Buried”: Multicom Entertainment Group
  38. “Me Without You”: Samuel Goldwyn Films
  39. “Shadow Puppets”: Asian Media Rights
  40. “The Wild Pacific”: Alliant Content
  41. “8 Murders a Day”: Asian Media Rights
  42. “Insane”: Indie Rights
  43. “OCD and Me”: Alliant Content
  44. “Women on Death Row”: Alliant Content
  45. “The Norse: An Arctic Mystery”: Alliant Content
  46. “Shaolin Tamo Systique”: Veranda Entertainment
  47. “When Hitler Invaded Britain”: Alliant Content
  48. “Identicals”: Samuel Goldwyn Films
  49. “Raising Victor Vargas”: Samuel Goldwyn Films
  50. “Vietnam: Secret Negotiations that Ended the War”: Alliant Content