×

Amazon’s Prime Video Direct Is Cutting Royalty Fees for Low-Engagement Content

Amazon is rejiggering the payment structure for its Prime Video Direct self-publishing program to reward the highest-performing content with higher rates — while reducing royalty rates for less-popular titles.

Starting April 1, 2019, the standard license fee for all titles made available through Amazon’s Prime Video Direct for Prime subscription access in the U.S. will be paid according to a new mechanism. Those rates will range between 4 and 10 cents per hour streamed in the U.S. on Prime Video, based on a calculation of the relative “customer engagement ranking” score for each TV show or movie, according to a notice on Amazon’s site for PVD users.

So what does Amazon’s “customer engagement ranking” mean? It’s not totally clear, except that what the company dubs “CER” will be calculated on a per-month basis, representing a percentile ranking of a title’s level of engagement with Prime customers in relation to other titles published via Prime Video Direct.

In an article on its site, Amazon says CER takes into consideration multiple data points which can include: number of unique Prime customers (current and new) who view the title; time each customer spends watching a title; popularity of a title based on “notable talent,” “an IMDb presence and rating” and box-office performance; and overall quality (e.g., whether a title has compelling and high-quality poster art, accurate metadata, localized subtitles).

Under its existing royalty-payment structure, Amazon has paid Prime Video Direct content partners opting for Prime Video distribution a base rate of 6 cents per hour for up to 99,999 hours streamed in a 365-day window. That steps up to 10 cents for 100,000–499,999 hours; 15 cents for 500,000–999,999; then back down to 6 cents/hour streaming for titles delivering over 1 million hours over a one-year period.

Why the change? The ecommerce giant’s new royalty structure for Prime Video Direct is aimed at rewarding content providers that publish compelling content. Amazon is encouraging content owners who participate in the program to build their own brand and publicize their titles to boost their engagement scores, listing best practices for doing that in the help section for the Prime Video Direct.

An Amazon rep confirmed the changes to the Prime Video Direct program and referred to the site’s FAQs for more info.

Companies that have participated in Amazon’s PVD include FilmRise, Endemol Shine Group, Samuel Goldwyn Films, Funny Or Die, Indie Rights, and the Young Turks. Amazon also has brought dozens of films from festivals to Prime Video through PVD, via its Film Festival Stars program (which also has included one-time cash bonuses to filmmakers and content owners).

Initially, when Amazon first launched the program in 2016, it offered content suppliers flat-rate royalties of 15 cents per hour of video streamed in the U.S. (and 6 cents in other territories) for content in Prime Video.

What’s not changing: PVD content providers that opt to make their titles available for rent of purchase on Amazon will receive 50% of net revenue. In addition, Amazon’s standard offer for PRV participants who want to sell subscriptions on Amazon Channels is a 50% revenue share (although the company negotiates more favorable splits with larger media companies).

More Digital

  • Mokalik

    Nigeria’s Kunle Afolayan: African Audiences Shouldn’t Be ‘Second-Class’

    DURBAN–A young boy from a middle-class home gets an unconventional schooling in the ways of the world when he’s forced to apprentice at a mechanic’s workshop in a rough-and-tumble section of Lagos. “Mokalik” is the latest feature from Kunle Afolayan, a leading figure in the wave of filmmakers revitalizing the Nigerian film industry. The film [...]

  • SAG-AFTRA HQ

    SAG-AFTRA Ends Long Strike Against Ad Agency Bartle Bogle Hegarty

    SAG-AFTRA has ended its 10-month strike against Bartle Bogle Hegarty after the advertising agency agreed to sign the union’s new commercials contract. The union instructed its 160,000 members in September not to accept any work for BBH, which had been signed to SAG-AFTRA’s commercials contracts since 1999. The strike came two weeks after BBH publicly [...]

  • FaceApp is displayed on an iPhone,

    SAG-AFTRA Warns Members About FaceApp Terms of Use

    SAG-AFTRA is warning its 160,000 members about the “overreaching and invasive” terms of use for the FaceApp mobile application. FaceApp, developed by Russian company Wireless Lab, uses neural network technology to automatically generate transformations of faces in photographs. The app can be used to make users appear older, younger, or change gender. The terms include [...]

  • J. Cole

    Apple Music Launches 'Rap Life' Playlist

    Apple Music announced the launch of “Rap Life,” a new global playlist focusing on contemporary rap artists and culture. It replaces the former “The A-List: Hip-Hop” playlist. Said Ebro Darden, Apple Music’s Global Editorial Head of Hip-Hop and R&B: “We flipped it to dig deeper into into the lifestyle [and to] keep pushing the culture [...]

  • Billie Eilish

    ARRI, Mobile TV Group Back New Venture Revitalizing Streamed Concerts

    A new venture looking to bring a fresh approach to live-streaming concerts has gotten the backing of hardware heavyweights ARRI and Mobile TV Group. Wide+Close is launching with the mandate of shooting music performances with film cameras and cinematographers in order to give the content a more cinematic feel. “We want to take concert filming [...]

  • Fortnite Battle Royale

    How 'Fortnite' Fans Can Earn Loot by Watching YouTube Videos

    Epic Games and YouTube have teamed up with a special offer for “Fortnite” players — giving players of the popular battle-royale game rewards when they watch “Fortnite”-premiered content on the video platform. The catch: You have to watch at least 20 minutes of “Fortnite” special content or live esports broadcasts to receive the loot. Under [...]

  • Roku headquarters

    Roku Plans to Expand to Brazil, Other Countries (EXCLUSIVE)

    Roku plans to expand to multiple new territories in the coming months, Variety has learned. One of the first new markets for the company will likely be Brazil. An international expansion could help Roku grow its customer base, which in turn should lead to growing advertising revenues. Roku executives have been hinting at plans to [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content