Amazon announces Video Shorts… and a net loss.

The Seattle-based e-commerce giant is launching a section called Video Shorts. The difference with YouTube is that it only contains professionally produced videos, so no UGC (User Generated Content) at the moment. To be precise, the site currently features “hundreds of thousands” videos, divided in the following categories: Music Videos, Concerts & Live Performances, Movie Trailers, Movie Clips & Featurettes, Actor Interviews, Video Games, Technology, Food & Drink, Beauty, Literature & Books.

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.

The main goal though, is to drive viewers to buy more digital and physical goods from Amazon, instead of selling general advertisements (like YouTube). Focusing on the movies sections, the trailer of Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy include links to buy related items such as comics, toys, soundtracks, t-shirts, and so on. If the movie has already been released for home video (e.g. Rio 2), it would include links to buy the DVD, or rent or purchase the digital version through Amazon Instant Video. Furthermore, the bottom of each Video Shorts page also includes Amazon’s “customers who viewed this item also viewed” suggestive-selling listings. Quick note: there is no viral feature such as sharing or embedding functions as of now, and this seems a big lack if they want to drive traffic to the shops.


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.

The company’s ambitions are seemingly boundless, with investments in everything from cloud infrastructure and services to mobile devices and consumer hardware. What isn’t Amazon selling?

Amazon may have added a Video Shorts section, but it still has a long way to go to produce a business that would actually compete with YouTube. Furthermore, 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 ($0.27 per diluted share) versus a $7 million ($0.02 per diluted share) net loss in the year-earlier period. Furthermore, operating loss was $15 million in the second quarter, compared with operating income of $79 million in second quarter 2013.

Differentiation is the keyword to define Amazon’s strategy. The company wants to deliver groceries to your door, ship its products via drone, provide you with high-end cloud infrastructure, stream media to all your screens, and even produce its own TV shows and games, but their focus is still the same: “We continue working hard on making the Amazon customer experience better and better,” said Jeff Bezos announcing Q2-2014 financial results.

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