Amazon’s never been one to back down from a fight. The company’s Instant Video streaming service seems aimed squarely at Netflix, and now CEO Jeff Bezos is taking on YouTube as well with a new Video Shorts section that’s full of the type of content you’d normally find on YouTube. Video Shorts is teeming with new music videos, live concert clips, movie trailers and celebrity interviews. It also offers the kind of home-made how-to videos YouTube is best known for, ranging from technology reviews to cooking guides to beauty and styling tips. Amazon says even the new streaming video section is brand new, but the company spent a lot of time building up its content library ahead of launch.
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.