Amazon Prime Puts Independent Ghost Hunting Shows At Risk
The streaming giant, Amazon Prime, is waving goodbye to countless independent film projects and series, including some of the ghost hunting shows we all love.
For years Amazon Prime Video Direct has been the go-to platform for creators of paranormal shows who want to expose their investigations to a wider audience, as it was the only major streaming service to accept unsolicited and unlicensed film submissions.
Sadly, Amazon have now stated, "at this time, we're no longer accepting unsolicited licensing submissions via Prime Video Direct for non-fiction and short-form content."
The removal of independent titles has already begun with several paranormal favourites already vanishing from the streaming platform without any notification for either the viewers or content creators.
Amazon have reportedly said that the decision to remove the content was made as part of "a quality assurance review," which the streaming service hope will ensure that titles listed on their platform meet their customer's quality expectations.
Amazon's decision to turn its back on independent projects means that ghost hunting shows on Prime will find it harder to reach a new audience and will drastically reduce their production budgets.
Amazon is home to many reasonably well-known ghost hunting shows from the UK and US, which up until now have been available to watch for free as part of a Prime Video subscription, making it a cost effective way for fans of the paranormal to watch, especially since the monthly fee gets you access to Amazon's huge library of movies and licensed paranormal shows, like old episodes of 'Most Haunted' and the complete boxset of 'The X-Files'.
The makers of independent paranormal shows were rewarded for the views they attracted with a share of the viewer's Prime subscription fee. This of course provided much-needed funds to help with the production of future series.
While some paranormal shows have already been removed from Amazon's streaming catalogue, others have been saved by switching to a pay-per-view model. If a show makes the switch to 'pay to watch' then fans will need to fork out an additional cost to buy or rent episodes, as the shows will no longer be 'included with Prime' to watch for free.
This pay-to-view model does ensure that content creators continue to bring in revenue from their work, albeit just a 50% cut of Amazon's takings. However, some fans will not want to pay extra to view shows on top of their existing monthly Prime subscription. So, this will ultimately result in a downturn in views and a loss of revenue for independent content creators.
Amazon Prime has always supported independent filmmakers with its Video Direct platform, which allows any production to upload their titles directly to the streaming platform. This is a world apart from other streaming giants like Netflix and Hulu, who don't accept unsolicited submissions at all, meaning all titles need to come through a distributor and are subject to complex licensing deals.
It seems that Amazon's motivation is to ensure that they are competing with the likes of Netflix with the same quality of content. While this is ultimately good for most customers, the sad reality is that it will reduce choice and hugely effect lower budget productions.
Amazon said, "customers are our number one priority and our goal is to ensure all content published to Prime Video continues to meet the same high standards. We look for content that delights and engages our customers, improves our curated catalog, and elevates our service (this assessment varies over time and by country/region and offer type)."
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