I think the future of digital is video.

What Amazon’s role in the space is coming under increased scrutiny and speculation.

Is Amazon developing a YouTube competitor?

Every social media site on the planet has shifted its focus to video. Facebook, Snapchat, Instagram, and Tumblr have introduced or expanded their video capabilities, and are prioritizing live video in their algorithms. Even LinkedIn recently announced new video features.

In an interview from last year, Mark Zuckerberg went on the record stating that, “We’re entering this new golden age of video. I wouldn’t be surprised if you fast-forward five years and most of the content that people see on Facebook and are sharing on a day-to-day basis is video.”

According to research from Cisco, more than 80% of internet traffic will be video in a few years.

Amazon has already show they’re interested in this space and have been flirting with it for a while. They acquired Twitch in 2014, and Twitch seems to be doing well (although YouTube with YouTube live seems to be gaining ground). Amazon has also courted top influencers with a ability to build a custom Amazon landing page on which they could vend items featured in their videos and receive commissions on any successful sales.

Big picture – there is room for a viable competitor against YouTube.

Amazon has shown they’re able to move and innovate quickly, and while just 2-3 years ago no one would have guessed that the video space would be anything other than a monopoly, Facebook has made huge strides and in a short period of time they’ve established themselves as a video destination – they now get over 8 Billion Average Daily Video Views and 100 million hours of video watched every day.

Amazon has the capabilities to develop something that has the potential to be a YouTube style competitor, it certainly wouldn’t be easy. The ad boycotts against YouTube earlier this year signal that there’s room for competitors, and advertisers may want someone that could actually promise more ad friendly content.

That said, one area of the Amazon rumors I’m very skeptical of is the idea of them facilitating some type of marketplace where they would would pair vetted video creators and companies to create sponsored content. If they’re talking about custom/branded content – I don’t picture that happening.

There are lots of marketplaces out there for this type of thing, YouTube even bought Famebit. Amazon is a great tech company, but getting involved in the service side of things where you’re having to cater to both brands and influencers on a creative endeavor seems unlikely. I picture it being far too labor intensive.