In the past, Amazon has pulled documentaries from the platform that don't adhere to its preferred political narrative – most notably Hoaxed by Mike Cernovich and Who Killed Michael Brown? by Shelby Steele. But now Amazon is going a step further to ensure narrative cohesion.
Indie documentaries are apparently no longer welcome on the Amazon Prime Video Direct platform – and the way the giant has gone about rejecting any new submissions has been decried as “dystopian” by critics.
The Prime Video Direct was once upon a time created as Amazon's way to accept documentaries that expanded to genres like vlogs, podcasts, shorts, tutorials, etc.
But according to an Indie Wire report – which cites one of the most discernible marks of current day online censorship – the lack of communication and/or explanation for why exactly the censorship, or a full-fledged purge might be taking place online of new content – Amazon has not only been dropping those, but also “long-running documentary titles from the service, with stakeholders receiving no warning or context for the decisions.”
The report reveals a pattern that Big Tech, Amazon Prime Video Direct included, has clearly been adopting as a matter of policy: gain billions of users worldwide, and then don't bother giving them anything resembling actual customer service?
How do any of these platforms ever get away with it? The Indie Wire report spells it out: if a filmmaker or a distributor wants to ask Amazon Prime Video Direct why the hell their work was no longer acceptable or featured on the platform, the answer – just like YouTube, or Twitter, for that matter, is – there's no human being to ask.
Who would have thought it – but Amazon doesn't seem to be into continuing to support unsolicited film submissions – and would now feel powerful enough to expel them by the wayside.
Let's all hear out, and take in the wise words of “Rise of the Filmtrepreneur” author Alex Ferrari:
“Amazon Prime was built on the backs of independent filmmakers (…) if you give too much power to one source, you're screwed. You need to diversify multiple revenue streams, and you need to control as many of those sources as possible.”
Regardless of the competition between YouTube (Google) and another behemoth like Amazon Prime Video Direct, observers are saying it's a “black box” game, it terms who might or might not eventually make gains from a marketplace creators are flat-out left out of.
There's other signals sounding off alarms to independent creators depending on the platform.