How to Sell Streaming Videos Online – A Guide to Charging Viewers for Content [2021 Update]
Table of Contents
The live video streaming market has grown consistently over the past few years, which has created business opportunities for broadcasters in many different industries.
Although many have the broadcasting down in terms of equipment configuration and cinematic effects, some still struggle with the monetization side. Access to monetization tools is readily available, but figuring out which monetization methods to use in specific situations can be tough.
In this blog post, we’re going to give you a rundown of the whys and hows of video monetization. We’ll cover three ways to sell videos online and provide examples of situations where you’d use each method.
To wrap things up, we will briefly touch on the importance of using a secure paywall and drop a few tips for making your video monetization strategy a success.
Table of Contents
- Why Selling Videos Online Makes Sense
- 3 Video Monetization Methods
- How Do I Sell My Videos Online?
- Different Types of Online Streaming
- Video Monetization by Industry
- Live Events Streaming
- Fitness and Health
- Sports Broadcasting
- Online Education
- The Importance of Using a Secure Paywall
- Tips for Success in Selling Streaming Videos Online
Why Selling Videos Online Makes Sense
Selling videos have come a long way in the last ten years. Over the past decade, we’ve moved away from DVDs dominating the market and have transitioned to online streaming, almost exclusively.
Selling videos online makes sense because the industry is slated to be valued at $184.27 billion by the year 2027.
To give you an idea of the profitable possibilities in the online video space, here’s a snapshot of some live streaming stats* that demonstrates the growth of the industry in recent years:
- Online live streaming has seen a growth of 99% between April 2019 and April 2020
- More than a third of professional broadcasters use a subscription model to monetize their content
- Almost 25% of households in the US will cancel their cable subscriptions by 2022
- 90% of people watch online video content
- 45% of viewers would pay for a live video of a special event
The key to jumping on these trends and making money selling videos online is choosing a niche, creating high-quality content for that specific audience, and staying consistent.
Now is the time for broadcasters that are established on Youtube and other consumer-grade platforms to migrate over to a professional video selling software platform, like Dacast, to take charge of their video monetization possibilities.
Realistically, anybody who has the talent and ability to create video content that is either entertaining or provides valuable information can take this same approach to sell video online. New broadcasters just need to build an audience.
*For sources on all of these statistics, please check out our 114 Must Know Live Streaming Statistics post.
3 Video Monetization Methods
Broadcasters set up monetization on their video in order to generate revenue from streams. This could mean putting content behind a paywall or streaming sponsored content.
The three main monetization methods are pay-per-view, subscriptions, and advertisements. Let’s see how each of these works for selling online video content.
Do you remember the days of cable when you’d flip through the guide and channels would show that a movie was playing, only to click and realize that you had to call a number to buy access to the film?
This early form of pay-per-view streaming has since evolved to a quicker and seamless process that happens all with the click of a button. As the name implies, this monetization method allows viewers to purchase access to video content for a set window of time.
Pay-per-view streaming is also called “transactional video on demand,” which is typically shortened to TVOD
The standard access period is between 24 and 48 hours from the time the viewer hits play, but you can structure your pay-per-view setup however you see fit.
Subscription-based video monetization, or SVOD for short, is when you charge viewers for unlimited access to your video platform. Subscriptions can be charged weekly, monthly, quarterly, or even annually.
This is a good way to go if you have a large library of content that your audience will find valuable or entertaining.
Ad-based monetization, which is referred to as AVOD in the professional broadcasting space, is a model that uses short video clips from sponsors to pay for the video content.
In this scenario, there is no monetary transaction between you and the viewer. Instead, they devote a few minutes of their time throughout the stream to view the ad from your sponsor.
This monetization method is valuable for content that could be readily available on other platforms. Some examples would be short informational videos or crash courses that cover a complex topic in an accessible way.
Ad-based monetization is also common among content creators and vloggers who may have not yet gained enough loyalty from their fanbase to ask them to pay for access out of pocket.
How Do I Sell My Videos Online?
Now that you’re familiar with the three monetization methods, you’re likely wondering how to use them in action.
Here are 10 actionable steps for selling videos online.
1. Choose a Niche
There are generally two approaches people take when choosing a niche to produce content around. They either choose a topic that they are very passionate about and well-versed in or they choose one that they know will make them money.
You’re going to want to find a sweet spot between the two. You need to be knowledgeable enough about the topic to give expert advice or sound opinions, or you have to be passionate enough to learn until you’re in the previous position.
Additionally, it is important to make sure there is a demand for your content. Your target audience doesn’t need to be huge, but it needs to exist.
2. Create a Content Plan
Once you have a topic and an idea of who you want to create content for, make a list of all of the general topics you could create content out of. From there, narrow the topics into a series of more specific videos.
To take it a step further, you can outline the content for each specific video, as well. This can also be done as you produce each piece of content.
3. Strategize for Monetization
As we mentioned, you can choose to monetize your video with SVOD, AVOD, TVOD, or a combination of any of these methods.
Plan out which you’re going to use and how much you will charge. Be realistic in terms of the value you are providing and what your target audience would be willing and able to pay.
As you create your prices, keep in mind that your paywall and/or online video platform may take a commission or charge a transaction fee. This won’t be a big deal if you plan ahead and tack that small percentage onto your price.
4. Choose a Streaming Platform for Your Videos
Now that you know how you want to monetize your videos, choose a live streaming platform that has the tools to host and deliver your content to your audience, and make it happen.
If you are going with a subscription or pay-per-view method, it is important to choose a platform that includes a secure paywall.
5. Determine the Best Method of Distribution
So you know who your audience is going to be and what kind of content you’re going to create for them, but how are you going to get it to them?
If you are creating an on-demand video platform, you’ll want to figure out how you will bring people to your site. If you’re monetizing with ads, standard methods of content distribution, like SEO, social media marketing, email newsletters, etc., should do the trick.
It is important to keep distribution and promotion at the back of your mind as you produce your content because it will be easier for you if you create promo materials as you go.
6. Create Your Videos
If you are live streaming, this is pretty straightforward. You set up your equipment and click “Start Streaming.”
However, creating pre-recorded and edited video content can be difficult at first, but it becomes much more manageable with practice.
We recommend working on a small project to get a feel for producing, recording, and editing content. Of course, you have the option to hire a skilled team to do this, but if it is your project, you’ll want to have some idea of the process.
7. Upload to Your Video Platform
Once your videos are edited to your content, upload them to your OVP. This should be very straightforward on most platforms.
8. Create Playlists and Channels
Depending on your online video platform, you likely have the option to create playlists, channels, or packages. This allows you to group similar content.
This is particularly useful in instances where you’re selling video courses or training sessions. It makes it easy for viewers to access related content in the sequence that makes the most sense.
9. Create Your Website
Part of selling video online requires an on-brand platform for users to access your content. To start out, an easy-to-navigate website should do the trick. Make sure the design is clean and professional.
Netflix is a good platform to use as inspiration for this step. It is well-designed and very user-friendly. Take a look at Hulu for an example of what not to do. Many argue that their platform was not designed with the user in mind.
Depending on which OVP you use, embedding videos on your platform should be as easy as copying and pasting a small snippet of code.
10. Promote Your Platform
Earlier, we mentioned figuring out a distribution method for your content so that you’d have a good idea of how to promote it when the time came. Establishing that early on also allows you to create appropriate promo materials as you produce your actual content.
Once you’ve got your site ready to go with your first batch of content published, it is time to promote your platform. After you’ve launched your campaign, you can sit back and watch the sales roll in.
11. Plan for the Future
A website is plenty enough to get started, but if you’re looking to scale this platform in the future, it is a good idea to develop apps for mobile streaming on smartphones and tablets. Smart TV apps are also a plus here.
The goal should be to make your content as accessible to your target audience as possible.
Different Types of Online Streaming
These three monetization methods can be applied to a couple of different types of online streaming. The two main types of content are live videos and on-demand videos.
The on-demand video refers to the type of online video you can find on YouTube or Netflix, where a library of content is available. Viewers choose what they want to watch, and then they play it back in their own time.
On-demand video content can be monetized with SVOD, AVOD, and TVOD. Netflix uses SVOD exclusively, but Hulu uses a combination of AVOD and SVOD. iTunes and Prime video both offer TVOD options for on-demand content.
Live streaming, on the other hand, is the act of broadcasting content in real-time over the internet. As opposed to video on demand (VOD) content, live streaming is ideal for sports, concerts, church services, conferences, and similar gatherings.
You can also use any of the three monetization methods with Live streaming. Which you choose will depend on the nature of your content. For example, sports broadcasters typically offer “season passes” where fans pay one fee to watch all of the live sporting events throughout the season, which could be considered either a subscription or pay-per-view.
However, special events are often exclusively pay-per-view. In recent years, celebrity MMA fights have become some of the top-earning pay-per-view live streams.
While we’re discussing the different types of live video streaming on the internet, it is important to point out that any type of online video content is made accessible largely in part by the HTML5 video player technology.
The all-device HTML5 video player has played a huge role in making mobile streaming a possibility, and mobile devices make up a large portion of the devices used to access online video content.
Whether you go the route of live streaming or on-demand, you’ll need a video hosting service. Such streaming solutions, like the Dacast online video platform, are equipped to serve your video to viewers all over the world. The most familiar video host is YouTube, but it doesn’t provide great features for selling content.
Video Monetization by Industry
As we mentioned, choosing a niche is a very important step in selling videos online since it helps you narrow down your audience and create highly targeted content.
Here are some tips and ideas for monetizing content in different industries.
1. Fitness and Health
The ability to work out from home with the support of your favorite trainer is a win for busy people and fitness coaches alike.
Many fitness coaches are creating and monetizing virtual fitness classes. Many fitness instructors are allowing students to work out with them live than making the video of the session available for on-demand playback after the class has ended.
This is particularly popular with no to low equipment classes, such as yoga, pilates, step aerobics, boot camps, Insanity, and the like.
2. Sports BroadcastingOnline sports broadcasting is also currently a profitable trend. Sports fans are turning to online streaming platforms for easy access to their favorite sports teams.
Online steaming comes with many benefits as opposed to the traditional television alternative. For starters, online streaming makes it possible to catch games and matches on the go.
Also, many sports teams only have local coverage, even if the team is part of a national league or association. Online broadcasting means sports fans can watch their favorite teams in real-time, no matter where they are tuning in from.
As a sports broadcaster, there are several ways you can go with monetization. You can use one or all of the three popular monetization methods.
For one-time events, like special MMA fights, pay-per-view is typically a good way to go. For team sports, “season passes” billed in a subscription-style are a good way to go.
Advertisements are often mixed in with both of these models unless subscribers pay extra for ad-free streaming.
3. Online Education
Independent educators in all subjects are digging into the online learning space. They offer non-accredited courses for a fee that is less than what colleges and other post-secondary institutions charge.
Sometimes, this content is supplemental for college classes, and other times it is designed to teach skills to people who are avoiding college altogether.
There are a lot of platforms with classes on cryptocurrency, online entrepreneurship, stocks, investing, and personal finance. Some more niche courses teach people how to get better at networking, sports coaching, teaching music lessons, and more. The sky is truly the limit here.
These educators use a mix of all three monetization methods. Some charge for access to one course at a time with pay-per-view. Others only monetize with ads if their viewers will have a lower or unquantifiable return on investment. Subscription-based monetization is also popular for instructors who have large libraries of related content.
This type of content is particularly trendy right now since people are seeing the value in e-learning online aside from institutions with potentially biased curriculums.
4. EntertainmentAnother great way to make money selling videos online to build an entertainment-based platform like Netflix or Hulu.
These platforms use a subscription-based approach and provide access to large libraries of content. Hulu, for example, actually uses a model that is a blend of ads and subscriptions which is another viable approach.
Although it is less popular, Prime Video has an equivalent bank of content, but they use pay-per-view streaming to allow users to buy access to specific episodes, seasons, or movies.
The key to success here is getting contracts with a few major television series or films. Exclusive deals will force viewers to come to your streaming platform for that one film or series, and if you do it right, they will stick around for the other content on your platform.
You can also produce binge-worthy content of your own. This may be more successful as you build your brand, but creating original entertainment content is typically the long-term goal of businesses that use this model.
5. Live Events Streaming
Live event streaming is a major cash cow right now since people are trying to find ways to stay connected while staying physically distant. Businesses are charging admission to virtual events like concerts, motivational speaking events, and webinars.
Pay-per-view is typically the best way to go for monetizing special event live streaming.
The Importance of Using a Secure Paywall
If you are using SVOD or TVOD, transactions between you and the viewer are part of the process. You’ll use a video paywall to facilitate this exchange.
Since there are money and sensitive information involved, security must be a priority. Make sure that the paywall on your video hosting platform uses high-level security encryption. If there is not a secure paywall built-in, make sure one can be integrated.
Ensuring an unbeatable level of security is important to not only protect your viewers’ financial information but to maintain a trusting relationship. A security breach could destroy every ounce of trust your viewers have in your platform, which could force them to go elsewhere for video content.
Tips for Success in Selling Streaming Videos Online
Some people assume that simply having great content is enough and that good videos will sell themselves. That may be true in certain industries, but it’s not always the case with selling online video. For these reasons, you may be asking yourself: “how do I charge viewers to watch my video online?
The answer is that in this market, video sales require marketing. To be successful, you have to be out there actively promoting your videos to your target audience. With that in mind, here are some key tips on how to sell videos online:
- Choose the right price. Too high can decrease sales, but increases the revenue per sale. Too low means lots of sales don’t add up to much. Find the sweet spot.
- Start promotion early. Target your audience well before your event begins, and consider some sort of “early bird special” or presale price to reward early buyers.
- Recruit partners. Your sales will be much better if other established businesses, bloggers, or prominent individuals in your market are helping you spread the word. This could be done in the style of influencer marketing.
- Have the technical aspects prepared ahead of time. There is nothing worse than technology issues in the middle of a broadcast, especially if you’ve got paying customers who are now missing what they’ve paid for.
The final element is up to you: make great videos. As they say, content is king.
No matter what industry you’re in, we’re sure that this blog post has equipped you with the knowledge you need to start strategizing for selling videos online. SVOD, AVOD, and TVOD are the most popular video monetization options, but keep in mind that you can use a combination of any of these methods.
There is no right or wrong way to monetize your video content, so as long as the method you choose makes sense for your audience, you’re good to go.
If you’re not yet streaming with Dacast and want to try our platform for yourself, you’re in luck. Our 30-day free trial lets you test out our features for yourself before committing.
Simply sign up for a Dacast account to start streaming live today. No credit card required.
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Thanks for reading, and good luck with your live broadcasts.
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