How To Make Money Broadcasting Live Video

How To Make Money Broadcasting Live Video

Broadcasting live video can be rewarding in many ways, including personal satisfaction, expression of creativity, providing information, and getting  a point across. It can also be rewarding in a simpler way: by making money.

How to make money broadcasting live video is a question with more than one answer. There are several ways to monetize your live streaming, some direct, some indirect. You can do it directly with pay per view live broadcasting or by requiring subscriptions. You can sell advertising for your broadcast or form a relationship with one or more sponsors. You can use crowdfunding to let people play a part in the creation of new content.

Each of these methods has good and not so good aspects, and we’ve discussed most of them before about videos in general. Let’s explore each of them in relation to live broadcasting specifically.

Pay Per View and Subscription

How To Make Money Broadcasting Live VideoThe most straightforward way to make money from live streaming is to charge people to watch it. A few streaming platform services include a paywall option, with DaCast being one of the first to do so. There are also third party options that can be added to a service, such as InPlayer. In a nutshell, a paywall is an arrangement that requires payment before a viewer can activate the broadcast. It works for either live streaming or on-demand video. Pay per view is the simplest paywall setup, requiring payment on a “per view” basis: the viewer pays a fee and can then watch the broadcast for a period of time.

A slightly more sophisticated approach is to take subscriptions. This is the way that Netflix and Amazon do things. A monthly or other periodic fee allows the viewer to watch any number of videos or broadcasts during that month. It’s an elaboration of the simple pay per view arrangement and again, most streaming platform services can set this up.

As with other ways of making money from live streaming, paywall methods have advantages and drawbacks. The advantage is that it allows immediate returns and presents the viewer with high-quality viewing. Your broadcast isn’t encumbered by ads or endorsements. The downside is that it requires a greater commitment from your viewers. While people will pay to watch good, interesting video, it’s a fact that charging for anything reduces traffic. You won’t have as many viewers if you charge as you will by offering the broadcast free, all else being equal. For that reason, pay per view and subscription work best for broadcasts with a dedicated audience that are willing to pay. Neither requires a very large audience to generate revenue, although certainly the more paying viewers the better.

Advertising and Sponsorship

How To Make Money Broadcasting Live VideoAnother way to make money from live broadcast is to sell advertising. The ads appear in the lower thirds of your video or as clips before your broadcast begins and/or interrupting it like standard television commercials. This is, of course, the monetizing method used by network radio and television stations long before the Internet even existed.

Again, there are advantages and disadvantages to advertising as a way to make money from live broadcast. On the plus side, it requires less in the way of commitment from a viewer. They don’t have to pay money, just spend a little extra time enduring commercials.

The downside of advertising is that it requires a large viewing audience before advertisers will be interested in buying space. With less than a million projected viewers, it’s unlikely that a broadcaster will be able to sell ads at all with many of the available networks.

Sponsorship is similar to advertising, but involves a sponsor bankrolling your video broadcast in return for what amounts to informal advertising. This usually takes the form of endorsement of the sponsor in the video itself. Sponsorship is sometimes possible with smaller broadcasts that would have a hard time attracting conventional advertising. On the other hand, it’s a long-term venture and can be difficult to set up.

Driving Traffic to a Web Site

Another use of video to make money is to drive traffic to a web site where the broadcaster is selling another product or service. This is similar to use of any other web content such as blog articles or photos. It follows the usual rules of search engine optimization and aims at click-through and conversion: a follow-up action that results in generation of revenue. Rather than selling advertising, the video broadcast in this case is advertising.

The advantage of this form of monetization is that it requires the least commitment from viewers as viewers. You don’t ask the viewers to pay for the privilege. You don’t ask them to sit through ads. You ask only that they watch the video, and hope that this will lead them to the desired follow-up.

The biggest disadvantage is that it’s uncertain. The product or service being offered for sale, and how the click-through opportunity is presented and organized, make as much difference here as the quality and subject matter of the video itself.


How To Make Money Broadcasting Live VideoPerhaps the most innovative way to make money from live broadcasting is through crowdfunding (also known as crowdsourcing). This uses web sites such as Kickstarter, Patreon, and Indiegogo to present creative projects and ask for donations, usually offering rewards to those who donate in threshold amounts. Some sites (such as Kickstarter) favor donations in one-time amounts, while others (such as Patreon) slide more easily into a subscription model, with contributors offering commitments of monthly donations. You can use a crowdfunding campaign to request funding for your broadcasting efforts. Rewards for donations can include subscriptions to the broadcast itself if using a paywall model; otherwise they can take the form of products, accessories, downloadable copies of the saved broadcasts — really anything your imagination can suggest.

In addition to funding broadcasting itself, videos can add a lot to crowdfunding campaigns for other endeavors. According to Kickstarter, including a video in your presentation will increase your chances of success with a crowdfunding campaign by about half. Other factors for success include the project itself, the marketing campaign, and the rewards offered. A good, authentic video is a good way to attract attention, and if it’s a live broadcast, so much the better: what’s more authentic than that?


There are many ways to make money from live streaming video. These range from direct approaches such as pay per view to highly indirect methods such as using video for SEO purposes and as part of a crowdfunding campaign. The best approach will depend on the number of viewers you can expect, how dedicated your fans are, and whether video is your sole endeavor or part of a more varied offering.

Even if you offer your broadcast free to viewers and don’t have the audience size to use advertising, a more non-traditional approach can still generate revenue. Sometimes you just need to get creative.

By Elise Lagarde.