How To Make Money Broadcasting Live Video

How To Make Money Broadcasting Live Video

Broadcasting live video can be rewarding in so many ways. Live streamers can gain personal satisfaction, an outlet for creative expression, a means to share information, or simply a platform with which to communicate. Live streaming can also be rewarding in a more pragmatic way: by generating revenue from your streams.

If you’re interested in monetizing your video content, how do you get started? What’s the best approach for you to make money by broadcasting live video? There are several methods for monetizing video via live streaming. Some of these approaches are direct; others are indirect. You can monetize directly with pay per view streaming or by requiring subscriptions from your viewers. You can sell advertising for your broadcast or form a relationship with one or more sponsors. Additionally, you can use crowdfunding to let others play a part in the creation of new content.

Each of these methods comes with benefits and disadvantages. Many of our other blog posts discuss these monetization options in terms of videos in general. In this article, however, let’s explore each money-making method in relation to broadcasting live video specifically.

Pay Per View and Subscription

broadcasting live videoThe most straightforward way to make money from broadcasting live video is to charge your viewers for access. A few video streaming platforms include a paywall option. We’re experienced at this approach; DaCast was the first to integrate a paywall option as part of our streaming solutions! There are also third-party options that you can add to a server, such as InPlayer.

So what is a “paywall”? In a nutshell, a paywall is an arrangement that requires payment before a viewer can activate the broadcast. It works for both broadcasting live video and with on-demand content. Pay per view is the simplest paywall setup, requiring payment on a “per view” basis. The viewer pays a fee and can then watch a given broadcast for a specified period of time.

A slightly more sophisticated approach is to take subscriptions. This is the approach of live stream tv companies like Netflix and Amazon. 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. Today, most streaming platform services (including DaCast) can set up this option as well.

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 who is willing to pay. Neither method requires a very large audience to generate revenue, although certainly the more paying viewers, the better!

Advertising and Sponsorship

broadcasting live videoAnother way to make money from broadcasting live video is by selling advertising. The ads appear in the lower thirds of your video or as clips before your broadcast begins. As a result, the ads interrupt your programming as with standard television commercials. This was, of course, the monetizing method used by network radio and television stations long before the Internet existed.

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

The downside of advertising is that it requires a large viewing audience before advertisers become interested in buying space. With fewer than a million projected viewers, it’s unlikely that a broadcaster will be able to sell any ads at all with many of the available networks. Another potential downside is a disruption of the aesthetic quality and overall professionalism of your stream. Third-party ads can detract from viewing experiences. They can also detract from your own autonomy over your content.

Sponsorship is similar to advertising in some ways. Sponsorship involves a sponsor who bankrolls 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

Not sure if ads and sponsorship are the right way to go for you and your viewers? Another way to monetize via broadcasting live video is by driving traffic to a website where the broadcaster is selling another product or service. This method follows the usual rules of SEO (search engine optimization), like with a blog or website. Traffic-driving targets click-through and conversion: a follow-up action that results in generation of revenue. Rather than selling advertising, in this case the video broadcast is the advertising.

The advantage of this form of monetization is that it requires the least commitment from your viewers. You don’t ask the viewers to pay for the privilege. You don’t ask them to sit through ads. All you ask is that they watch the video, and then you hope that this will lead them to the desired follow-up. If you plan to stream live video on your website via an online video platform like DaCast, this could be a great option for you.

The biggest disadvantage of this approach is that it’s uncertain. The product or service 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.


broadcasting live videoPerhaps the most innovative way to make money from live broadcasting is through crowdfunding (also known as crowdsourcing). Crowdfunding uses web sites such as Kickstarter, Patreon, and Indiegogo to present creative projects and ask for donations. Most crowdfunding campaigns usually offer rewards to those who donate in threshold amounts. Some sites (such as Kickstarter) favor donations in one-time amounts. 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 fund broadcasting live video ventures as well. Rewards for donations can include subscriptions to the broadcast itself if using a paywall model. Otherwise, rewards can include products, accessories, downloadable copies of the saved broadcasts–really anything your imagination can think up!

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. We all know that good, authentic video can be a good way to attract attention. If you’re broadcasting live video, so much the better. What’s more authentic than that?


broadcasting live videoThere are many ways to make money by broadcasting live video. We covered a spectrum of viable options in this article. These range from direct approaches such as pay per view to highly indirect methods such as a crowdfunding campaign. The best approach for you depends upon several factors. These factors include: 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.

What if you want to offer your broadcast free to viewers? What if you don’t have the audience size to make advertising an effective strategy? Not to worry! A more non-traditional approach can still generate revenue. Sometimes you just need to get creative.

Not yet using a streaming service, and interested to give DaCast a try? Why not sign up for our 30-day free trial (no credit card required) to test out all the features for yourself?


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By Elise Lagarde.