What is Video Monetization? The Complete Guide for Creators

Video Monetization: The Art of Making Money from Video

If you subscribe to a service from a link on this page, Reeves and Sons Limited may earn a commission. See our ethics statement.

What is Video Monetization?

In simple terms, video monetization the process of generating income or revenue through the use of video content. While most people associate video monetization with channels like YouTube or Twitch, you can actually monetize just about any content (live or on demand) on any platform your customers can access. All you need is the right content, and a monetization strategy.

There are various ways for today’s content creators to monetize their videos. Perhaps the most common video monetization method is charging customers for “access” to your online videos. In other words, people pay you to watch whatever you share online. However, broadcasters can also generate revenue by partnering with sponsors, inserting ads into content, creating product reviews (for payments, or selling video platform subscriptions.

These days, you can even create your own streaming service from scratch with the right tools.

Most of the time, generating revenue from video content requires an investment in one of the following business models:

  • Access to individual content: If you create high-quality content, you’ll be able to charge your customers for the opportunity to access it. Think of how educators charge customers to access video courses and webinars. You can also charge people to download a video.
  • Access to your audience: Another option is to charge other promoters and businesses for an opportunity to interact with your audience and generate potential leads. For instance, advertisers with a product or service will pay to place one of their ads in your content if they believe you already have access to the right target audience.
  • Access to your platform: Broadcasters can also consider creating a subscription model, where they charge users to access premium content, or a complete library of videos. This can be a smart strategy if you have a lot of content to offer, and you want to unlock recurring revenue for your business.

Let’s take a closer look at some of the main video monetization options and how they work.

VOD Monetization Models

While it’s possible to monetize live video streams, by charging for access to webinars and live events, the majority of video monetization strategies are built around “Video on Demand”, otherwise known as “VOD”. With video on demand, users can access a video at any time, at the push of a button.

Even a Youtube video with its own ads uses the VOD model.

There are three primary video monetization models for video on demand, let’s take a closer look.

SVOD: Subscription Video on Demand

SVOD or Subscription Video on Demand models provides customers with access to your entire library of video content, in exchange for an annual, weekly, or monthly fee. Think about the service you get from Netflix, Hulu, HBO Max, or Amazon Prime. You need to continue paying your subscription every month to access videos from their libraries.

Many viewers are comfortable with subscription services because they believe they’re getting the most value for their money. Instead of paying individually for each video, they can leverage all the content they want with one recurring payment. At the same time, business leaders benefit because they can access ongoing, recurring revenue.

Perhaps the best thing about the SVOD model is you can continue to make revenue, even if you’re not actively creating new content all the time. As more people sign up to your service, you make more money per video, which you can then invest in creating new content or expanding your library. The key to success is making sure you’re delivering the content and service customers want.

TVOD: Transactional Video on Demand

Transactional video on demand is a slightly simpler option than SVOD, intended for people who create a wide range of different kinds of content, which may appeal to different people. Rather than paying for access to a full library, people purchase access to one video at a time.

Depending on your strategy, you can choose to allow customers to purchase life-time access to the video, or you may allow them to access the content only for a short period. If you’ve ever used the Sky Box Office service, or bought an Apple TV pass for your favorite show, you might be familiar with TVOD and how it works.

TVOD can be a highly profitable business model for companies in the right market. It ensures customers can more effectively select the exact videos they want to watch, rather than paying for access to a full library they might not use. TVOD can also be combined with strategies for selling live video services. For instance, you might charge for one-time access to a live streaming event, webinar, or online conference.

AVOD: Advertising Video on Demand

Finally, AVOD is probably one of the most common video monetization strategy most people are familiar with today. It involves a company offering slots within their video to advertisers, to help them reach their target audience. This is the video monetization method channels like YouTube are built around. Unless you pay for YouTube Premium, you’re likely to encounter a variety of ads throughout each video you watch on the platform.

Advertising Video on Demand can be an excellent option for business leaders who want to provide customers with access to their content for free, while still ensuring they make money. However, in order to generate a significant profit from this method, you’ll need to commit to making sure as many people are watching and interacting with your videos as possible.

It’s also worth noting that AVOD puts you at the mercy of the platform you’re using to monetize your content. For instance, in recent years, YouTube ad revenue has begun to drop drastically, making it much harder for users to make a living using ad-based services. As a result, many companies are combining AVOD with other forms of video monetization to increase revenue.

What Kinds of Videos can Be Monetized?

So, exactly which kinds of videos can you make money from? The options are pretty expansive, but it’s worth remembering there are some rules out there when it comes to what you can sell and promote. In general, you’ll need to ensure you’re familiar with global content guidelines – the rules governing what companies can promote for profit in content.

In most cases, you won’t be able to monetize any content that is:

  • Copyright protected: All videos you monetize need to be original and belong specifically to you. In other words, you need to consistently use your own intellectual property. Don’t take content from other shows or films to add to your pieces.
  • Adult themed: In most cases, overly “adult” themed content is generally against the rules for most payment gateways and hosts. While the limitations here can vary, it’s important to check the rules for any platforms you’re using.
  • Controversial: Controversy can be difficult to avoid in the marketing world. However, it’s best to stay away from any videos that might be linked to problematic subjects like self-harm, hate speech, illegal activities, and so on.

Notably, while the guidelines above will apply to most video monetization strategies, each platform and solution available for video monetization will have its own rules to follow. Video creators need to be careful they’re following the guidelines provided for their revenue sharing, partner program, and even adsense monetization models.

For instance, if you’re promoting content with ads on YouTube, you’ll need to avoid a huge range of potential violations, such as posting “repetitious” content, or wrongfully flagged content. YouTube also reserves the right to suspend, demonetize and shut down channels whenever they like.

Where Can you Monetize Videos?

When most people talk about monetizing videos, YouTube is the first channel to come to mind. As one of the world’s biggest search engines, YouTube is essentially the go-to place for vide content for most consumers and brands. It has amazing reach, and a huge existing audience. However, it’s not without its challenges.

While YouTube might be an excellent tool to help you reach the right audience when it’s used correctly, it also comes with millions of competitors to fight against. Additionally, in general, YouTube and social media platforms are rarely the best solution for monetizing video, as they give you very little control over your content and audience.

YouTube and similar channels might help you boost your exposure, but you won’t be able to control how your content is distributed. Your videos may be drowned in ads, to the point where you end up losing the respect and loyalty of your followers. Additionally, you’re going to be subject to a lot of advertising and monetization guidelines which could hamper your growth.

Though there are a handful of successful content creators on YouTube, around 95% of content producers say they struggle to make ends meet. In general, you’ll find you have much better opportunities using your own website or platform for video hosting and monetization.

Not only can you decide exactly which videos you want to monetize, and how you’re going to make money, but you get to maintain complete control over your content and audience. You can even consider monetizing existing content on your website using “video paywalls”.

Video paywalls are common for TVOD and SVOD monetization, as they restrict access to digital content, requiring users to pay for a subscription or purchase a video before they can leverage the content. Video paywalls are excellent for generating interest in your content too. You can offer some content on your website for free, while blocking the rest behind a paywall.

3 Effective Tips for Monetizing Video Content

Although there are a few hazards and challenges you’ll need to avoid when you start working on monetizing video content, the good news is there are plenty of great ways to get started. The key to success is finding the right strategy for your customers, content, and brand.

Here are some top tips for making the most out of your monetized content.

Create your own Platform

Many beginners looking for ways to monetize video content start with pre-existing platforms like YouTube and Twitch. While these platforms can be great for developing an avid following of potential customers, they also come with a lot of problems. Your channel can be shut down almost without warning, and you won’t maintain ownership over your community.

The easiest, and most effective option is to create your own video on demand or streaming platform where you can monetize your videos. In other words, create a community space you have complete ownership over, which you can monetize however you like. Having your own platform will mean you can maintain creative control over your videos, stay agile with your strategy, and set your own prices.

There are all-in-one platforms available online today, such as Uscreen, Dacast, Podia, and many others which will allow you to build and monetize your own video solution. With these tools, you can move beyond YouTube monetization, and start selling real-time access to everything from sporting events, to tutorials and webinars.

Consider a Range of Monetization Options

Once you have a platform which allows you to maintain complete ownership over your content and your community, it’s time to explore your monetization options. As mentioned above, there are a range of different strategies you can try – but you don’t have to limit yourself to just one option.

You might start by using sponsored ads and affiliate marketing strategies to generate revenue. Once you start building a dedicated following, you can start thinking about selling one-time videos, and access to events through a TVOD strategy.

Perhaps the most lucrative way to ensure you’re making long-term revenue, is to create a subscription offer. The SVOD model is the most popular strategy for most content creators because it ensures you can make a consistent income, and scale over time. With a SVOD strategy, you can ensure you’re consistently making money on your existing videos, which means you have more freedom to create new videos and content at your own pace.

It's worth making sure you do get the pricing right with a SVOD model, however. Evaluate the existing solutions in your industry, and ask yourself how you can make a profit while still being competitive.

Explore OTT Video Options

Finally, once you’ve begun working on your video monetization strategy, it’s worth thinking about how you can get your content in front of as many eyes as possible. Many of the top video creation and monetization platforms available today come with the option to create an app which leverages the “OTT” or Over the Top Streaming model.

Essentially, this means you can show your content to customers on more than just your website. With OTT technology, you can stream content through Apple TV, Amazon Fire, Roku, and countless other platforms, which allow users to download apps straight to their TV. If your business has its own OTT app, this means users will be able to access it more easily, anywhere.

Launching an OTT solution can be an excellent way for video and content creators to increase their profit potential. It allows paying customers to watch the content they love on their favorite devices, without having to load-up a browser on their computer or smartphone. Using an OTT platform is also a lot simpler than most companies realize, provided you have access to the correct platforms.

The Steps involved in Monetizing Video Content

At a glance, the steps involved in monetizing video content can seem complex, particularly when you consider just how many monetization methods, platforms, and tools are available on the market today. However, the reality is monetizing video is a lot easier than it seems. Here’s how you can get started with just a few steps:

  • Step 1: Create your content plan: To begin, you’ll need to figure out what kind of video content you’re going to be creating and monetizing. Think about the target audience you’re trying to reach, their interests, and what kind of questions they want to answer. Examine your competitors for inspiration if you don’t know where to begin, but don’t simply copy and paste their content strategy. Try to create something unique.
  • Step 2: Choose a platform: Once you have a content plan, the next step is selecting a platform for your video monetization strategy. Ask yourself whether you need your platform to support VOD, live streaming, or both. Look at the monetization options on offer, and whether the platform is white-label or brandable. Think about whether you can use the tool to access OTT services too, if you want to reach customers through their TVs.
  • Step 3: Produce content: Next, you’ll need to start producing your content. This step will vary depending on the exact type of video content you want to host and share. However, you’ll likely need to access a high-quality video camera and recording system. Ensure you have the right software and tools in place to edit your content and make it look as professional as possible. Avoid any low-quality or jumpy content.
  • Step 4: Configure your monetization strategy: With your content in place, you’ll be able to start leveraging the tools you need to monetize whatever you create. The majority of platforms on the market today will make it easy to set up all kinds of video monetization options, whether you’re looking for ads, or you want to set up subscription services. Make sure you follow the rules of the platform to avoid any issues.
  • Step 5: Track and optimize: Finally, use your hosting platform to track the success of your content, and make sure you’re constantly optimizing your plan. Keep a close eye on what kind of videos generate the most money and engagement. Learn from your customers by paying attention to their reviews and testimonials. You can even access analytics and reporting tools to help you make better business decisions.

Finishing Thoughts

The age of video monetization has definitely arrived. Today, you don’t necessarily need your own Vimeo, or YouTube channel to create a revenue stream. Video opportunities come in a host of different formats, from pay-per-view transactions, to sponsorships, video ads and video marketing.

Plus, with the best video monetization platforms, you’ll have no problem taking your content to the masses. All you need to do is figure out which monetization policies and strategies you’re going to be using. Remember, every strategy, from hosting content on an online video platform, to selling a monthly subscription for content, has rules and guidelines to follow.

You’ll need to ensure you’re using a platform for the right monetization features, setting up the right community guidelines where necessary, and of course, producing the right type of content. However, if you can master the art of video monetization, you may find your video business becomes a huge success.

Rebekah Carter

Rebekah Carter is an experienced content creator, news reporter, and blogger specializing in marketing, business development, and technology. Her expertise covers everything from artificial intelligence to email marketing software and extended reality devices. When she’s not writing, Rebekah spends most of her time reading, exploring the great outdoors, and gaming.

shopify popup new
shopify light modal wide - this exclussive deal expires