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6 Ways to Monetize Live Streams — Everything You Need to Get Started

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Live streaming is getting more popular by the day, and you’re probably already aware of that. According to a 2018 survey, 80% of the U.S. population stated they either watched a live stream video or used a streaming app every week. And considering expert predictions that by 2020, 82% of consumer internet traffic will consist of videos (as found on Biteable), the popularity of streaming is only bound to grow too. And considering it’s 2020 already, well… you can do the math. That’s why we decided to create this guide on how to monetize live streams to help you start earning today!

Let’s assume you’ve already read two of our previous articles and now know how to set up a successful live stream and how to embed it on your website. The next logical step would be, of course, to want to earn money from your streaming endeavor! So let’s cut to the chase — here are six methods you can use to monetize your live streams:

But before we tell you more about them, we first have to address the elephant in the room.

Why Monetize Live Streams in the First Place?

Considering the data we laid out for you above, now is the perfect time to focus on the power of online video and live streaming. Many brands and publishers around the world are already seizing this opportunity. Some are even calling this day and age the video live streaming gold rush. Of course, none of this would have been possible were it not for the massive introduction of accessible streaming services like Facebook Live, Twitch, YouTube Live, and many more.

But why is monetizing live video streaming so popular? Well, let us be blunt here — it is easy, and it brings in money. We don’t want to pull the we-live-in-a-capitalistic-society card, but it is true. Regardless if you are a business looking to promote their brand or up their marketing efforts or a layperson interested in earning a bit of extra money on the side by cashing in on their hobby, monetizing live streams is an excellent idea to have in mind.

So a better question than the one in the heading of this chapter would be, “Why not monetize live streams?”

6 Easiest Ways to Monetize Live Streams

Now we’ve come to the best part. Let’s dig right into our six picks on how to monetize live streams!

PPV Method (Pay-Per-View)

This monetization method might seem familiar to you, and that is because it is — it is reminiscent of traditional tickets! The way the PPV method works is straightforward — you charge your viewers an entry fee to your stream. In other words, they have to pay your virtual ticket to watch your broadcast.

“But why would my viewers pay to watch my stream when there are so many free ones out there?” you may ask. Well, that is where your content comes into play. If you have unique, quality content, your audience will be more than willing to cough up a few bucks. But if you only offer something they can find elsewhere for a lower or no price at all, of course no one is going to pay to watch it! So you have to ask yourself if your content is unique enough to warrant such a paywall before going through with the pay-per-view method.

Many world-renowned companies like Hulu and Amazon Prime have successfully implemented this monetization scheme. However, if you’re not an industry giant like them, you could start small. For example, a fantastic place to begin would be by applying the PPV method when live streaming events. After all, if people were there in-person, they’d have to pay for a ticket; it is only fair they do the same for the stream!

Get Subscriptions

Subscription-based models are likely one of the most popular live stream monetization methods out there. There are two variations of this monetization option.

On the one hand, you can hide your content behind a paywall. That way, all your viewers would have to pay a monthly fee (subscribe) to be able to view it. After that, they get a whole month of unlimited viewing time and access to all of your content. Streaming services like Netflix and Disney+ are perfect examples of such a business model.

On the other hand, video streaming platforms like Twitch offer a subscription model that doesn’t restrict any content; instead, it provides benefits like unique chat emotes, chat privileges, and notifications for those who decide to subscribe. However, the nature of the platform is immensely different from the previous two. Namely, content creators on it have other monetization methods at their disposal as well. This kind of subscription model is best used in conjunction with other live stream monetization schemes as it doesn’t provide a reliable source of income (unless you’re a platform giant).

So which of these two variants is better for your business? Well, it all depends on the type of content you offer and your needs. If you are into live streaming with the intent of offering a product or service, the first one will prove a better choice. But if your live streaming goals are interacting with and engaging your audience, the second one would likely be better suited. Just don’t forget to couple it with some of the other choices on our list for maximum profit!

Play Ads

We know most people frown or get frustrated when an ad pops up while they’re viewing a broadcast, but the numbers speak for themselves. According to the Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB), 67% of consumers around the world would rather settle for an ad-abundant but free viewing experience than have to pay a subscription fee. Add to the equation the fact that ad-based monetization schemes are some of the easiest ones to set up, and you have a winning business model!

So regardless of whether you want to put some ads on your stream or are an advertiser looking to get your videos to other people’s broadcasts, here are two of the different types of ads you can make use of:

Pre-, Mid-, and Post-Roll Ads

These are the most common types of advertisements found on video content; however, due to the nature of live streaming, mid-roll ads are the most effective ones. Essentially, these entail an ad playing at a designated part of the broadcast (the beginning, at any point during, or the end). 

Pros:

  • provides a short break for the broadcasters
  • viewers are unlikely to negatively react as they are already accustomed to them from years of TV consumption

Cons:

  • viewers are more likely to space out or leave rather than watch them, so conversion rates might be low
  • susceptible to ad blocking software

Companion Ads (Banners)

These types of ads are those wide banners that appear at the bottom of the video you’re viewing. They usually appear on the side of the player as well.

Pros:

  • distinct and straightforward to set up
  • they don’t affect the user’s viewing experience as much as other types of ads

Cons:

  • easy to overlook and remove
  • susceptible to ad blocking software

Overall, choosing ads as your go-to live stream monetization method is always a sound choice and a surefire way to bring in some revenue. They are perfectly suitable for both businesses and independent broadcasters.

Ask People to Donate

It should come as no surprise that donations are also part of our list. After all, many of your viewers would undoubtedly be willing to support your creative efforts if they just had a way! That is where the concept of crowdfunding comes into play.

Some live streaming platforms allow users to make single donations to their favorite streamers, which is probably a more attractive option for most supporters. That is because such donations are usually accompanied by a personalized message, which allows the users to interact with the streamer, as well as get a reply or a reaction from them.

Alternatively, the broadcasters can point their audience toward platforms like Patreon or SubscribeStar. These use a subscription-based model where, depending on the sum the benefactors wish to contribute monthly, they can earn different rewards or privileges. 

Just remember not to fall into the wrong kind of mindset when considering this option — you are not begging for money. Know that many businesses and independent creators have gotten their careers rolling by exclusively relying on donations. So who knows? Maybe you can too!

Get Sponsorships

This method is pretty straightforward in nature — a brand pays you to promote their product during your broadcast. You usually do that by dedicating a few minutes to talking about their services and demonstrating what they’re selling.

The advantages of this type of model are numerous for advertisers, so you’re likely to find a sponsor without much hassle. Brands realize the power of these types of ads that are immune to AdBlock, more dynamic than traditional advertisements, and include a personal touch. That is why so many of them are out there actively looking to give sponsorship deals.

And when it comes to broadcasters, it’s equally as lucrative. That is especially true if you’re just beginning your live streaming journey — you’ll likely earn more from sponsorships than ads until you get a sizable audience.

But how do you find sponsors? Well, for example, if you are a content creator on YouTube, you can head over to Famebit. It is an online service that helps connect brands to content creators. Otherwise, you can try reaching out to smaller brands you would be willing to promote yourself — most of them would be happy to take you up on the offer.

Drive Traffic to Your Website

Last but not least, live streaming may only be a means to an end for you, especially if you’re a sales-oriented business. This model might be one of the least demanding ones for your viewers since no one shoves a product in their face.

The way this works is simple — instead of playing ads while live, your full broadcast is, essentially, an advertisement for your business. Namely, you raise your brand awareness by being there and interacting with your audience. In this case, your goal is to intrigue your viewers enough so that they visit your website after the broadcast. As it is likely apparent, this method is tailored for businesses that focus on attracting more customers, but it can prove quite lucrative if you have an appealing and engaging live stream plan.

All in all, the most significant flaw of this model is that it is highly unreliable. That is because you entirely depend on your viewers doing a follow-up to your broadcast. That, unfortunately, leaves a lot of room for uncertainty. We advise you to apply this model only after you’ve already established yourself as a business and are just looking to boost your site’s organic traffic. In other words, don’t rely on this method if you can’t afford to see a negative balance after it.

So Which Method Is the Best?

There is no clear-cut answer to this question. All of these methods have their pros and cons, and some may be more suitable for your needs than others. All in all, we believe that having multiple sources of revenue is always the best choice. So why not try out several? You can always play some mid-roll ads during breaks, get a sponsor or two to feature occasionally, and direct your viewers to your Patreon before you finish your broadcast. 

We hope you found this article helpful! And if you’re looking for a video platform that can help you get started with your live stream monetization efforts, we at Brid.TV can help you out. Our platform can provide your business with a state-of-the-art video and live stream monetization solution. It supports the latest VAST/VPAID and offers pre-roll, mid-roll, and post-roll ads, and much more. Last but not least, if AdBlock is your greatest worry, we also provide a solution for that. If you think we can help you monetize your video content or have any questions, write to us, and we’ll get back to you briefly!

May all your streaming efforts prosper!

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