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How to Make Money Live Streaming: A Step-by-Step Guide

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If you are a video content creator or broadcaster, you probably want to know how to make money streaming. 

You must be already aware of how many OTT service providers like Hulu, HBO Now, Netflix, and others are earning billions. In 2020, eMarketer carried out a forecast of video subscription revenues for the first time and broke down US OTT subscription revenues by company. 

So, do you stand a chance in front of such OTT service giants? Absolutely, yes. 

If you look at the graph, Netflix’s share of total OTT subscription revenues is declining. This isn’t because there has been a decline in Netflix’s subscriber base but due to increased competition and a growing market. 

And the other good news is that there are various ways in which you can make money by streaming your videos online. 

OTT app usage is expected to grow to $120 billion and $200 billion industry by 2022 and 2024 respectively. 

Keeping this in mind, let’s learn about the nine different ways to make money streaming. We will also discuss why you should focus on launching your OTT platform. 

Let’s dive in.

What Is Video Monetization?

In simple terms, video monetization is the process of making money off the video content that you create and share online. 

There are mainly three types of monetization methods — 

SVOD (Subscription Video on Demand)

In an SVOD model, viewers have to pay a flat subscription fee to gain unlimited access to the platform library. The subscription fee can be paid monthly, half-yearly, or annually. 

AVOD (Ad-based Video on Demand)

Here, content creators earn revenue from advertisements. It’s completely free for users in exchange for watching ads. Businesses then charge a fee to advertisers to place commercial ad breaks in their content. 

TVOD (Transactional-based Video on Demand)

Also known as pay-per-view (PPV), viewers buy or rent videos one at a time. They get to pick and choose what they want to watch and only pay for that particular content.

Today, independent video content creators — fitness instructors, educators, and more — are existing alongside top brands. If you’re able to grow a community in your space, you can start monetizing your videos and make good money out of it. 

Making your content available over the internet that can be accessed through smartphones, smart TVs, or gaming consoles is called OTT (Over-the-top) streaming.  

OTT Video Monetization

Understand the different OTT monetization models

Live Streaming Statistics

Live streaming refers to the video being played over the internet in real-time. Sports events, concerts, video games, online classes can all be live-streamed. 

80% of audiences would rather watch a live video than read a blog. No wonder live streaming crossed 1.1 billion hours in 2019 alone. 

This rising popularity of live streaming can be attributed to the emerging technology and 5G network — making it possible for users to view content effortlessly. 

For video content creators, live streaming provides an opportunity to expand the viewership of their content. The global video streaming market size was valued at USD 59.14 billion in 2021 and is expected to grow at a CAGR of 21.0% from 2021 to 2028. 

All in all, live streaming is a great way to drive tons of revenue for your business. 

It is forecasted that the live streaming industry will generate USD 223.98 billion in revenue by 2028. 

Amidst stiff competition, OTT giants are seen taking several strategic initiatives, including mergers and partnerships. In 2019, a Sweden-based video distribution company named Hive Streaming, partnered with the U.S.based software company, Kaltura, Inc., to provide viewers with premium video delivery capabilities. 

Businesses today are constantly looking for ways to reach out to their customers and make more money. And rightfully, live streaming is all the rage right now. 

Top 9 Ways to Make Money Streaming in 2021

Once you’ve built up a regular audience, it will be easier to make money streaming online using the methods listed below. 

Launch a Subscription-Based Live Streaming Platform

Having a subscription-based streaming platform allows you to charge a recurring fee, usually monthly or annually, from your viewers to access unlimited content. 

It’s one of the most profitable video monetization business models, and it can be proven by the fact that 46% of viewers subscribe to two or more OTT services. Besides, it can be evident from the success of streaming services like Hulu, Netflix, and others. 

In the second quarter of 2021, Netflix alone had more than 209.18 million paying streaming subscribers worldwide. Here’s a graph below that shows how Netflix’s subscriber base has increased over the year. 

The subscribers get the advantage to access premium content ad-free, without any disturbance. 

While this model can bring in steady cash flow, it is only effective if you are producing content on a regular basis. Otherwise, your subscriber rate will drop out if you are not adding value for paying subscribers. 

Generate Revenue Through Ads

We all have sat through an advertisement before the video starts playing on Youtube. After years, Youtube has also introduced its Premium subscription plan to watch ad-free content.

Rather than having to pay to view content, viewers only need to watch the ad. 

Inserting advertisements into the stream has been the traditional way to make money from the live stream. You can either choose to place the ad at the start of the video or somewhere during the stream. 

Total revenue is based on the total number of people who see the ad. Broadcasters or producers collaborate with companies looking to run an ad with a similar target audience. 

Ad monetization is typically charged in terms of cost per one thousand views (the number can differ based on topics). The more viewers you have, the more money you can earn. 

However, creators feel that live ads aren’t a good source of income as the revenue is derived from a total number of views or clicks. 

The VOD (video-on-demand) content accumulates views over time, but live videos need to gather a massive number of live views in order to earn a significant amount of revenue. 

Find Sponsorships and Brand Deals

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Brand deals and sponsorships are another way on how to make money from streaming. Here you can engage with brands for mutual benefit. 

In fact, striking a deal with top brands is often a dream for creators. If you have a large following on your streaming platform, brands will reach out to you with offers. 

But even if they don’t, you can always strike the first conversation and reach out to them with a proposal. 

Promoting over live video is one of the most organic ways for brands as it makes the ad look a bit more trustworthy. There are various ways you can make a deal with brands for sponsorship — 

  •  Place banners or any other type of advertisement, such as product placement during your streams or on your profile page/channel; 

  •  Or, you can take sponsorships, where whole streams are sponsored by a brand. 

Most importantly, stick to brands that actually cater to your audience. You don’t want to ruin your reputation for a few sponsorships that might not fit well with the audience’s sentiments.

Sell Your Own Products/Merchandise

For video creators learning how to make money streaming, selling your own products or merchandise is a great opportunity. 

These products/merchandise can take several forms, including 

Digital products: tutorial guides, ebooks, and more

Merchandise: t-shirts, mugs, and more

It generally depends on your niche and what will be relevant for your viewers. Promoting your own brand on live steam can help you earn extra revenue from your other business. 

While selling self-sourced physical products may require high cash investment, there’s another viable alternative to it. You can provide the on-brand designs to a third-party company, who creates the product on-demand and ship it to your customers directly.

The commission will be lower but you won’t have to worry about dealing with the inventory and warehouse. 

Here’s an example of an Instagram Influencer MostlyeSane using Youtube to sell her merchandise

She shares her merchandise shop link in the description where you can easily buy items. 

Earn From Affiliate Commissions

Another popular way to make money streaming is to become an affiliate.

You simply need to promote a product or service – generally with a link – and receive a commission every time someone clicks or purchases from that link. 

You can even use promo codes instead of links for your viewers when they shop at the place you are promoting. 

Here’s how Andreaa, a makeup artist based in Paris, earns through affiliate marketing from all her videos. She creates a shop link for all the products displayed under a single platform, making it easy for viewers to shop. 

Here’s how it looks like — 

Every time a viewer buys from this link, she receives a certain amount of commission. 

Affiliate programs have low risks and are a great opportunity to start earning. But make sure to always provide relevant products or services to your subscribers for maximum conversions. 

Launch Pay-Per-View Content Platform

The pay-per-view model allows you to charge a certain amount for unlocking access to your live content. 

After the pandemic, people with all kinds of interests — movies, concerts, educational content, and more — are willing to pay to watch content. Of course, the content should be unique and add value, making it worth paying for. 

In other words, the content should have some kind of exclusivity that allures your audiences to pay and watch. Think of it as selling tickets for producing live content. 

If you have a platform built on Ventuno, you can easily add a paywall to your live stream. Besides, you get paid directly by your users and keep 100% of your revenue.

Start Coaching Through Live Streams

If you have the skills or knowledge that you think might be useful for other people, you can earn money by conducting workshops, seminars, or coaching. 

You can choose to have one-on-one conversations or conduct one-to-many coaching sessions and earn money from sharing them. 

You can also offer one-on-one lessons every month to the people who pledge your highest tier of support on Patreon

Many streaming platforms are evolving to adapt to different types of revenue streams. 

Earn From Fan Donations

Earning donations from your fans or loyal base of followers is another way to make money streaming. It also acts as a validation that your live video streaming career is moving in the right direction. 

In fact, a recent study revealed that the primary revenue model for live streaming is likely to change and viewers would instead donate money to performers. 

This will come as a huge relief to all content creators when fans would be able to support their favorite creators with donations. It will also open up opportunities to turn their passion for art, music, and videos into professions and get rewarded for their work. 

Today, most live streaming website providers allow you to make money by letting viewers send your donations. You can easily integrate services into your platform. 

One good example is Youtube, offering a tipping service named Super Chat

Viewers use tips to get their messages pinned in your channel’s chat windows. Besides, they can also buy chat animation and you get a commission for each purchase. 

Similarly, Facebook offers ‘Stars’ – a tipping service for viewers to buy and send it to the creator. For every star they purchase, you get $0.01. 

However, it is only available for members of Facebook’s Level Up program. 

Earn from Live Streaming on Third-Party Platforms

Why Should You Launch Your Own Live Streaming Platform?

We have constantly promoted the idea of launching your live streaming business on your platform. 

You can always choose to tie up with an existing active live streaming platform like Youtube that will allow you to broadcast. But it comes with its own set of restrictions, including but not limited to, monetization methods and revenue collection. 

Thankfully, many vendors are providing a SaaS platform that allows you to launch your own live streaming website and app — no coding required! 

Here are some reasons to consider launching your own live streaming platform. 

Gives You Additional Ways of Monetizing 

Today, Youtube has about 1.86 billion viewers as compared to 1.35 billion in 2016. 

Running your live stream on platforms like Youtube will help you reach a wide audience faster, but it offers certain limitations. 

First, you only start making money after a certain number of viewers. It also takes a certain cut from your total revenue. 

And second, it doesn’t let you run your own ads even if you want to. 

But the same is not the case with using SaaS platforms like Ventuno. It provides all possible ways of monetizing your streaming business, including SVOD, TVOD, and AVOD, and keep the total revenue. 

Helps Understand Your Users Better 

Another significant advantage of having your own live streaming platform is that you can collect data about your viewers. This data can be easily converted into insights for better strategizing. 

Some of the key metrics worth tracking are most-watched videos, average watch time, subscription drop rate, etc. 

Each of these KPIs will help you understand what is working for your business and the scope of improvement. For instance, if you see a sudden drop in your subscription renewal rate, the next step would be to figure out the reason — whether it is the content or the user experience.

In essence, having data about your customers ultimately leads to increased revenue and maximum ROI. 

OTT User Management

How to manage customers, partners, and employees of your OTT business in one place?

Get Full Control Of Your Platform

There’s always a certain amount of risk involved when you are using third-party platforms for live streaming. They can always shut down or worse, they can choose to delete your account. 

All the viewers that you have accumulated over time will vanish just like that. 

Having your own live streaming platform is always safer as compared to third-party platforms. Besides, there is no middleman involved.

In other words, it gives you full control of your platform — data access, user experience, video monetization, etc. 

Looking to launch your streaming app?

Nikita Agarwal

Nikita Agarwal