Monetizing your live streams
Monetizing live streams is highly recommended in a booming live streaming industry, with forecasts suggesting that it could potentially reach over $70 billion by 2021. Since the industry is rapidly developing, numerous online businesses are taking advantage and creating fresh (live) content.
The implications of this new type of content are huge. For one, marketing professionals are using it in campaigns and small websites. Live streaming works and it’s a real money maker for those willing to harness it.
This guide will focus on how you can monetize your live streams and how to make the most out of the content you produce, depending on your niche.
The Basics of Monetization
Despite the fact that the internet is riddled with live streams and videos, the market for premium live content continues to grow. With the democratization of new distribution models, more and more content producers are able to broadcast their live streams to wider audiences.
That being said, this field is highly competitive due to the fact that just about anyone can build a live stream website. Moreover, it could be done within a reasonable budget and without too much prior technical experience.
ùNevertheless, the main focus of your online live streaming business should be quality. This is the only way to reach the top and leave your competition in the dust.
How much should I charge?
As with just about any other type of business, people will be willing to pay according to the value they perceive. This is a good thing since you can effectively mold the perceived value of a live stream through different marketing techniques. First, you will have to create an ideal customer, a buyer persona for your product. Ask yourself these key questions:
- What is the ideal customer for you?
- How old is the ideal customer?
- Why is your product useful/valuable for your customer?
- How much would you comfortably pay for your product?
If that is not enough and you want to step up your game, start Facebook campaigns to A/B test your product.
Another interesting marketing concept is anchoring. Anchoring refers to the perceived value of a product by your customers. You can use anchoring to your advantage by presenting your viewers with differently priced packages – side by side.
For example, let’s say that you want to offer an annual subscription package for all of your live streams for $49. In this situation you can first present your customer with a different offer: a $249 lifetime subscription.
This will change your viewer’s perception on value and pricing that the first offer is, in fact, a great deal. This is just a simple example of how you can use psychology to change a viewers’ perception of your products. The good thing is that you can use techniques like this for most of the monetization options.
Monetizing live streams: Your options
Monetizing Free Live Streams
Free live streams are periodic broadcasts that you provide without expecting any payment in return. Free live streams may not be profitable in the short term but these streams can be part of your website’s sales funnel. With these free live streams, website visitors will be able to enjoy your content without any payment-related constraints. This means that the bulk of your traffic will go to these broadcasts.
One way to monetize free broadcasts is to promote affiliate products or other forms of advertising, like offering coupons or discount codes. For instance, you can start off your stream by spending a few minutes to showcase a certain product and then offer a discount code. You can receive a percentage of all orders made with that discount code or a lump sum for promoting the product. This depends on the deal you make with the website selling the product.
Donations are another great way to monetize your website’s free content. Online donations for content creators have been steadily growing in recent years. It is considered worthwhile to add a donation link somewhere on your live stream page. You can direct viewers to the donation link and thank them live for their contribution.
- Free live streams are the perfect opportunity to show your content to a larger audience. Since viewers don’t have to pay for the content, they are more likely to stick around and follow you.
- Free streams are relatively easy to produce, depending on the niche of your website. If you are running short on ideas, you can simply broadcast some of your recorded premium content with a live commentary.
- Can be a great way of advertising other products with discount codes or coupons.
- Free streams tend to consume the same amount of viewer hours as paid streams do, but with a lower ROI (Return on Investment).
- Affiliate products, for example, tend to have a very low conversion rate.
- A small percentage of users who watch free content will turn into paying customers.
Pay Per View Live Streams
Monetizing live streams with Pay per view live streams are one of the best ways to monetize your online business. Viewers who want to tune in to your broadcast will be required to pay a flat fee before they can see the live video.
This monetization option is a great solution for viewers who are willing to pay for your content but don’t want to commit to a monthly fee (yet). Most pay-per-view customers convert from free streaming customers to paying ones.
- Each individual broadcast can have its own price – think of a scenario where you have an important guest for a podcast and charge extra.
- The pay-per-view system allows viewers to try your premium content without having to commit to a subscription.
- You can offer reasonably priced live content, which in turn provides you with a higher overall conversion rate.
- Online payments are processed almost instantly, meaning that you can see the returns for your content in your bank account in a few days.
- Some users may watch a few pay-per-view live streams but abandon the website or lose interest after a while.
- Viewers may get weary of making payments every day/week to view the content that they like.
- Only a small amount of pay-per-view clients will opt for a subscription-based plan.
- Overall viewership is lower for pay-per-view live streams, than their free counterparts.
Subscription-Based Live Streams
The subscription monetization method means that viewers are required to pay a weekly/monthly/yearly fee before accessing some or all of your website’s premium content. This business model is more advantageous for the viewer, since they save money by “buying” content in bulk instead of paying for each live stream individually.
It’s worthy to note that the subscription monetization model will only work for a small percentage of your overall viewership. Specifically, the ones that are willing to make a commitment to view your streams regularly for at least 4 to 6 months, on average. Users who discovered your content only recently will be less inclined to opt for a subscription to your website since they did not have enough time to get hooked.
- Long-term savings – When a viewer opts for a subscription plan they are actually saving money, since buying all the content separately is more expensive.
- Stable income for your online business – Research has shown that once users commit to a website, they will remain subscribed for at least 4 to 6 months.
- Subscription-based plans help your online business by providing you with a monthly base income which you can estimate. This is great for long and mid term planning.
- Only a very small percentage of your viewers will become subscribers. This monetization option is more suitable for your die-hard fans, so don’t get discouraged if you get fewer subscribers.
- Most viewers are less inclined to make long term commitment plans or to opt for recurring billing.
- Subscribers are less likely to make donations and disapprove of ads in your live streams, since they already paid for the product.
Monetizing live streams: Hybrid Models
These are the most common and effective monetization systems for live streams. The good news is that you are not limited to only one monetization option. Think of a larger, hybrid monetization strategy that includes all of the options outlined above. You can make the most out of these models and minimize their drawbacks.
What Works For You?
While going through this article you might think that it’s too hard or difficult to implement these monetization options or better yet, to create a hybrid model.
That’s nothing further from the truth. Implementing these monetization options is easy with the WpStream platform, and you can also refer to our guide if you ever get stuck. Now let’s take a look at some examples of how you can use the platform and monetize your content:
Live Streaming Game Walkthroughs
Phil is a part time video editor and a part time gamer. His channel became widely popular on Twitch so he decided to upload several of his gameplay videos on YouTube as well. After a few of his videos were demonetized, Phil decided to take matters into his own hands and build his own website.
Since he is broadcasting playthroughs regularly six times a week, his monetization strategy is mostly focused on a subscription model, coupled with ads and donations from his Twitch fan base.
John is an actor, stand up comedian and podcaster with more than 10 years of experience in the business. He started his podcast a few years back as a means to generate more sales for his comedy shows but little by little the podcast became its own thing. Read up on how John started his podcast.
He decided to switch from YouTube and start his own website to keep his podcast episodes from being demonetized. Since he has full control over his content, he decides to offer recordings of his shows on his website, as well as live broadcasts when he is on the road.
As for the way it works, when monetizing live streams, users who want to see a particular live broadcast can purchase “tickets” directly from his website but his bigger fans opt for a subscription to access all the premium content.
Melissa is a law school student and takes her classes very seriously. She knows that by putting in the work in these few short years she will have a successful law career. Unfortunately, her peers are finding it a bit more difficult to stay up to date. Melissa can help them by broadcasting important classes for her colleagues with Zoom.
At first it was just a few notes for a friend, then video and now she is running a small online business. She opted for a primarily pay-per-view monetization model, since some students only want to watch a few broadcasts, every now and then. If her online business continues to grow, she might even create monthly subscription packages for different classes.
Live Streaming Movies
Mark is a movie buff who is always up to date on the latest blockbusters. He quickly started noticing bloopers in different films and uploaded a few videos of his findings on YouTube. Mark’s channel steadily grew in popularity and he also started to earn a little bit of income from ads. Two years into building his channel, it received a copyright strike from YouTube; and then another. Mark decided to build his very own platform to live stream and comment on different movies without having to worry about anyone deleting his channel or stopping his streams.
Broadcasting Live Sports Events
Rick is passionate about anything related sports betting – football, baseball, ping pong, you name it. His passion quickly turned into a steady income after starting to work on a channel focused on betting tips and odds – he offers free as well as premium betting tips every day on his evening live stream on his website.
Since his traffic has grown, he decided to start monetizing live streams by implementing a pay-per-view monetization system for his premium live streams. He is also offering a $18 montly subscription for all of his content, since his viewers complained about taking time to make payments every evening.
With WooCommerce being so flexible and easy to use, Rick decided to step it up a notch and started selling his very own E-book on sports betting – all under one website.
Live Stream Cooking
Melissa started off with a travel blog where she used to post pictures and reviews from her holidays. After showing off a few secret family recipes, interest in her blog skyrocketed and it switched from being a travel blog to a cooking blog.
Her friend suggested she should record herself while cooking the actual recipes and the videos were well appreciated. Melissa’s website now features over 150 cooking videos but her fans want even more, so she started “The Saturday Cook-Off” where she live streams cooking a specific dish with one of her fans.
The live stream is monetized just as any other video on her website – she uses a subscription monetization model since it has a good conversion rate and she doesn’t want to spend too much time tweaking prices individually.
We hope that this guide offered you a new perspective on the ways and methods you start monetizing live streams and video content. As suggested before, the best monetization model is a hybrid between all available options – although monetizing and getting the most out of your website is relatively easy, there is still plenty of work to do in terms of testing.
You should thoroughly test all models with different prices to figure out which conversion rate works best for you. Luckily enough, WpStream offers plenty both in terms of monetization options as well as flexibility, all in a simple and user friendly package.