For years, YouTube has been the go-to platform for content creators wishing to monetize their videos. It’s one of the longest-standing social media giants, currently gathering a community of 2.1 billion monthly active users worldwide.
The success of the platform can largely be attributed to it being quick with jumping on the latest video content formats and trends, for example launching YouTube Shorts last year as short-form videos on TikTok and Instagram have stolen the hearts of many online users.
However, is YouTube necessarily the best video monetization platform out there? The short answer is no.
As video content and live streaming continues to grow in popularity, we’re seeing more and more attractive monetization options and platforms pop up in front of our eyes (or screens). Whether you’re a broadcaster, a retailer, or a fitness instructor, you can supercharge your video marketing and video monetization strategy outside of your YouTube channel.
This article will show you how to best monetize your video content without YouTube, walk you through the most common monetization models, and offer you practical tips for turning your video creations into a steady revenue stream.
Ready to get started?
What is video monetization?
Video monetization is the process of earning money through the videos you publish online on any platform. You can get paid for sharing live videos or videos on demand (VOD) in three different ways: through advertising, subscriptions or direct transactions.
If you share high-quality, relevant video content on a regular basis, your audience will be more likely to pay for it. New content, or exclusive content, combined with great user experience will help you effectively turn your videos into profit.
All you need now is a video monetization strategy – and that starts with choosing the right monetization model for you.
How to monetize videos online
There are three video monetization models which can help you scale a profitable business. You can choose one and stick to it, or combine two to diversify your income. As they say, whatever floats your boat. Or rather your audience’s boat since you want to encourage them to pay for your video content. You get the idea!
Meeting your viewers where they’re at is the single most important element for your consideration. Always align your video marketing strategy with your audiences’ interests, buying habits, spending power, and simply hang out where they’re hanging out.
In addition, consider the type of videos you’ve got at the minute, how often you can share new content and what your overall goal is. All of this will help you make the right decision on the best monetization method for you.
All three video monetization models are centered around VOD, giving your users the opportunity to access your videos anytime they want to. So, let’s explore them now.
1. SVOD: Subscription Video on Demand
SVOD is by far the most popular video monetization model, but this means it’s also the most competitive. It allows users to consume unlimited video content when they enter a subscription agreement and pay a certain recurring annual or monthly subscription fee.
You’re definitely familiar with major SVOD platforms like Amazon Prime Video, Netflix, Disney+, Hulu, and Apple TV. Chances are you’ve subscribed to at least one of the platforms yourself!
Over the years, viewers have grown to love subscription services as they’re good value for money, there’s less video ads (or none at all) and a constant stream of new content to binge-watch.
If you’re a subscriber yourself, you’ll know that the best way to attract and retain viewership is by regularly publishing the best-of-the-best videos. Winning subscribers isn’t easy in such a competitive space, but if you niche down and master video content within that niche, you’ll soon see the fruits of your labor.
Once you figure out your subscription pricing, you can easily calculate your income. The more people you get to sign up, the bigger the profit.
Subscriptions are more predictable than relying on ad revenue as you’ll know where your money is coming from each month. As a result, you can be more confident in your future growth plans.
2. AVOD: Advertising Video on Demand
AVOD uses advertising-based video on demand to provide free content for viewers. So, you can generate revenue through ads that are shown before and during your videos.
Think of the video ads on your favorite YouTube channel. However annoying some viewers may find these, as a content creator, you might actually find this sponsorship model attractive.
It’s a low-risk, easy-to-set-up monetization option but you have to consider your viewership. The more people who see the video ads, the higher your chances are of earning good money.
Aside from the fact that those with a significant following have the highest potential to profit, we can’t ignore the fact that people are getting more and more frustrated with ads. Only about 10% of people say that no digital ads annoy them!
This is something worth keeping at the back of your mind. With Netflix now rolling out its cheapest, ad-supported plan, we might see users tolerating more ads in a bid to save money. Or, it could go the opposite direction, with users happily paying more not to have to watch another ad again.
So, if you’ve got a big following, take advantage of AVOD. But monitor the changing user habits and your ad revenue closely.
3. TVOD: Transactional Video on Demand
TVOD lets users buy video content on a pay-per-view basis. Instead of paying a monthly subscription, you only pay a one-time fee and get to either keep the content you want to watch, or rent it.
You can find examples of TVOD content on Disney+ new releases, Apple TV season pass, or Amazon Prime Video. TVOD models use premium content and recent releases to maximize income.
So, if you’ve got early access to exclusive content, take advantage of TVOD and convince your viewers it’s worth paying extra to watch it. For example, live streaming sporting events. Or the latest movie with Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson. We won’t judge!
Keep in mind that the pay-per-view model makes it difficult to create a loyal customer base as users can easily perform a good disappearing act – they’ll pay and say their goodbyes. The good news is that you can convert TVOD content into SVOD if profits drop.
What videos can be monetized?
The truth is you can film anything, but that doesn’t necessarily mean you can use everything for profit. Streaming platforms have rules, terms of service, and community guidelines to protect their users and content creators from harmful content or plagiarism to name a few examples.
Let’s first look at the types of videos that you can’t monetize:
Copyrighted videos. For your videos to be eligible for monetization, you must own all the necessary rights to commercially use all audio and visual elements, whether they belong to you or a third party. If you want to incorporate third-party content in to your videos, make sure you negotiate and clear the rights to use and monetize it with the rights holders.
Adult themes. Most hosting platforms won’t allow overly sexualized, profane, hateful, or violent content. There are of course some exceptions, with certain swear words allowed or non-graphic, expressed-through-humor sexual education videos.
Controversial content. Whilst it’s a broad category, steer away from content that promotes hate speech, violence, or illegal activities. Instead, focus on bringing objective discussions about today’s hot issues into the limelight.
Different monetization platforms have different rules you have to follow to start monetizing your videos. Always check these before uploading or streaming on your chosen platform. As a rule of thumb, it’s always best to offer educational value in your videos.
Why is it worth looking beyond YouTube?
The number of people making money strictly from YouTube has dropped down over the years. New social media channels, OTT platforms, and streaming services have appeared on the horizon, creating a highly competitive landscape in all content categories and pushing video creators to rethink where they should divert their time and efforts towards.
If you’re at the beginning of your monetization journey, the YouTube Partner Program offers a good start. But if you’re more experienced, looking beyond your YouTube channel can be just the thing you need to make bigger bucks and reach a wider audience.
Here’s a few reasons why YouTube might not be the best choice as a video monetization platform:
1. It’s unreliable
Accurately predicting your income is rare for any video monetization platform, but content creators can find it even harder to get a reliable estimate on YouTube. This is because demonetization is a serious problem on the platform.
As outlined in YouTube’s Community Guidelines, you can get demonetized for a variety of reasons, including spam and deceptive practices, sensitive, dangerous or violent content. As a content creator, you might think these violations are quite easy to avoid.
However, some recent updates to the algorithm have caused the platform to demonetize videos which don’t break any rules. Whilst you can appeal strikes and terminations if you believe they were wrongfully issued, the odds are not in your favor to win.
Many users haven’t succeeded in persuading YouTube to revert its decision. Others have complained that by the time the platform decides to ‘re-monetize’ their channel or YouTube video, they would have lost most of the revenue.
2. It takes a large cut of your earnings
Like any other ad-based monetization platform, YouTube uses a revenue-sharing model to pay its creators. Unfortunately, the Google-owned giant has some of the highest fees in the industry.
It takes a whooping 45% of the creator’s revenue. With other platforms taking much less (by comparison 20-30%) this often pushes YouTube down the choice list.
3. It’s got limited monetization features
YouTube requires you to have a Google AdSense account if you want to monetize your video content. Whilst AdSense is one of the best ad networks out there, the platform doesn’t offer many advanced monetization tools or ad yield optimization features.
YouTube offers industry-standard in-stream video ads and ad podding, but doesn’t support multiple supply-side platforms (SSPs) which are pivotal to real-time bidding transactions. For large publishers, YouTube monetization might therefore fall a bit short.
4. You lack control
Lastly in our reasons to look beyond YouTube is the lack of control. Publishers and video creators tend to find that other video streaming and monetization platforms simply offer more, which helps massively with meeting their goals and creating a steadier revenue stream.
As YouTube frequently introduces new rules, it’s more likely you’ll be deemed ineligible for monetization, or become the latest victim of its demonetization bot.
There’s also an aspect of security. As an established brand, you might find YouTube a bit too risky and lacking in the department of cyber security measures. Even when setting your videos to private, you can’t guarantee their safety.
Tips for monetizing videos without YouTube
Now you know that there are many ways to make money outside of your YouTube channel, here are some handy tips to help you create a successful video business on other online video platforms:
1. Choose your alternative video monetization platform
So, you’ve decided YouTube with its limited monetization functionality isn’t the right fit for you. The next step is to research and pick an alternative video monetization platform that meets your needs.
And there are many platforms out there. Patreon, Twitch, Vimeo, IGTV, Uscreen – the list goes on and on!
Luckily, we’ve compiled a handy one of the ten best video monetization platforms for 2023 so make sure to check it out.
The right video monetization platform will help you earn a regular income and build a community of like-minded people who will love your video content. When making your decision, always have your audience and your goals in mind to get the best for your money.
If you’re looking for an all-in-one platform that let’s you deploy videos quickly and easily to your iOS and android applications, and offers a broad range of advanced monetization features, sign up for a 30-day free trial with JW Player.
Unlike YouTube, JW Player gives you full control over your content and let’s you keep 100% of your ad revenue. Whether you pick AVOD, SVOD or TVOD, we’ll help you keep your audience engaged to maximize your video content income.
2. Start small
Once you decide on your preferred video monetization platform, don’t be tempted to come out with all guns blazing. Especially if you don’t have the experience of a well-established broadcaster.
Building followers and revenue won’t happen overnight but avoid overwhelming your resources by starting with all the monetization models at once. Conduct your demographic research and start with one model to draw in initial users. Then, confidently move onto integrating more models and features.
3. Don’t forget the TV
The way people watch TV has changed drastically over the years. Ever since old TVs got replaced by flat screens, people have been enjoying a wide range of over-the-top (OTT) apps on them.
Streaming systems like Amazon Fire TV Stick, ROKU TV, Google Chromecast, Android TV, and Apple TV now allow their users to access content such as live streaming of concerts or sporting events via OTT apps. So do the most popular gaming consoles like Xbox and Playstation.
The truth is we all want to watch content on multiple devices, including the good old TV. Once you’ve developed your video monetization strategy and created a loyal viewership, look into leveraging OTT platforms to help increase your profit.
If you’re interested in learning more about the best OTT streaming services or how to pick the right OTT platform for you, make sure to take a look at our blog.
4. Give your viewers options
People like options. And we know they don’t necessarily love ads…
If you go for the SVOD model, why not offer different subscription tiers and let your viewers decide if they want to (or can afford to) pay more for an ad-free experience?
If you’ve got access to premium content, why not combine SVOD with TVOD and let your audience rent your video product for a limited time for an extra fee?
You might also consider letting your viewers watch the first episode of a new series for free before they purchase the whole season.
Taking advantage of different monetization options will not only help you diversify your income but also reach a wider market and meet the various needs and preferences of different audiences.
Get started with video monetization
Whatever your business model, or the size of your video library, there are plenty of options for you out there to help you build, run, and grow your video-driven business.
With the YouTube monetization system being flawed and limited, it’s best you diversify your income and consider alternative approaches. With platforms like JW Player offering easy and innovative monetization solutions, you’ll be sure to boost your reach and viewership, and gain a competitive advantage.
We hope you now feel more confident about monetizing your live or on-demand videos outside of YouTube.