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Video Monetization - How to Earn Revenue Outside of YouTube

Anyone can make money from YouTube, but the right content can do better. Here is how taking control can drive higher returns from your video monetization strategy. 


Everyone has video. Every business, every casual internet browser, every channel, every broadcaster. If it’s smartphone footage of your kids, it’s probably staying on Facebook. But if it’s original, licensable, current or compelling, you probably want to monetize it.

Video monetization comes in many forms, but the easiest approach is to upload content to YouTube and enable its monetization platform. But in most cases, pennies are all you’ll be looking at in return. Unless your videos get watched into thousands and thousands of times, you’ll never even make back your costs. At the same time, you’ll see them bracketed and overlaid with advertising. And you’ll probably see them duplicated and ripped off too.

In order to maximize the return on quality content, you need to retain control and ensure you get a fair price for your original videos. And to achieve this, you should be looking at monetizing video through an alternative platform. But which one? Before deciding that, it pays to know exactly how your video content can earn you money.

Video Monetization: the options

Forget the platform for a moment. Let’s look at the three main ways to monetize streamed video:

  • Advertising video on demand (AVOD), e.g. YouTube or 4OD – videos are free to watch, but interrupted, bracketed or overlaid with adverts
  • Subscription video on demand (SVOD), e.g. Netflix, Amazon Prime or Hulu – viewers pay a monthly fee to watch without ad interruptions
  • Transactional video on demand (TVOD), e.g. Amazon Prime, YouTube – users pay to ‘rent’ or ‘buy’ (or, for producers, licence) content such as a film or series

Combinations of the various VOD formats are common. For example, Amazon Prime subscribers still need to buy or rent premium content, such as recent films or series. If you want to understand more about the competing models and how they can overlap, check out our handy guide to AVOD, SVOD and TVOD.


What are AVOD, SVOD and TVOD?

The world of video is changing: delivery mechanisms, viewing habits and business models are all evolving.  Here’s your guide to the realm of video on demand.


How do you monetize video content?

If you’re happy to have advertising or ‘suggested’ content appear with your videos, AVOD is a strong way to monetize. Many alternatives to YouTube also enable you to monetize video through targeted advertising and affiliate marketing links. It’s an easy way to embed clickable ads within your videos, which you can share wherever you want. This includes embedding them in your website.

Multiple platforms claim to help businesses generate incremental revenue. This can be via in-image or in-video advertising, and often promise relevance, high conversion rates and more. Whether you’re promoting your own products, or creating revenue streams by placing paid adverts or linking to affiliate sites, there are plenty of opportunities.

AVOD clearly has its place, but it means losing control of how your video is shared. If you’re sitting on a large library, and if you have high-value content, you’re likely to see far greater return by retaining control and selling the content itself. Again, there are different methods depending on how much content you have, and what type of content it is.

Monetize viral videos and shareable content

You never know when comedy gold will happen – Fenton, anyone? Individuals with valuable or potentially viral content should probably seek the services of a digital media broker. These businesses can distribute content to paying customers, such as marketers, content-hungry websites or even news channels.

Maximizing the value of original and user-generated content means retaining control of how it’s distributed. In particular, this means ensuring that content isn’t released to third parties until a suitable price has been agreed.

This is why media brokers like ViralVideoUK rely on media asset management (MAM) platforms like Imagen. You can read more about how we work together here.

The demand for this kind of highly shareable content has led to businesses being built around the revenue generated from people watching content. For companies such as LADBible a MAM is crucial. It provides licence management and the efficient storage, categorization and retrieval of video content.


How did LadBible create an award-winning monetization platform?

The freshest fails and the funniest user generated videos – ready to license, all in one place.


Monetizing films, TV programmes and more

Media brokers are one thing, but production studios, distributors, rights-owners and TV channels are often sitting on a vast trove of footage. This can amount to many thousands of hours of content that could stretch back decades. In the digital age, there are multiple new ways that existing audiences expect to find this. And there are multiple new audiences that will pay for the chance to watch it.

Often, the sheer volume of material can be overwhelming. For sports channels, broadcasters and news outlets it may also be that archive footage exists only in legacy formats. This can lead to it sitting around gathering dust, when it could be earning revenue. Monetizing video of this kind may mean further archival or production work. And this adds the usual headaches of managing and coordinating the work.

It’s in these kinds of video monetization scenarios that a MAM really comes into its own. A MAM supports the effortless distribution of broadcast-quality material. And it helps multiple content partners work to get it broadcast-ready in the first place.

Through metadata and tools like auto-transcript generation, a MAM makes it possible to classify, index and understand even huge content libraries. This allows you to identify and prioritize the most valuable content.

Control, control, you must learn control!

Security and control are key to maintaining the value of high-worth content. This is because arrangements with major SVOD or TVOD players are likely to offer the best video monetization options. At the same time, however, distributing clips, segments and trailers through social or AVOD channels can be an important part of the overall marketing strategy.

There are multiple other video monetization opportunities, from libraries containing unique content such as historic interviews, football games, or generic, readily-licensable footage. Again, a fully indexed and easily retrieved archive is essential to businesses hoping to capitalize on the licensing opportunities contained in old content.

It’s also important to understand the rules of engagement when it comes to licensing. You must make sure you hold the licence for video content you intend to monetize. Alternatively, obtain contractual permission to monetize it across the channels and territories that you plan to use.

If you’re not sure, or just want to find out more, check out our guide to understanding video licensing.


Need to securely store, organise and monetize video from your library of content? Talk to Imagen about how our video monetization tools allow businesses to earn revenue from their video assets.

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