How does one monetize video content?
June 25, 2010 12:43 PM   Subscribe

Help us reel in the green! (How does one monetize video content?)

Hi MeFi,
My partner has been producing fairly popular video content for a couple of years now. Her videos currently reside on some of the more common hosting sites, but their revenue-sharing is absolutely paltry, so we'd like to take it to the next level: self-hosting.

I have sufficient know-how to handle all of the technical questions, but hosting video content gets really expensive, so we'd like to offset it (and possibly make some bucks) with ads, be they pre/post-roll, text, etc…

So, how does one go about monetizing video content?

(also, is Amazon's S3 the best choice for hosting video?)

posted by koudelka to Computers & Internet (11 answers total) 6 users marked this as a favorite
you can post the link on your profile page as "website" so we can see it.
posted by parmanparman at 1:00 PM on June 25, 2010

Response by poster: For the sake of pseudo-anonymity, I don't think that's a good idea. Do you need to know the specific content to give advice?
posted by koudelka at 1:08 PM on June 25, 2010

Do you have to host the video? Use vimeo or youtube and embed it.
posted by lee at 1:14 PM on June 25, 2010

can you describe it?
posted by parmanparman at 1:16 PM on June 25, 2010

Response by poster: Parmanparm: It's basically videogame commentary. (Sorry, the fanbase is rabid, I have to keep specifics out, so we don't attract stalker-y types)

Lee: That could work. I was thinking of hosting the videos for greater control, but the cost might not justify it. I'm sure I can figure out a way to hack pre/post-roll ads into their embed frames.

I'm primarily interested in what organizations I need to speak to to get the advertising relationships in place. Do I have to talk to individual advertisers, or are there organizations that will just feed me video clips and keep track of view counts?
posted by koudelka at 1:23 PM on June 25, 2010

Don't know about how often you release, type of show, etc...

Maybe would be interested?
posted by Sonic_Molson at 1:24 PM on June 25, 2010

Are user-paid fees out of the question? In other words, is something like the PeepCode model worth thinking about, or is this more for entertainment?

I believe that's why people want to know what your videos are about.
posted by circular at 1:24 PM on June 25, 2010

Response by poster: Sonic_Molson: Generally we release twice per month, about half an hour per video. We see around 5-6k views on each. I can't go more specific on content though, I'm afraid.

Circular: Ah, I gotcha. Unfortunately yeah, user fees are a bit out of the question, the specific community tends to frown upon it, and I'm not even sure the fanbase is a group that'd be willing to shell out.
posted by koudelka at 1:36 PM on June 25, 2010

Google would like to know the answer to this question also, since they are still operating YouTube at a loss. So would most newspapers who get far less revenue per reader on their website that in print. The reality of the online content value curve is that only a very small percentage of content is able to attract revenue either from readers/viewers or from advertisers and there is a very long tail of content that collects no money at all. Unless these videos fall into the high-value end of the curve by being stupendously good and/or attracting an audience that's very valuable to advertisers, self-hosting won't work any better than YouTube or similar hosting sites.

But here's one idea, suggested by this blog post by Albert Sun — create a social networking requirement for access to the content. So, to view the videos, you need to by a $5 forever pass (just like Metafilter). But with that pass, you can whisk, say, 50 friends past the paywall. They could pay more to be able to invite more friends. Those friends would have access for a limited duration, and have the option to either pay $5 for permanent access and the right to invite 50 of their own friends, or they could invite 50 friends to extend their subscription for another limited period. To my knowledge, this has not been tried, so you could be a pioneer. You can play with the variables to optimize the strategy. A variation would be to use Radiohead (pay whatever you want) pricing, rather than the $5.
posted by beagle at 1:37 PM on June 25, 2010 [2 favorites]

5-6k views on each? If it's up on YouTube or something similar, that's not really a lot. Some people I'm tangentially related to business wise do a series of animated shorts on YouTube, in Spanish, with humor that's mostly going to work in Mexico, with Mexico's limited internet market (100M people in the country, but much fewer people online with decent bandwidth than in the US). They release once every week or two, and each short gets everything from 150k to 400k views.
posted by Joakim Ziegler at 7:55 PM on June 25, 2010

I agree with Joakim Ziegler, the numbers just don't justify the effort. 5-6k views is not a big enough to be a break out star.
posted by hworth at 7:57 AM on June 26, 2010

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