How To Make Money With Video

Content creators around the world have found out that there is a lot of power with video online. Not only do people watch more videos on home computers and laptops than ever, but faster internet means mobile video viewing is on the rise as well.

With viewership comes money-making opportunities, tapping into as many of those opportunities as possible just makes sense. What are some of the best streams of income? A lot of it depends on the type of videos created and platforms used, but most will be able to benefit from at least a few of these options below.

Ad-based video on demand

Anyone developing a Roku, Apple TV, or other type of channel has two main options initially when it comes to setting up for making money right away. Ad-based video on demand, known as AVOD for short, is a solution that depends on selling advertisements. Think of this in a lot of the same ways as a traditional television channel. People have the opportunity to dictate prices and the amount of advertising in their video.

Most people think of the AVOD option as the safe route, especially for beginners. It allows for instant monetization, and most viewers are fine with advertisements after growing up on traditional television. There are plenty of tools floating around that allow people to find advertising opportunities as well, so it’s not as if a person running the channel has to do all the legwork.

The downfall to depending on one of these companies to help with finding advertisements is that a person loses some control of their channel. The terms are no longer entirely dictated by the owner, as the advertisers need to get what they are paying for as well.

To get around that, doing direct advertising and all the legwork that goes with that helps in some ways. There is no middleman service, which means the ad revenue goes to the channel directly. A person only has to work with companies they are passionate about, and the terms are overall, much more favorable to the channel owners.

VOD creativity
video on demand requires creativity

Subscription video on demand

For a more modern approach with a channel, subscription video on demand is an option. SVOD is the format used by sites like Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Prime, and any other major service. Most people believe that for SVOD to be successful, the content behind that paywall needs to be in high demand. Not only that, but it needs to live up to a high standard, so people feel like they are paying a justified price.

This type of set up for making money had some resistance early on. As advertisements started to become more overwhelming and intrusive, companies found out that some people want an ad-free experience. By paying just a little bit of money from a subscription standpoint, viewers feel like they can get the content they want and have a better overall experience.

It sounds great in theory, but channels will find it hard to pick up subscriptions, especially early on. Building a loyal fan base is essential, especially in such a competitive world. To make matters worse, there are fewer companies and apps that people can use as a beginner. It makes it a challenge to put together a subscription-based package as a beginner, whereas ads are much more user-friendly.

More established brands will find subscriptions easier to start with. Getting those initial subscribers can open more opportunities to grow.

Hybrid options

When looking at some business models, they are starting to use a hybrid set up of ad-based and subscription-based revenue models. By borrowing from both of these options, it can provide a customized solution that works best. Having limited ads and a very inexpensive subscription plan is one example of this setup.


A sponsorship deal is a lot like an ad-based video on demand, but a person is really just looking for that one big deal in particular. They can be the presenting sponsor of an entire channel, and they cover the cost for everything.

This makes financial sense if a channel can land one, but as one might expect, it’s easier said than done. It takes specific types of content to be extremely relevant to a sponsor. If a brand doesn’t feel like they line up with the channel, they are not going to get the value out of it. Also, sponsorship deals with the wrong brands can sometimes dictate content in ways that the creative minds might not want.

Product placement

For a more indirect way of advertising, product placement is one way to go. It allows people to advertise a bit subliminally, instead of just flashing an ad up on the screen.

Some of the subtle product placements can do very well for video channels. Up-and-coming companies might be willing to spend money on getting their product out there in front of the masses. Just seeing people use a product is going to motivate them to do more research.

While some services help with this, a lot of product placement comes down to developing relationships with companies directly. Think about products that are used on the channel a lot, and start exploring brands that make those products to see what might be out there.


This type of revenue isn’t for everyone and all types of channels, but donations can start to add up if done the right way. For example, anything related to religion or charities usually pull off donations very well, but what about channels that are looking to make money as a business?

The key is to be open with viewers and give them opportunities to donate if they want. Applying too much pressure to donate could backfire and cause a rift between the viewers and the content creators. Video channels don’t have a way to accept donations directly, but most people will link a few different ways to donate in the description.

This formula is somewhat connected to a subscription-based model, simply because the goal is to have a few people donate more than what a typical subscription would cost. Therefore, they are covering the subscription costs for a few people with their single donation.

Staying creative

Since online channel development is still in its relative infancy, there are always new and creative avenues to explore to make money. The key is to try out different options, and stick with what works. Some channels ultimately depend on just one form of making money, but others will have a few different ways to set themselves up for success.

Never be afraid to try new ideas. If the content is solid, the viewers will come, and it just comes down to monetizing that loyal fan base the best way possible.