How to creatively monetize your video OTT platform?

Creating content is a labor of love, and if you're not getting compensated for it, it can be a bit of a grind. Here are some creative video monetization strategies that will roll in the dough for you.
October 15, 2023
Minutes Read

Hey there fellow OTT enthusiasts! It's Teyuto, your go-to provider for all things over-the-top.

We have been into OTT video solutions for a while and have learned a thing or two about monetizing video content.

Let's face it, creating top-notch content is a labor of love, and if you're not getting compensated for it, it can be a bit of a grind.

But don't sweat it yet! We're here to share some creative monetization strategies that will have you rolling in the dough in no time.

We'll be covering everything from identifying your target audience to optimizing your platform and everything in between. So, grab your pen and paper (also a bit of coffee), and let’s dive right into the brave new world of OTT video monetization!

Identify Your Target Audience: The Key to Video Monetization Success

You've got some killer content on your OTT platform. You're ready to start raking in the cash. But before you start slapping your ads left and right, it's important to understand who exactly you're creating the content for.

Knowing your target audience is the key to video monetization success.

But how do you identify your target audience? Here are a few tips:

  • Conduct market research

Do your homework! This can be as simple as surveying your current audience or as in-depth as hiring a market research firm. Either way, get a sense of who your audience is and what they're interested in. The more detailed you get, the better. Source all details like demographics, income slabs, aspirations, motivations, and anything else you can lay your hands on.

This exercise will ensure that you can see your content (or your competitor’s) through the eyes of the people you’re targeting. The goal is to find what makes people tick, ultimately prompting them to make your desired purchase decision.

  • Know what’s monetizable (and what’s working for others)

Don’t start out by creating strategies in your head. Start following videos of the creators who you think are building content along your business interests.

See how your competitors are positioning themselves and their products. What kind of response are they receiving and from what audiences? Is there a change in the demographics (age, gender, region, religion, etc.) or semantics (words, phrases, comments, implicit and explicit meanings, etc.) of different posts and their responses? What emotions their content is evoking? What may be prompting the viewers to watch? What are they commenting for?

Come up with more questions based on your unique business model and use case. Remember, this is an important step as it will guide your entire monetization strategy (and even the content creation process). So, make it as thorough as possible.

Let us give you some golden advice here. At the end of the day, you don’t necessarily have to "monetize your videos" (we’ll explain the why part in a short while). You just have to ensure that your videos directly or indirectly generate a steady income. To do so, the best place to look for is – yes, your competitors!

Find out where your competitors are making their spends. Because if they’re spending, the chances are there’s at least some financial advantage linked to it. This could be in terms of content strategy, campaigns, or any other pattern that you come across.

There are a couple of ways to do so. For instance, Facebook’s Page Transparency lets you know what any page is advertising. Here, as an example, we have Buzzfeed’s Tasty page. It shows us they’re quite bullish on third-party promotions and app downloads.

What does it mean? It means that they’re monetizing via paid promotions and somehow through their application, which will be our next breadcrumb.

We now go to the Tasty app. On a closer look, we find that its recipes lead to ingredient purchase via Walmart (and sometimes products on Amazon). This implies that it is operating on a commission-based model for these purchases (which we can also verify on the internet). Tasty also sells cookbooks, merchandize, and cookware. Obviously, all of these sellable units are often endorsed in its videos.

You see, Tasty wouldn’t have been the key driver of Buzzfeed’s growth if it operated on a paywalled model. The recipes create a content magnet that makes people keep coming back for more. So, a big takeaway here is that you don’t “necessarily” have to “monetize your videos”.

You just have to create a funnel that ultimately leads your target audience to something that generates income. If it’s your premium content line-up, then so be it. But if it’s some product, merchandize, or any other form of transaction, then why not?

The entire point of this exercise is to understand what could directly or indirectly generate revenues for you. In other words, what is monetizable and what strategies are working for others in your domain? If they’re working for them, then there’s a market need that they’re addressing. You can always use such insights to make informed decisions.

  • Analyze your videos

Your video analytics can tell you a lot about who's watching your content and how they're interacting. Use this information to understand your audience's demographics, interests, and engagement levels.

You can easily do it on channels like YouTube and Facebook. But what if a user is on your website? Well, there are a couple of ways to go about it.

For instance, you can read the user’s IP address and use an IP database to determine their location. Similarly, there are different APIs that can help you understand the browser being used. Teyuto also provides you with handy analytics that gives you a deeper understanding of what’s working in terms of videos and what’s not.

You can also use third-party analytics tools such as Google Analytics to dig much deeper into your audience. These services give away an insane amount of data for free including demographics (age, gender), geography (location in terms of states/cities), interests, device usage patterns, engagement levels – or virtually everything!

With the right marketing analytics, you can easily get a complete insight into your audience and their preferences. It will also help you determine how your user acquisition is taking place. See where the drop-offs are and what could be the possible reasons.

This makes it easier to create content tailored specifically for your audience. Need we say how important this is?

After all, creating personalized experiences helps increase customer engagement and retention rates while improving brand loyalty – two key drivers of income generation!

Now that you have identified who exactly your target audience is, let's delve into some creative ways to monetize your videos.

Before you move to the next section, make sure you have a good understanding of what is video monetization and what different monetization strategies there are at your disposal (subscription, advertising, transactional videos, merchandizing, donation, etc.). You can watch this video, where Steffi from Teyuto explains it in an easy-to-understand format.

Video Monetization Strategies That Generate Income Like Crazy!

Here, we’re going to look at some creative ways to monetize your video content that you may just not be thinking about. We will also have a look at some real-world examples.

However, before we begin, here’s a piece of advice – don't try doing everything at once!

Start slow and stick to one strategy (or maybe two) while you get your bearings right. As you grow and learn more about your audience, you can add other strategies to your marketing kitty.

Alright then! Here we go:

•        Make higher-quality videos

Let's hit the nail on the head right off the bat! Create quality content. Period!

Creating better content not only helps increase your audience's engagement levels but also allows you to charge more for ads. Plus, you can get paid for premium content as well.

For instance, YouTube's top creators, who have extremely high engagement rates, are making anywhere from $1,500,000 to $4,500,000+ per month from their videos. Yes, you read that right!

The key here is understanding what kind of content your audience wants and how they want it. As we mentioned earlier in this post, make sure your target user’s demands/needs are at the center stage while creating a strategy. Otherwise, you’ll just keep beating around the bush. You can also look into what other successful channels or businesses in your space are doing for ideas and inspiration.

Remember, quality trumps quantity every time! This is particularly true when you're creating videos for monetization purposes. Because your content will be the basis for all other strategies (advertising, premium subscriptions, merchandizing, and whatnot).

•        Create a trailer that leads to paid content/product placement

When it comes to video monetization, one of the best ways is to create an enticing trailer. But don’t make just any old boring promo clip with some generic piano music in the background. You want something that'll really get people excited and interested in your content (and ultimately convert them into paying customers).

If you are an entertainment-based OTT platform, here’s one example from Netflix that is enticing and works as an effective marketing tool. It's got suspense, drama, action, and most importantly – shows you what to expect!

You can create such enticing content for any use case be it a feature film or the first episode of your cooking show. It's all about teasing the audience enough to get them interested but not so much that they're left confused and disinterested by what you've shown them (this is where market research comes in handy).

Here's a great blog by Stephen Mills that breaks down the art of making promo videos. It is very insightful. Make sure to read it, at least the part on Entrepreneur on Fire, where he deconstructs how John Lee Dumas promoted his podcasts in a very impactful way. Here’s the video promo that’s being referred to:

•        Integrate merchandize into your videos:

This is a strategy that you probably already know of. It’s the whole “wear what I wear and use products that I use” business model – which is quite popular among many influencers. The idea is to create content around your brand or product, where you can integrate it into videos in any way possible.

You may also try making unboxing videos if there are particular items involved in the merchandizing process such as bags or shoes, etc. You don't have to go too hard here either! Just let people see how they look from different angles and maybe engage them by asking for their opinions on some combinations. And voila! You've just integrated merchandize into your video.

How to creatively do it? With Teyuto, you can add your product(s) above the video and enable your audience to view it with a popup. This way, you can effectively convert interested buyers while ensuring that their viewing experience remains absolutely seamless.

Lastly, what to do if you have a product that doesn't go well with the type of content you produce? Well, you just have to be creative with your product placements. Take inspiration from some of these placements that weren’t cringy and yet delivered significant boost to the respective product sales.

•        Offer e-learning courses:

Today, skill development is more than just a fad – it's a real-world practice. You can share your expertise with people by creating e-learning courses.

The best part is that you don't have to create additional content to start teaching. Simply look at your video content and see if there are some valuable lessons or skillset knowledge that can help people gain something useful out of it.

Create them into learning courses for sale. Alternatively, you can try selling one-on-one coaching sessions to interested people. This strategy works really well with certain niche markets like health and fitness vlogs, photography, music, and the like.

•      Create a subscription-based model:

'Netflix & Chill?' Okay! How about 'YouTube & Chill?'

Today, YouTube viewers watch more than a billion hours of videos every day. Netflix isn't much behind either. It has amassed 223 million subscribers who watch millions of hours of content daily. What does this mean? It means there’s a massive demand for content, and a good one at that!

It's a proven fact that people don't mind paying for content if the quality of it or other features like 4K resolution, offline viewing or multi-user support, early access, member privileges, comment badges, etc., are worth their money.

Right now, you might be thinking what’s creative about subscription-based video monetization. The creativity here is to not rely on major SVOD platforms (exclusively at least). As you might already be aware, most video hosting platforms charge commissions, and a whopping sum at that. Their pound of flesh can be as much as 55% (or even more depending on the platform and its commission tier).

Where you can get creative here is how you monetize via SVOD. For instance, you have alternatives like Teyuto, which empower you to create powerful channels (using drag-and-drop OTT builder) while using paywalling and subscription models without any commissions. You can also offer discounts, free trials, and coupons to your target group.

You can start by offering your audience a free trial of your branded OTT channel. Once they taste the quality and get a feel for your content, chances are that you will convert them into active subscribers easily thereafter.

•        Crowdfund:

This one’s a bit controversial but can prove highly effective nonetheless! Crowdfunding is probably the easiest and most direct way to get some additional funding for your content, especially if you're just starting up. You can integrate donation buttons on your OTT channel and ask your viewers to help fund it by making small donations each month.

Of course, you would have to offer something in return! For example, some influencers give out limited-edition merch like signed products or posters for a certain amount as a donation. Others provide exclusive content through which they can thank their patrons every month. Of course, there's also the option of offering both at different levels – with higher amounts receiving more than just one item from the list.

We do recommend that you only try this after your channel gains some momentum and has enough followers, though! Otherwise, people are more likely to feel like they're being pestered for money rather than actually being helped out someone who's trying their best to create great content.

•        Create a bidding system:

Talking about creativity in content monetization, how's a content bidding system as an idea? Here’s how it works – you can set up a reward system where viewers bid on something like what will be your next video about. This way, you not only get your followers involved in the process and build a sense of community around it, but also give them the incentive to share or promote your content. Obviously, the bid money is the cherry on top! Again, don’t overdo it and retain some control over the direction of your content. A good approach would be to issue such videos every once in a while, where you ask your audience what they want you to talk about and get them bidding on it.

•        Creative collaborations:

Creative collaboration is all about doing some sort of partnership with another creator who has a similar audience. You can then cross-promote each other’s content and get more exposure while you're at it! This helps boost viewership on both ends, which also opens up the opportunity to earn money through ads or product placements along with subscriptions.

You can think of it more as an audience-building strategy than monetization per se. However, as you grow, so will your revenue!

Your creativity will come into play here as well. You'll need to think outside the box for these collaborative ideas instead of just promoting one another's videos under 'suggested' tabs (which works very little in terms of revenue generation anyway).

The best part is that this strategy doesn't require much effort either. So, if you're looking for something simple yet effective, try creative collaborations today!

•        Organize Events:

Who says only videos can be monetized? If the value proposition you put forth is creative and good enough, you can launch your own events to generate high-ticket revenue. For example, if you're into a fitness niche or yoga channel, then creating an event for people who follow a particular lifestyle (like veganism) will work like a charm!

You also have the option of hosting big-ticket events at some banquet hall with other influencers from your industry as well. All you need to do is ensure that the event has enough value and will give people a reason to come over. The ticket sales (minus the commissions) are yours to keep.

To wrap it up…

These were some creative ways to monetize your video content. We hope that these strategies will help you with your OTT channel, and if you want to know more about OTT video monetization or want to implement an OTT project, contact us today or register yourself as a creator!

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