News publishers can diversify revenue by monetising video

By Mark Challinor


London, United Kingdom


One future advertising revenue stream will undoubtedly come from video. But creating the best video content requires time, passion, a real commitment — and it needs to show a decent return on our efforts. 

And there’s very little reason videos can’t provide a significant ROI, given the rising global demand for video content from both digital publishers and advertising brands. 

The three models of monetising video on demand are ad-based, subscription, and transactional.
The three models of monetising video on demand are ad-based, subscription, and transactional.

At the same time, some publishers may struggle to extract adequate value from their video content because they don’t know how best to sell their content online. 

With this in mind, here are a few pointers for those wanting monetisation strategies that go above and beyond the uploading to social media platforms and hoping the platform’s algorithms share their content.  

Publishers with a video catalogue can expand their audience reach and appeal to advertisers. But how can publishers without such a catalogue can get an immediate start-up in this potentially lucrative arena?  

Beyond the obvious advantage of using a video monetisation platform — that is, creating a new revenue stream from a solo asset — there are several other key benefits. Selling videos online allows sales teams to control their audience generation costs. Reaching an audience would traditionally either require driving traffic to a dedicated video page, however video monetisation platforms can help generate revenue, potentially reducing marketing costs in the process.

Popular video options

What are the most popular video types online media can use to expand their client audiences share (perhaps via sponsorship or bespoke creation under our guidance) whilst bolstering our own revenue streams?

  1. Instructional/informative (how to …): These videos can relate to a variety of subjects, from, say, motoring, property, cooking, etc., and they can provide valuable insights/education on a topic with the opportunity for answering users’ questions. Instructional videos can be an excellent pool for of “evergreen” content, attracting pageviews way after the video has been published. 
  2. Reviews (or previews): Potential buyers are always interested in seeing a product “in action” before making a purchase. Publishers can access this demand by teaming up with brands to review their content, helping possible customers develop a better idea of a product’s benefits. 
  3. Entertainment: A long-established method of connecting/engaging with audiences and can take many styles. They might be comedy sketches, short movies, music, or possibly documentaries.
  4. Educational: Online learning and educational courses (since COVID) have rocketed in popularity. They can provide in-depth modules accompanied by a video that delves into the subject matter or is explanatory as to the course itself. 

How sales teams should sell videos online

  • Client content strategy: Once deciding on the above, the focus should be on building a defined audience profile (e.g. demographics: age, sex, interests, income, lifestyle, etc.) for your advertiser. Basically, great content provides for a specific need once we know who our audience is and what their interests are. It’s important to remember that while a mix of video types will probably appeal to a wider audience, without an appropriate client budget, we will struggle to build strong audience connections quickly. 

  • Content creation: Post-planning is the time then to start creating our client’s video content. Publishers with an existing content catalogue definitely have an advantage, having already formed a specific range to offer to advertisers and a certain style. And remember that there will always be opportunities for growth through experimentation for those with a content pipeline. 

  • Video monetisation: Choosing an optimal video monetisation platform relies on a number of factors: cost, video player quality, and appropriate engagement tools/analytics — and whether or not your model is for selling created video via a range of options on your own pages or offering advertisers the opportunity to insert their own ads into your space. For example, YouTube has somewhat become a default (free) video hosting platform for most media companies (and advertisers/brands). The Web site’s infrastructure and huge audience make it a go-to choice for many for streaming videos.

3 video models

Another factor to think about when choosing which type of video platform is which monetisation model that platform supports. There are essentially three models, which are:

  1. AVOD: Ad-based video-on-demand. This give users access to video content for free, with the quid pro quo being to watch pre-, mid-, or post-roll ads. 
  2. SVOD: Subscription video-on-demand: This gives users an option to be charged a recurring fee in return for unlimited access to content.
  3. TVOD: Transactional video-on-demand: This gives users the chance to pay once to either own or rent a specific video.

Video optimisation

As is the case with written content, it’s crucial to undertake some basic search engine optimisation (SEO) for videos when trying to raise their visibility. 

Differing platforms will have differing options for writing and optimising video titles, explanatory descriptions, tagging and scripts, so it’s good practice to check which SEO options are available and then to leverage them when practical.

A decent platform choice will give you not only control over basics such as title/description but will also allow media to add keywords to each video to help improve its SEO.

My top 10 tips for selling video online

  1. Educate advertisers about the benefits of online video advertising. Many advertisers are still not fully aware of the power of it. Make sure you are able to clearly articulate the benefits of the arena, such as its high engagement rates, its ability to reach a targeted audience, and its potential to drive conversions.
  2. Demonstrate the effectiveness of video advertising with data. Advertisers are more likely to be persuaded by data than by anecdotal evidence. Be prepared to provide advertisers with data that demonstrates the effectiveness of online video advertising — whether buying into your own content or creating their own. This could include data on click-through rates, view-through rates, and conversions.
  3. Offer a variety of video advertising options. Not all advertisers are looking for the same thing. Some may be interested in pre-roll ads, while others may be more interested in sponsored content or native advertising. Be sure to offer a variety of online video advertising options to meet the needs of different advertisers.
  4. Make it easy for advertisers to buy it. The easier it is, the more likely they are to do so. Make sure your sales process is as streamlined as possible.
  5. Focus on the advertiser’s goals. What are the advertiser's goals for their online video advertising campaign? Are they looking to increase brand awareness, drive traffic to their Web site, or generate leads? Once you understand the advertiser's goals, you can obviously tailor your sales pitch accordingly.
  6. Highlight the unique features of your platform. What makes your platform different from the competition? Do you have access to a unique audience? Do you offer special targeting options? 
  7. Follow up with advertisers regularly to see how their campaigns are performing — all part of building relationships with advertisers and increasing the chances of repeat business.
  8. Create high-quality videos. Advertisers are more likely to pay for video insertions that are well-produced and engaging. Invest in good equipment and learn how to edit your videos effectively.
  9. Offer a variety of pricing options to meet the needs of different advertisers.
  10. Create video bundles. Offer discounts on bundles of related videos.


So, grasp the basics first: content strategy, production process, content creation, video monetisation, and optimisation. Get the groundwork done first, then offer what your clients generally either wouldn’t have appreciated or maybe hadn’t thought of. 

And what you will have is an appealing range of video options that will be valued, will save clients their time, and will help your revenue diversification efforts for the future.

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About Mark Challinor

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