Monetization of online video is a hot topic, whether you are the type of person who thinks it should all be free and ad-supported, or behind a paywall, or a mixture of both. But as always, there are problems with any kind of funding. Viewers may not want to watch ads, and they definitely don’t want to pay for their content in many cases. And people who have the ability to make great content may not get the viewers it takes to sustain a channel of consistent content. John Green of Vlogbrothers talks about how he thinks it all should be funded in his new video.
‘Ads Fund the Most Views, Not the Best Views’
Take it away, John:
Let’s talk about the different things Green brings up in this video:
1. The Paywall. Green says, “I don’t think it strengthens a community to entirely consist of people who can afford to watch stuff.”
2. Kickstarter. Green talks about how on Kickstarter, there is an achievable goal that people are looking for. With a YouTube channel, you want it to go on “forever,” so there’s no way of really funding something that has no foreseeable end.
3. Volunteers. Everyone in the “community” gathers around and creates content for free. Yeah, there’s no money in that. As Green says, “There are grown-ups like me who like to eat and pay rent and stuff.”
4. Merchandise. Green actually likes this idea but doesn’t go much into detail. It’s “supporting the thing you love while bragging about the thing you love.”
5. Public Radio Model. Fundraisers and membership options where you can donate whatever you like. Corporate underwriting, grants, public money. “They don’t require listeners to give but they ask listeners to give and they explain where that money will go.”
Obviously, since this one comes last, it’s the idea Green champions, because if you’re part of a community that enjoys a certain thing, you want it to grow so that they can continue to make more content. So giving becomes something you want to do, and not feel forced to do. And I like this new concept that is coming into the video dialogue these days, a sort of slap to the “lean-back” concept that has been tossed around. He says, “I want a way to thank you for making me lean forward.” The “lean-forward” concept means you’ve gotten people interested…active…not passive.
These are some wise words from Green, I hope he continues to champion this and tell others how they can be successful doing it, if they don’t want to fund it with ads or paywalls.