How to make money streaming: 5 ways to go live and get paid

Published: Nov 12, 2018

You must have read dozens of articles enlightening the ways to grow your business with live streaming. As brands and companies already possess an ample follower base on social media, it is easier for them to introduce live streaming capabilities and earn views from them. Things go south for common content creators. They do not possess viewership by default. They need to first earn the base, and then gain the views. Deloitte conducted a market study and found that live streaming revenue has the capability to reach $7.4 billion in 2018. It would be a 47% increase as compared to that of 2017.

If you are one of such content creators and possess the abilities to create some awesome live content, it is extremely possible for you to earn from the content you create. Here are five different answers to the question how to make money live streaming content from innumerable verticals-

1. Run Ads on your live stream

The old method, earning by promoting someone, still works. However, viewers might find the pre-roll and post-roll ads a little intrusive, but you can utilize some innovative ways to make the intrusion as negligible as possible.

Depending on the platform you utilize for streaming your content, you can adopt multiple methods to embed Ads with some innovative tricks.

Facebook: Facebook allows its live streamers to take short Ad-breaks during the real-time stream. During the short breaks, the viewers would see Live Ads, before the stream would resume after a few seconds.

To qualify for this feature on your Facebook live stream, you need to have-

  • A Facebook page; not a regular Facebook profile
  • At least 50,000 followers
  • More than 300 views on total live videos on your page
  • More than 300 concurrent viewers on your current live stream

After meeting the above criteria and streaming for at least 4 minutes, you become eligible to take a short Ad-break. The option to take the break would appear on the screen, something like in this screenshot from a random Facebook live stream-


Image Source:

YouTube: YouTube offers the mid-roll Ads in the live streaming sessions. The streamer can roll the Ads at any point during the stream. Many video game streamers utilize this feature to take short breaks during the lengthy stream sessions. Depending on how you can persuade your audience to resume the viewership, you can take Ad break at any point and earn from the Google AdSense.

What is the expected review generation from Ads?

It depends on countless factors. It is a tricky task to calculate the precise revenue from the Ads breaks. Most of the time the platforms calculate the monetization in terms of Cost-Per-Mile (CPM). I.e. cost-per-thousand views. Therefore, you can do a rough calculation in terms of how much can you earn by showing the same Ad to 1,000 people on your live stream. Different platforms follow different models and offer altered rates on the Ads. Hence, you should make sure to read their terms and conditions before signing up for the Ad revenue model.

What is the downside?

Live streamers complain that they cannot rely on Ads revenue for income. While VOD content can accumulate the desired views over a time, live content mainly gains the views during the real-time session. Post live session, there is a negligible increase in the views. Moreover, it is risky to show too many Ads or take longer breaks during a live session; you might lose the current viewership to other streamers. As a result, you are bound to utilize Ad breaks in most the negligible way. A study by Digiday also recommended that Ad breaks are not efficient for generating considerable income from a live stream.

This brings us our next way to make money live streaming- tips and donations.

2. Impress fans to get tips and donations

We talked about a study by Deloitte at the beginning of this article. The same study also revealed that out of all the ways to make money live streaming, streamers would generate a major section of their income from tipping and donations from the viewers.

Technology has provided some innovative ways to the fans for supporting their favorite streamers. In fact, many popular platforms like YouTube and Twitch have adopted tipping as one of the revenue models. Using regional and international payment solutions like PayPal and Google Pay, viewers can donate to any streamer they like.

Streaming - Youtube

Image source: Youtube

Take YouTube gaming app, for example, streamers use the platform for broadcasting live gaming sessions. It has inbuilt features to accept online donations in form of ‘Superchat’, where users can send direct chat to the streamers by donating some money with the same. The streamer will see these paid messages on top of the regular live chats. YouTube utilizes the feature to let users talk to their beloved streamers and support them at the same time.

YouTube transfers rest of the amount to the streamers’ account after deducting 30% as the commission. We have also seen many unprivileged gamers crowdfunding the cost of buying a new gaming setup through these Superchats.

3. Adopt Subscription revenue model

Depending on the platforms, the subscription model works both as a pay-per-view and premium membership model. In pay-per-view, the live stream remains hidden from the general users and is shown only after purchasing the rights to view. Similarly, the premium membership model allows a viewer to watch all the live streams without any Ad for a certain subscription period. You can also call them, the monthly scheduled donations.

YouTube uses the terms “Premium Membership” or “Sponsorship” for the same. After subscribing to the premium membership, users get access to exclusive features like-

  • Ad-free viewing
  • Exclusive access to special badges
  • Badges in live chat sent to the streamer
  • Access to unique emotes in the live chat

Currently, YouTube takes 30 percent of creators’ channel membership revenue. The creator gets 70 percent of a fixed membership cost of $4.99. To activate membership feature on your channel, you need to have more than 100,000 subscribers.

PS: YouTube also deducts local sales tax from the given 70 percent to the streamers.

Streaming - PewDiePie

Image source: YouTube channel of PewDiePie

Sound like a great deal for the live streamers. However, it is also important to maintain the viewership and trust factor among the sponsors. The sponsors will only renew their sponsorship if they consider you worthy of it. It solely depends on your content and grasp among the audience to influence as many viewers to become sponsors.

You can stream on many other platforms that support the premium membership model. Twitch is another popular platform that supports a similar feature with it ‘Twitch Prime’. Except for, channels can also choose to show their content only to the premium members and not to the general viewers.

Streaming - Twitch

Image source:

Another method would be using a custom live streaming solution and creating your own live streaming platform with YouTube and Twitch like features for earning. If you have a huge base of audience, you should definitely consider this option to claim all the earning for yourself. There are numerous Twitch and YouTube clone scripts in the market. They offer similar revenue models like YouTube and Twitch to earn from what your stream. The investing site Investorunner has two chapters about how to make money with live streaming.

4. Participate in affiliate programs

It is the most common method to earn from live streaming. Being the most accessible method, affiliate marketing allows even the smallest creators to earn from their content. You can sign-up on affiliate marketing programs of different brands and get affiliate links from them. Later you can put your affiliate links in the content description of your stream. You can also promote the links by entering into an exclusive affiliate partnership with the brands and offering unique deals on the items in the link.

If viewers use your link to make a purchase, you would get commissions on the per-sale made through the links. The payment model of brands may differ as some of them can pay on ‘pay-per-click’ basis, while others would expect a confirmed sale for claiming the commission.

Below is an example of how Amazon allows anyone to sing up for its affiliate-marketing program and earn from it. Just Google it, you would find so many brands offering programs like that. You just need a good touchpoint like your live streaming platform to promote these links and earn.

Learn about how to start affiliate marketing without a blog

Streaming - Amazon

Image source:

Streaming - tech tips

Image source: YouTube channel-Linus tech Tips

5. Approach brands for sponsorships

You can approach brands for paid sponsorship, where they would give direct money for promoting their products and services in your live stream. As it is the biggest source of revenue generation in this list, it is equally lucrative and difficult to get. You would need accumulating a considerable base of followers to be able to enter in terms with the brands for such sponsorship. Here’s how to get YouTube sponsorship.

  • Make a list of brands relevant to your kind of live stream topics.
  • Pitch them a personalized proposal mentioning how you can promote them in your content.
  • Use online sponsorship platforms to get in touch with brands who are looking for live promoters.
  • Attend events organized by YouTube and brands. You would find many chances to pitch your proposal there.
  • The best option is focusing on your content and growing your channel. Brands will come looking for you once you have grown your channel.

Be cautious

  • Do not go beyond your niche. Promote only the brands relevant to your kind of audience. For example, a video game streamer can promote gaming products and related accessories.
  • Do not endanger your repute. Promote only those brands and products, which you think, are genuine. Promoting bad products will jeopardize your reputation as an honest influencer.
  • Do not overpromise. Less is always more while promoting something. Talking too much about the same thing would de-influence the viewers instead of encouraging them.


Making money with live streaming is a bit difficult in the early stages. When you compare live streaming with video on demand, they get more options than a live content. However, you should not be disheartened when early stages are not coming out as expected. Keep doing your job and be honest with your followers. Eventually, you will get there. I hope this article has cleared your confusions about how to make money live streaming a content. If you have questions, you are more than just welcomed to ask in the comments section.