The last couple of years we have seen a massive increase in the number of videos created and shared or distributed online. The biggest video hosting and streaming site, Youtube, now has over 10 million video clips and over 2 billion views per day, and a lot of people are making thousands of dollars per month from video promotions (which are hosted freely by Youtube and other services).
If you’ve ever visited Youtube, Metacafe and other similar sites, you already know that it’s possible to find everything, from trailers of new movies to commercials, how to videos and even full TV shows. Internet video sharing and distribution is slowly overtaking TV, and now is the best time to get in on the game, while it’s still not too late.
Hosting your videos online couldn’t be easier: you just create an account at your favorite video sharing site (there are about a dozen good ones, including Vimeo, Youtube, Metacafe, DailyMotion and Hulu, the last 2 of which have recommended themselves as professional paid video hosting services with a lot of unique features like advanced analytics and unlimited length and size of the videos you upload).
Choosing a specific service may prove pretty hard, though, and if you just can’t decide which one is the best (as every service has their own advantages), you can just upload your videos to multiple video sharing sites at once! It is not against any site’s TOS (not yet, anyway), and you win by getting even more views and subscribers than from a single site.
There are services out there that allow you to upload your video once, and they automatically transmit it to your accounts on over a dozen video hosting and sharing sites. The best of these services is TubeMogul, of which you may have already heard, but there are other, cheaper alternatives like SubmitInMe and Hey!Spread.
Basically, creating the videos will be the hard part if you get into this. Now, sticking with only one service has its advantages. For example, on Youtube, if you gain enough views per month and subscriptions, you can become a partner and earn even more money using Youtube’s in-video ads and links and the banners in the sidebar. You also gain access to some very advanced analytics (the service is owned by Google, after all, and their Google Analytics is the best web analytics service online), which can help you further improve your videos and marketing campaigns. They also can offer your videos for rental on various Pay Per Stream services, and you earn a nice commission every time someone views your video.
Another solution is to host the videos yourself on your own servers. While that may seem a hard thing to do, it’s actually pretty easy, and the difficulty is compared to running an advanced WordPress or Drupal site. The benefit in this case is that you have full control over the videos, the ads and analytics and can do much more with those things than you ever would on video hosting services. You also do not depend on any third party ToS and don’t have to share your profits with anyone.
Despite all the advantages, hosting your videos yourself has a big disadvantage in the form of high server and bandwidth costs. In order to host, for example, your own web TV show and have a viewership of, say, 1,000,000 per month, you’d have to get a pretty expensive and powerful server. Something like 16 cores, 32GB of RAM and a RAID 5 SATA2 hard drive configuration should be enough, and that will cost you around $1000 per month.
Bandwidth is the most important issue when hosting videos yourself. If every one of your videos is HD and weights 250 Megabytes, you’ll spend 100GB of bandwidth for every 400 views, and the usual 4-6 TB of monthly bandwidth most hosting companies offer is definitely not enough. You will have to rent your own, separate, high speed Gigabit line with unlimited bandwidth, which can cost anywhere between two and four thousand dollars per month.
Still, I believe that the price is worth it. If you have 1,000,000 views per month, you will most probably already make more than $10,000 in profit from them, so that can easily cover any costs. The ability to expand however you want and not be limited by anything is completely worth it.
Marketing your videos is just as easy as marketing anything else on the Internet (like blogs and informational products). You’ll need to get links, use viral marketing, and social networks, build apps (a lot of people do that and they’re pretty successful) and use other methods to drive traffic. In the end, everything is completely worth it and as the Internet and video hosting expands, your profits will definitely grow.
As you can see, video marketing is a great way of making money online, and you should definitely get into it as soon as possible. Video hosting is still pretty easy and free most of the times, so there’s no reason not to try. The best way to go about it if you’re thinking long term is to get a free account at Youtube (or any other service) and start creating and uploading videos. Once you get enough viewers and are making a good profit, you can move to your own servers and expand further.