AWS for M&E Blog

Video monetization with Amazon IVS

Live video streaming is increasing globally, and more companies now offer this interactive format to users across a multitude of industries. According to Statistita, online video recorded an audience reach of around 92 percent among internet users worldwide in the first quarter of 2023. Amazon Interactive Video Service (Amazon IVS), a managed service that enables the creation of interactive live video experiences, is used by many customers to power live video apps and websites. In order to build a successful business model for live video streaming, it is important to find the right monetization model that lets you generate revenue while providing the best user experience.

Live video streaming is used in many different contexts (social apps, education, e-commerce, etc.) and multiple monetization models are available for live video streaming. In this blog post, we explore several video monetization methods and how you can leverage Amazon IVS features, other Amazon Web Services (AWS) products, and AWS Partner solutions to monetize your live streams.

Live commerce

One of the best and most straightforward ways to monetize video streams is to sell products directly to your audience. This format is called live commerce and is used by many e-commerce companies and retailers around the world. The live video format is great for selling products due to the interactivity between the streamer and the audience. The audience can ask questions about the product to the streamer during the live show or check the product page while watching the live video simultaneously. It is also possible to push a specific limited-time offer only available during the live video. According to a live commerce study by Mckinsey, e-commerce companies using this format improved their monetization with up to 10 times higher conversion rates compared to conventional e-commerce. Even for companies that are not an e-commerce company, it is still possible to conduct live commerce by using affiliate marketing programs.

For example, it is possible to integrate Amazon affiliate programs with Amazon IVS to generate product links and to have them appear as a buy button during a live video show (refer to integration of Amazon affiliate links with IVS here).  If you don’t want to build a live commerce experience yourself, you can use live commerce solutions developed by AWS Partners such as Firework or Belive that provide live-commerce powered by Amazon IVS.

Paid per view or subscription models

For industries such as education or entertainment, pay to watch live content can represent a significant source of revenue. There are several paying models that you can implement based on your use case. In the case of a specific live event such as a live concert, you can require your users to pay to watch the event. In that case, it is called a paid per view model. Another model is to implement a monthly or yearly subscription.

For example, an education company may charge students a fixed price per month to access live video lessons. The Amazon IVS low latency private channel feature gives you the ability to restrict access to live content. The feature works on a web token technology where only the viewers who have received the token can access the channel. It is also possible to revoke a viewer session midstream. This lets you start a live event that is free to watch and then restrict access after a certain time period to only those viewers who have paid to watch it. If you don’t want or do not have time to develop your own subscription implementation, it is also possible to use an AWS Partner solution such as Maestro, which offers ticketing or subscription solutions that are easy to integrate.

Donation and virtual gifting

A potential benefit of live video streaming is the interactivity it creates between the audience and the streamer. There are many ways for viewers to interact with the streamer such as sending a chat message, an emoji, or a quiz question. Companies can leverage the interactivity offered by live video streaming to build in monetization, such as donations and virtual gifting. Virtual gifting involves viewers giving streamers virtual gifts, which usually requires viewers to spend real money to buy them. Many live streaming platforms have launched unique virtual currencies as conversion systems between real money and virtual gifts.

For example, Twitch launched the “Bits” virtual currency in 2016. Viewers purchase Bits with real money, then use Bits to buy the platform’s virtual gift “Cheers”, and finally, give the gift to the streamer. Virtual gifts provide financial support for streamers and ensure a revenue stream for live streaming platforms. It is possible to gamify this type of experience to create a fun experience while monetizing your audience.

Sponsoring, product placement and advertising 

Monetizing a live video stream through sponsorship offers a good monetization opportunity for both creators and brands. A company may pay a creator to mention their brand or product during a live stream. By featuring sponsored content or displaying branded products during a live stream, creators generate revenue while providing exposure for the sponsoring brand. When doing this, It is important to comply with guidelines and regulations, such as marking the video as containing paid advertising. Sponsorship and product placement create a win-win situation, as brands benefit from increased brand awareness and detailed tracking, while creators can monetize their live stream without disrupting the viewer experience.

It is also possible to combine product placement with technology that will automatically recognize objects in a live video stream, and, for example, display a banner with a QR code to that allows viewers to learn more about the recognized product.  You can build this type of innovative experience by using Amazon IVS and Amazon Rekognition (see blog post here). In more traditional way, you can also consider ad insertion into your live stream and work with an ad network to propose ads campaigns. You can offer many different ads format such pre-roll, mid-roll, or post-roll ads.

As we described in this blog post, it is possible to monetize a live video stream in several different ways. The monetization methods you choose depend on your industry and the type of experience you want to offer to users. You can also use similar monetization models for VOD content generated by your live video stream. It is also possible to combine multiple monetization methods in order to optimize your revenue while striking a balance between monetization and exceptional user experience.

Thomas Sauvage

Thomas Sauvage

Thomas Sauvage leads cross-functional, go-to-market initiatives to expand existing markets and develop scalable programs to drive adoption of AWS Media Services in the Asia-Pacific region.