Video Monetization

How to Make Money Live Streaming: 9 Techniques to Monetize Your Streams

By Elise Dopson
8 Min Read

Learn More about Live Streaming

An image showing two men talking about ways of making money with live streaming.

You’re the host of a popular live stream and spend hours each week going live to your audience.  

The problem? You haven’t found a way to monetize the time, effort, and energy you’re putting into your live videos. For your viewers, you’re simply a free entertainment channel. 

Creators don’t need millions of subscribers to start monetizing their live streams. And there are quicker, easier options than adding pre-roll ads on a platform like YouTube

If you’re ready to turn high-quality live streams into a source of income, you’re in the right place. This guide shares 9 effective ways to make money live streaming as a creator, complete with the earning potential of each strategy. 

And if you’re already making a little money from your live streams, but want to know how to increase your earning potential, check out this video:

How to make money live streaming

  1. Launch your own live streaming platform
  2. Sell pay-per-view streams
  3. Create and sell your own products
  4. Offer related services 
  5. Find a live stream sponsor 
  6. Join an affiliate program
  7. Ask for tips or pledges
  8. Sell branded merchandise
  9. Monetize with live stream ads

1. Launch your own exclusive live streaming platform

Many creators start their live streaming career on a social media platform like Twitch, TikTok Live, Facebook Live, or YouTube Live. 

These third-party platforms are great for audience-building, but relying on them as a source of monetization is risky. 

That’s because they have total control over your live streams. They can take down your profile without recourse, limit visibility in their built-in search engines, and take a huge cut from the ads they run throughout your stream. 

The most sustainable and profitable way to make money from your live streams is to have your own platform—specifically, your own live streaming website

With Uscreen, you can build a platform that allows you to:

  • Host your own live streams
  • Engage your audience in real-time with features like stickers and super chat
  • Charge a one-off or subscription fee
  • Control your marketing
  • Keep 100% of what you earn, regardless of how your viewers pay

Take XR Events Plus (XR+), for example, who launched its live streaming service with Uscreen in 2019 as a place to broadcast America’s largest dirt track races. 

For $39.99 a month (or $199.99 a year), subscribers can tune into a live stream of the latest race and access replays of previous race live streams:

A image shows monthly and annual memberships for XR+.

You don’t have to be a well-funded sporting outfit like XR+ to take advantage of live streams.

This business model works for all niches, with individual content creators and small teams. If you have live content to share, and a handful of fans who are willing to pay to watch it, this is a scalable way to get paid for your live streams.

Uscreen is focused on helping creators monetize their video content with features such as white-label branded OTT apps, live streaming, a Netflix-style video platform, and a class-leading CMS. 

It’s no wonder why creators who build their live streaming platforms with Uscreen make an average of $12,000 every month.

It’s simple with Uscreen.

Build, launch and manage your membership, all in one place.

2. Sell pay-per-view streams

Another way to make money from video streaming is to host pay-per-view (PPV) streams. This happens when people pay a small one-off fee to watch your stream.

PPV streams are great if you’re sharing special or exclusive content on your live stream, such as:

  • Workshops
  • Masterclasses
  • Tutorials 

Your Book of Memories is a creator who has incorporated the PPV video model into their monetization strategy. 

Boasting a huge library of videos that teach people how to make memory books, people can join its membership program to get access to the entire library. 

But there’s also the option to buy individual videos for a one-time fee.

An image shows one-time video sold by Your Book Of Memories.

The best part? You don’t need to manually process every sale when monetizing your live broadcast with PPV streams.

Platforms like Uscreen can handle PPV live streams to take the logistical headache out of processing payments. Viewers can pay using their credit card or payment gateway like PayPal.

You can also gate access, communicate with customers throughout the stream, and create subscription plans for future live streams—all within a single dashboard. 

3. Create and sell your own products

Creating your own digital products is an excellent way to get paid from your live stream audience. 

Many viewers watch live streams with a willingness to buy something new. According to one report, livecommerce in the US grew to ~$50bn in 2023. 

The type of product you offer will depend on your niche. It will need to appeal to your viewership and fit your brand.

Selling your own branded physical products —such as stationery, mugs, or clothing—will require a higher cash investment upfront.  This can be a profitable stream of income though, especially if you have a community of fans who want to sport your branding.

Digital products, on the other hand, can require more time to create but less financial investment overall. Plus, the cost is once-off, and then you can sell them as many times as you like. Some popular digital products include:

4. Offer related services 

Another way to make money from live streaming is to offer services on the side. 

Granted, services take more time to fulfill since they’re personalized to each customer. 

But the monetization potential can be greater if you don’t mind trading time for money. Freelancers who offer specialist skills like website design, manual testing, and programming can earn up to $350 per hour

Start by identifying a related service your audience would pay for. If you’re a gaming live streamer, for example, sell 1:1 sessions that teach gamers how to improve in their favorite game.

Charli Marie is a graphic designer who puts this strategy into action. Charli hosts YouTube videos where she live streams the website design process. She offers supplementary premium content to monetize the live stream, including mentoring sessions—a paid service that is promoted in the video description.

An image shows complementary premium content sold by a creator.

Being able to offer related services again comes back to your niche and your audience. For a lot of entertainers and YouTubers, it probably wouldn’t be a suitable avenue of income.

5. Find a live stream sponsor

Brand sponsorships and partnerships can be a profitable way to make money from your live stream video content.

Sponsors will pay you to create your live stream content in exchange for a casual “shout-out” or more formal ad-read during your stream. For most content creators, they’re a segment in your live stream where you:

  • Mention the brand
  • Introduce their product
  • Share a short personal testimonial

Here’s an example from the popular YouTube channel MrBallen. He takes the time right at the start of his video to highlight his brand deal:

A screenshot of MrBallen's YouTube channel.

Sponsors often pay between $15 to $50 per 1,000 views. So, if your YouTube or Facebook live streams are regularly getting 5,000+ views you can earn a solid income as a live streamer.

Brand partnerships tend to bring in the most money. They work well because they connect our content with relevant brands. With a thoughtful approach and content that resonates with our audience, brand partnerships can be very financially rewarding, especially when the brand aligns with our niche.

Isaac Robertson, co-founder of Total Shape

That said, it can be tricky to find and secure a good brand deal, and from there it can be a lengthy process to set up. As a result, brand deals can be a good additional source of revenue, but they’re too unpredictable to rely on consistently. 

The brands you partner with also need to be a good fit for your creator business. Your goal isn’t to partner with any brand that comes your way. You want to partner with good brands that offer relevant products to your live stream content. 

Sponsors will want to influence the content you create; having the wrong one can cost you subscribers.

6. Join an affiliate program 

Affiliates are people who promote a product or service—typically with a link or a referral code—and receive a commission. 

This commission can range between 5% and 30% of the sale (meaning if you sell a $100 product, you could earn between $5 and $30 in commissions).

Using affiliate marketing to monetize your live stream doesn’t guarantee major profits. It’s not a predictable revenue stream; people might be more willing to buy products from certain affiliates. 

You’re also at the mercy of the brand changing its affiliate policy—like Amazon, who once slashed commissions from 8% to 3% with little notice. 

That said, affiliate programs are a great place to start earning money as a live streamer because they’re low risk. As long as the products are relevant to your subscribers, they’ll be happy to hear about—and maybe buy—them.

Find affiliate opportunities by:

Once you’ve found affiliate partners and joined their program, start monetizing your live streams by showcasing the product during your video. You could even host a tutorial or workshop that tells viewers how to achieve something using the affiliated product.

A screenshot of an affiliate program dashboard.

7. Ask for tips or pledges

The easiest way to make money with live streaming is to accept tips.

You can use tools like Patreon, ConvertKit Tip Jar, YouTube Super Chat, and Buy Me A Coffee to ask for monthly “pledges” that provide subscribers with premium benefits. Each new tier offers more value.

Let’s take a look at an example from YouTuber, Patrick (H) Willems, who offers 3 tiers to his audience at $3, $5 or $10 a month. 

Depending on the tier they choose, they can get the following perks:

  • Access to exclusive live streams
  • Their name in a video’s credits
  • A hand-drawn comic panel
  • Official merchandise
Screenshot of Patrick Willems' patreon membership tiers

Tip pages are easy to set up and, if you have a large enough following, you could start earning from them in hours.

Direct contributions from my viewers play a significant role. Utilizing platforms like Twitch’s Cheers or YouTube’s Super Chat allows fans to support the content and interact more directly.

Chris Grayson, creator of Stream Scheme

Even though there are several users earning $50,000+ a month through tip platforms like Patreon, this isn’t the standard. 

Reports show that only 0.33% of Patreon users have more than 2,000 patrons. Patreon’s CEO also estimates just 4,300 creators break the $1,000+ a month mark.

For that reason, we’d recommend using tips as a supplementary income stream and combining it with other methods on this list. 

8. Sell branded merchandise

You can monetize the community around your live-streaming channel with branded merchandise. 

This not only increases revenue from existing viewers, but it can help you attract new ones. People will become walking billboards of your channel—especially if you’re selling wearable merch like t-shirts, hats, or hoodies.

Choose merchandise that relates to your live streaming niche. For example: if you host live stream videos about book reviews, or where you’re reading, you could sell branded bookmarks or Kindle stickers. 

Then, increase merch sales through your live stream by:

  • Showcasing the products multiple times in your live stream
  • Linking to merchandise in your stream’s description
  • Sending follow-up emails to viewers that mention your branded merchandise

Take inspiration from Matthew K Heafy, a heavy metal singer who uses live streaming to engage with his viewership. He monetizes his audience of 250,000+ followers by dropshipping merchandise:

A screenshot of a dropshipping merchandise package.

Business models like dropshipping and print-on-demand are great for streamers because you don’t physically touch the products. Items are manufactured and shipped to the end customer whenever an order is placed.

In Matthew’s case, he provides his branded designs to a third-party company. This company creates the products on-demand and ships them directly to the customer. 

Profits are lower—between 10% and 25% of a sale—but you don’t need to handle or create the goods. You only pay for inventory when you’ve sold it, reducing risk and the need for a fancy warehouse to store your merchandise.

9. Monetize with live stream ads

Advertising is a billion dollar industry. Take a slice of the money brands spend on advertising by allowing them to display their campaign through your live stream. 

There are three main types of live stream ads you can offer:

  • Pre-roll ads. These live stream ads play automatically before online videos (such as YouTube content) and are usually 15 or 30 seconds long. 
  • Mid-roll ads. Also known as in-stream ads, this type of campaign usually lasts a minimum of 12 seconds and is placed in the middle of video content.
  • Overlay ads. This a small banner-like ad that takes up the bottom 20% of a video’s screen, without obstructing the user’s view.

If you’re live streaming on YouTube, the platform can run these live stream ads for you through its Partner Program. But YouTube still needs to take its 45% cut, so you’ll end up with about half of the ad revenue your content generates.

Find out your YouTube CPM and potential ad revenue

A woman smiles in front of her computer while choosing a membership pricing strategy.

The better option is to create your own live stream platform and find your own advertisers. 

Partner with brands you already have a working relationship with. Ask them to submit a short clip that you play at certain durations throughout the live stream.

You could even host PPV live streams on your own portal and introduce a membership option where viewers can pay a recurring fee each month to bypass ads. (Some 80 million people already pay for this through YouTube Premium—the platform’s built-in ad skipping feature.)

Earn extra revenue for your creator business with live streaming

Making money as a live streamer isn’t as complex as you might have thought. 

In fact, finding sponsorships and promoting affiliate products is the easy part. The key to making money in the long run is to establish strong relationships with your viewers—AKA, the people who make monetization possible. 

As Stream Scheme’s Chris Grayson summarizes: “Viewers can quickly discern between genuine recommendations and promotional content. 

“Build a strong rapport with your audience by consistently providing valuable insights, interacting with them, and only promoting products and services you truly believe in. Remember that your audience’s trust is your most valuable asset.” 

Make money live streaming FAQs

Is it realistic to make money streaming?

It is realistic to monetize your live streams—but it takes time, effort, and an engaged audience. The quickest way to earn money streaming is to charge people for access to your livestreams, join affiliate programs, and sell products or services on the side. 

What is the best streaming platform to earn money?

If you want to own your audience and revenue away from the fear of demonization, Uscreen is one of the best live streaming platforms to monetize. Creators can build their own website, create an online community around their streams, and process payments—all in one platform. 

How much money can you make from streaming?

Live streamers on Uscreen make an average of $12,000 every month. This can be higher with supplementary income streams like tips, services, or digital products.