Video Monetization

Video Paywall: The Complete Guide to Using Content Paywalls

By Daniel Kosmala
7 Min Read

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A woman sits in her living room while talking to a phone camera.

If we’ve got one piece of valuable advice for content creators it’s this: know your worth.

For a long time, YouTube and other ad-based services were the top way for content creators to make money from their video content.

Now, it’s a tough way to make a living.

Even as YouTube’s views increase, the advertising revenue they pay to their creators continues to decrease. This means you need a way to keep your income up and earn what you’re worth.

That’s where a video paywall comes in.

Video paywalls are the best way to make money from content because they let you take control of your income and build an independent business around what you create.

In this article we’ll share everything you need to know about content paywalls, from what they are to why you need them, so you can start using them in your business right away.

Let’s jump right in.

So, What Is a Video Paywall?

You can define a paywall as a way of restricting access to digital content. It requires a payment — either a one-time fee or a recurring subscription — to access what’s on the other side.

A good example of this would be Netflix, where you need to become a paying subscriber to access their library of video content.

By restricting access to your content, you can control your prices and create a more predictable revenue stream.

Usually, paywall content is behind 3 main types of paywalls: 

  • Hard paywall: all of the content on the website is gated, and users need to to pay to access it. 
  • Soft paywall: also known as a metered paywall, which gives people access to a preview or free trial, so they have to pay to gain complete access. 
  • Freemium paywall: works similar to a soft paywall, but people can access free content for an unlimited time, and would have to pay to access everything else. 

Better still, you’re free of advertiser-driven content guidelines that can impact the look and feel of your content, as well as whether you can make money from a particular video.

A video paywall essentially allows you to turn your content into a premium digital product, which is what makes it a key element in monetizing your online content. 

You’ll also have the freedom to choose how to charge for the content behind a video paywall, with these 3 main paywall business models for video streaming services: 

  1. Subscription video-on-demand (SVOD): a video-on-demand (VOD) service that allows users to access an entire library of videos for a small recurring monthly or annual fee
  2. Transactional video-on-demand (TVOD): a VOD service that allows you to buy content on a pay-per-view (PPV) basis, like renting a movie on Amazon Prime.
  3. Hybrid (SVOD + TVOD): you can combine TVOD and SVOD for one-off videos and subscriptions to your content. 

If getting paid what you’re worth sounds like an attractive deal, then keep reading! 

And, Why Do I Need a Video Paywall?

One of the greatest benefits of a video paywall service is to help you protect and expand your content business.

By putting your premium content behind a paywall, you can:

  1. Take control of your income and content.
  2. Keep your business safe from advertisers and platform crashes.
  3. Build closer relationships with your audience.

And if you’re wondering what the market is like for video monetization outside of YouTube, you’ll be happy to know that paid online video monetization platforms are more popular than ever — and the demand will continue to grow! 

In fact, the video streaming market is currently valued at $94 billion, and that number is expected to almost double by 2027. 

A graphic shows video-on-demand revenue through the years

But why do people want paywall-protected on-demand content?

Simply put: if viewers find you and your content valuable, they’d rather watch it without the extra hassle of ads.

When there’s a more convenient viewing option for a small fee, they’ll happily pay for that instead, even if they know they could get the content for free elsewhere! 

In fact, content paywalls are a large part of the reason our customers at Uscreen are generating well over $100 million in revenue per year.

That’s exactly why it’s time for you to launch your own paywall-protected video streaming platform — so you can give your audience what they want while building the business you want.

Now, we know consumers want paywalls, but for content creators, is it really a better monetization method than YouTube?


And we’ll tell you why.

It’s simple with Uscreen.

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

But, How Can a Video Paywall Grow My Business?

Fun fact: putting your content behind a paywall can actually increase the demand for your content and your brand’s overall value.

Here are 3 reasons why…

1. You Can Create a High-Quality Brand

Running a premium content platform gives you the perfect opportunity to strengthen your brand, which is key if you want your business to resonate with customers.

Plus, putting your content behind a paywall increases the perceived value of your brand. 

When you’re charging for access to a professional-looking membership site platform, you’re telling viewers you have a high-quality offer that’s different from all the free content out there.

For example, Uscreen offers branding and customization tools to help you create your unique brand style and stand out from the crowd.

💡How They Do It

Get It Done Fitness created a memorable brand across multiple platforms, including strong color schemes, typography, and a clean layout. 

2. You Can Build an Inclusive Community Around Your Content

Communities are made up of people who share the same values and interests.

You can grow an online community around your business that increases customer loyalty. According to those customers, brand loyalty means they will:

  • Make repeat purchases.
  • Recommend your service to other people. 
  • Make you their preferred service, even if you’re not the cheapest option. 

Money may not be able to buy happiness, but for audiences, it can certainly buy a sense of togetherness — which is pretty similar!

And to support your business in the long term, online communities also help you increase traffic, gain valuable customer feedback, and provide a space for you to engage with your audience. 

💡How They Do It

Consider the Dog provides tutorials from world-renowned canine experts.

They offer access to a private members-only group as part of their subscription package. This forum gives customers a place to interact with fellow dog lovers, as well as get new content updates and exclusive discounts. 

3. You Can Keep Your Viewers Coming Back for More

A smaller audience of consistent users who chose to sign up is more valuable than a larger audience watching for free. 

People buy access to your paywall content because they feel it’s worth their money. By offering…

  • entertaining original video content
  • a sense of belonging to a community
  • to help viewers achieve their goals

…you’re adding value to their lives. And the more value you give them, the longer they’ll stay subscribed to your SVOD service.

Better still, the longer subscribers stay with you, the more you can learn about what they want. 

For example, Uscreen’s detailed marketing and analytics tools help you better understand and retain customers. This will lead to more consistent views and a recurring income.

Plus, a high rate of consistently satisfied customers is a key element for growth. 

It’s simple with Uscreen.

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

Cool, How Do I Create a Video Paywall?

Paywall businesses need to be approached differently than ad-based ones. 

You need a paywall solution provider that’ll help you launch and grow your subscription streaming service

When looking for paywall solutions, consider a platform that:

  • Allows you to customize your platform according to your brand. 
  • Offers a secure way of keeping your content behind a video paywall. 
  • Gives you customer support and is easy to use. 
  • Lets you choose between different monetization options. 

Luckily, Uscreen has tons of experience helping clients build successful paid online video platforms. We offer all the features you need to launch and grow your business as well as retain your audience. 

Creating a video paywall with Uscreen is simple: 

  1. Choose your domain name, web hosting, and content management system
  2. Design your video-on-demand platform. 
  3. Pick a monetization business model. 
  4. Set up payment systems.
  5. Market your video streaming service.
  6. Distribute your content with OTT apps.

Uscreen is serving some of the biggest names in the industry like TEDxCambridge, NBC, and BBC — and we also help small- and medium-sized content creators grow their video businesses.

If you’re ready to take the next step and start your own SVOD service, give us a shout and learn more about what Uscreen can do for you as a creator.

Don’t just take our word for it: more than 11,000 entrepreneurs, brands, and creators have leveraged Uscreen’s all-in-one platform to build successful video businesses and monetize their content online.

It’s simple with Uscreen.

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

What About a Video Paywall vs. YouTube?

Although many YouTubers have built strong brands, inclusive communities, and have repeat viewers, YouTube is far from the best way for content creators to earn a living. 

YouTube’s ad-based business model is an unreliable source of income, and you’re putting the fate of your brand and content in the hands of a third-party platform.

That means you have limited control over your income, and you’re not part of the decision-making process about what videos get demonetized or how their algorithm changes.

It takes millions of views per month to generate a solid profit, and there’s no guarantee you’ll still be able to earn from that video tomorrow.  

In fact, YouTubers often earn less than the U.S. poverty line and are even regularly demonetized.

This puts content creators like you in a tough spot. 

Now, to be clear: we love YouTube here at Uscreen. 

It’s a powerful marketing engine where you can build and nurture a community, strengthen your brand, and connect the right people to your paid video streaming service. 

Plus, YouTube is still the top online video search engine, which makes it a great place to connect with an audience and expand your reach.

In fact, creators who use YouTube to promote their own video streaming platform go on to earn an average of $12,000 a month.

We always recommend using YouTube to build your audience, and if you’re monetizing your YouTube videos in the process, stick with it! (That way, you have several sources of income.) 

But by making a smooth transition to your own video membership platform, you no longer have to rely on ad-based revenue.

Not only do video paywalls provide stability for your business, they can also help grow it!

Wrapping It Up

There you have it: our complete video paywall guide to help you monetize your content online and build a community. 

If you’re as excited about using a content paywall as we are, then check out what Uscreen has to offer. We can help you monetize your videos online while creating a thriving community of loyal members. 

It’s simple with Uscreen.

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

Video Paywall FAQs

What is a video paywall?

A video paywall is a digital gateway that restricts access to premium video content, allowing only those who have subscribed or paid a fee to view it.

At Uscreen, we see a video paywall not just as a barrier but as a bridge connecting creators with their most dedicated fans, enabling creators to monetize their passion and viewers to access exclusive, high-quality content. It’s about fostering a community where value is exchanged seamlessly, ensuring creators are compensated for their work while providing fans with enriching, engaging content that resonates.

What’s the difference between a paywall and a subscription?

A paywall acts as a gate, requiring viewers to make a one-time payment or subscribe to pass through and access premium content. It’s the first step towards unlocking exclusive material. On the other hand, a subscription is an ongoing relationship, where viewers pay regularly to maintain access to content they love, often enjoying a broader range of features, updates, and community engagement.

While a paywall initiates the journey, a subscription deepens the connection between creators and their audience, fostering a thriving community around shared passions and interests.