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Paywalls vs. Subscriptions: Which is Right for Your Video Content?

Ankit Jena Published on : 15 April 2024
Paywall vs Subscription


Are you confused between paywall vs subscription for monetizing your valuable content? As the demand for high-quality video experiences rises and consumer preferences continue to evolve, the choice between paywalls and subscription models emerges as a vital strategic decision. Whether you’re a media distributor broadcasting live sports events or musical concerts, a production company creating compelling visual narratives, or an entertainment platform curating exclusive content, understanding the significance of these monetization approaches is essential to achieving sustainable growth and profitability.

Creating a quality video is only half of the job done because you need to decide the monetization for generating a profitable revenue from the video content. Businesses and content owners also go through the similar challenge of monetizing their videos effectively.

However, in various of our previous blogs we have already come across different monetization models and how each of them can help earn revenue with their own set of benefits. In this blog, we will compare between Paywall and Subscription and which one will be the right option for your video content.

Audience is already accustomed to paying through both the Subscription model or Pay-Per-View model. Now. It’s your turn to determine which video content will help you make the most revenue using either of the options i.e. paywall vs subscription.


Understanding Paywall

Video Paywall is a monetization model which allows the audience to watch the video content by paying a one-time fee. It acts as a digital barrier restricting non-paying users accessing the content.

Paywall is suitable for both on-demand and live videos. It can be used by various businesses, educational institutions, media and entertainment industry, sports industry, etc. to monetize their exclusive contents.


What is a Live Video Paywall?

Live video paywall is just like pay-per-view in the live broadcasting and you can use it to monetize your live streams and allow your audience to pay a minimum fee and watch the live events. Live video paywalls are commonly used for streaming events like concerts, sports matches, conferences, webinars, and other live performances or presentations.

For example, if you are live streaming a music concert, you can set a one-time fee for users to access the live stream. The users can pay the fee and access the content online on their respective devices. You can also use the Paywall model to monetize premium or exclusive contents.


What Are The Different Types of Paywall?

Hard paywall – Each content present in your website or app is gated and users cannot access without making a purchase. It is suitable for the content owners who believe that their contents are exclusive and have a significant value and should only be accessible to paying subscribers.  

Soft Paywall – A part of the contents present in your website or app is gated and allows users to kind of take a trial with free contents and ultimately must pay to access the premium contents and take other benefits. For example, you can start a free online crash course but charge for a premium membership allowing users to take the advantage of a comprehensive course with detailed syllabus covered!

Freemium Paywall – It is like soft paywall and allows users to access free contents for an unlimited time. Users would have to pay for premium contents and everything provided by the platform. 


Advantages of Paywalls for Video Content


Predictable Revenue Stream:

Implementing a paywall for video content provides creators and distributors with a predictable revenue stream. By charging viewers for access to content, businesses can forecast their earnings more accurately. This stability allows for better financial planning, investment in content creation, and overall business growth. Predictable revenue streams also make it easier to attract investors and secure funding for future projects.


Higher Value Perception:

Paywalls can elevate the perceived value of video content. When viewers pay for access, they often perceive the content as more valuable compared to free alternatives. This perception is reinforced by the notion that people are willing to spend money only on things they find valuable. As a result, content behind paywalls is often associated with higher quality, exclusivity, and relevance. This can lead to increased viewer satisfaction, loyalty, and willingness to pay for future content offerings.


Direct Audience Relationship:

Paywalls enable creators and distributors to establish a direct relationship with their audience. By collecting payment information and requiring registration or subscription, businesses can capture valuable data about their viewers, such as demographics, preferences, and viewing habits. This data can be used to personalize content recommendations, tailor marketing efforts, and improve overall user experience. Additionally, direct communication channels, such as email newsletters or in-app notifications, can be utilized to engage with subscribers, gather feedback, and promote upcoming releases or special offers.


What Events Can be Monetized Using Live Paywall? 

  • Concerts: Live-streamed performances by musicians and bands.
  • Live Shows: This could include theatrical performances, comedy shows, magic shows, etc.
  • Sports Events: Live streaming of sports matches, games, tournaments, and competitions.
  • Conferences and Seminars: Virtual conferences, webinars, workshops, and panel discussions.
  • Virtual Classes and Workshops: Online educational classes, tutorials, skill development workshops, etc.
  • Fitness Classes: Live-streamed fitness sessions, yoga classes, workout routines, etc.


Understanding Subscription

Subscription allows the audience to access content by paying a recurring fee monthly, quarterly, or annually! Users get unlimited access to video content on multiple devices which makes it a convenient method of content consumption.

Subscribers gain access to the platform’s entire content library, which may include movies, TV shows, documentaries, original programming, and more. Many subscription-based streaming services offer ad-free viewing experiences. This means subscribers can enjoy content without interruptions from advertisements.


Advantages of Subscription


Customer Retention:

Subscription paywalls often lead to higher customer retention rates compared to one-time purchases. This is because subscribers are typically locked into a commitment for a certain period, during which they continuously receive value from the service or product. Additionally, the automatic renewal feature of subscriptions reduces friction for customers to continue using the product or service without having to actively make a decision to repurchase.

Moreover, subscription models allow companies to establish ongoing relationships with customers, providing opportunities for personalized communication, feedback gathering, and tailoring offerings to meet evolving needs. By fostering a sense of loyalty and engagement, subscription businesses can reduce churn rates and retain customers over the long term.


Improved Cash Flow:

Subscription-based revenue streams often result in more predictable and consistent cash flow compared to traditional one-time sales models. With subscriptions, companies can forecast revenue more accurately because they have a clearer understanding of their recurring income over time. This stability in cash flow enables businesses to better plan and allocate resources, such as investments in product development, marketing campaigns, or expansion initiatives.

Furthermore, the subscription model typically involves upfront payments or regular billing cycles, which can provide a steady stream of income that supports ongoing operations and business growth. This financial predictability is especially beneficial for startups and small businesses, as it helps mitigate the uncertainty associated with fluctuating sales volumes.


Lower Barrier to Entry:

Subscription models often lower the barrier to entry for customers, making it easier for them to access products or services without a significant upfront investment. Instead of paying a large sum of money upfront for a product or service, customers can opt for a subscription plan that offers affordable monthly or annual payments.

This affordability encourages more customers to try out the product or service, increasing the potential customer base and driving revenue growth. Additionally, subscription models often offer flexible pricing tiers or options, allowing customers to choose a plan that best fits their needs and budget. By offering a range of subscription options, businesses can cater to different customer segments and capture a larger market share.


What Events Can Be Monetized Using Subscription?

Series and Episodic Content: Subscription models work well for offering access to serialized content, such as TV shows, web series, podcasts, or serialized novels. Users pay a recurring fee to access new episodes or instalments as they are released, creating a steady revenue stream for content creators.

Exclusive or Premium Content: Subscriptions can be monetized by offering exclusive or premium content that isn’t available elsewhere. This could include behind-the-scenes footage, director’s cuts, extended interviews, or premium articles. Users are willing to pay for unique content they can’t get for free.

Curated Content Libraries: Subscription services can monetize curated content libraries by offering users access to a vast collection of high-quality content curated around specific themes or genres. This could include streaming platforms like Netflix or music services like Spotify, where users pay a subscription fee to access a library of curated movies, TV shows, music, or podcasts.

Community Access: Subscription-based models can also monetize community access by offering exclusive forums, discussion groups, or social networks where users can interact with each other and with content creators. Users pay for the privilege of being part of a community with like-minded individuals, gaining access to exclusive discussions, events, and content.


Paywall Vs Subscription Platform: A Brief Comparison

Paywall vs Subscription


How Muvi Live Can Help You Monetize Your Live Streams Using Live Video Paywall?

Muvi Live comes with Live Video Paywall feature that allows you to monetize your live broadcasts using a pay-per-view model. The live stream shareable link or embed code will show a protected paywall layer. The users will be asked to register and make the payment to watch the live stream. Muvi Live with the video paywall feature helps you earn 10x more revenue than YouTube Live! Get started for free with our PAYG plan! 

Paywall vs Subscription

How to Get Started?

Step 1: Go to Muvi Live 

Step 2: Sign Up or Create your Account 

Step 3: Add live events by using external live feed or else choosing  encoding or streaming software. 

Step 4: Enable Paywall option in the CMS

  • Add currency
  • Enter Price
  • Select Event Date and Time 

paywall vs subscription platform

Step 5: Share the link 

Step 6: Set up your payment account

paywall vs subscription platform


Benefits of Using Muvi Live Paywall

  • Faster setup: Set up price, go live, and start earning in less than 5 minutes! 
  • Get started for free: Available in PAYG plan.
  • Global accessibility and currency support: Muvi Live can be used to accept payments for the live streams from any country in the world, and supports 135+ currencies! 
  • Inbuilt payment integrations: Muvi Live comes with inbuilt payment gateway integrations to easily collect money from your audience. 
  • Multiple share options: Paywall protected live streams can be shared with users using a direct-playable Share Link, which will work on all web browsers.
  • Regular schedule-based payouts: Get payouts regularly on the 1st and 15th of every month.
  • Get insights on revenue with Revenue Analytics: Understand the revenue patterns and insights with in-built Revenue Analytics.
  • Monetize concurrent streams with event-level pricing: Different pricing can be set for each event and can be monetized at the same time.
  • Manage Transactions easily: Easily review all the payment transactions made by your audience directly from the CMS.
  • Customizable interface for embedding: Paywall protected live stream can also be embedded into a customer’s website.

If you are planning to go live with an event with a pay-per-view option, choose Muvi Live and earn maximum profits! Start for free now! 


paywall vs subscription


There are 3 different types of paywalls:

  • Hard paywall
  • Soft Paywall
  • Freemium Paywall

  • Predictable Revenue Stream
  • Higher Value Perception
  • Direct Audience Relationship

  • Concerts
  • Live Shows
  • Sports Events
  • Conferences and Seminars
  • Virtual Classes and Workshops
  • Fitness Classes

  • Customer Retention
  • Improved Cash Flow
  • Lower Barrier to Entry

Yes, you can use a combination of both paywall and subscription to monetize your contents. 

Written by: Ankit Jena

Ankit is Content Writer for Muvi’s Marketing unit. He is a passionate writer with 5+ Years of Experience in Content Creation And Development. In his past time, he likes to dance, play football and google various things to quench his thirst for knowledge.

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