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A New Option For Monetizing and Delivering Conference Content

Traci Browne
Sep 01, 2016
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Have you ever considered offering up your conference or event content to a wider audience through video? Of course you have. This is old news. What is new is a distribution option for that content--a platform that can reach tens of millions of viewers.

YouTube is an excellent choice if you want to offer that content to the world for free. However, what if you want to use that content as a revenue source?

I’m not talking about virtual conference passes sold for hundreds of dollars. I’m talking about a few dollars here and there of passive income, and a small bit of effort on your part to get it.

If that sounds appealing, you may want to look into Amazon Video Direct. They announced this service in May of this year, so by now they should have a lot of the kinks worked out.

Amazon Video Direct offers four distribution options for creators.
• Per hour royalty fee - 15 cents per hour streamed in the US, 6 cents elsewhere.
• Add-on subscription - sold through Streaming Partners Program
• Digital Rental or Purchase - 50/50 split with Amazon
• Free with ads - creators receive a 55 percent share of ad revenue (similar to YouTube)

Realistically, your conference content is not likely going to be as in demand as Oscar-winning movies, or popular television series. You are serving a niche audience, so the digital rental or purchase option may be the best choice for quality content for which your audience would be willing to fork over a few bucks.

If you have a dedicated niche audience who wants access to your content as soon as you post it, the add-on subscription option might be worthwhile.

You might consider producing a video series with the intention of using Amazon Video Direct as your distribution partner if you’re finding there is a demand for your content, and you have an audience willing to pay a little something for it.

Uploading content to Amazon Video Direct is more complicated than uploading to YouTube. According to a review in USA Today, you need to credit the cast and crew (even if it’s just one person talking into the camera), and all videos must be captioned (not a free service).

I imagine the reason for those requirements is because Amazon is looking to discourage a deluge of amateur “cats in boxes” video, in favor of more professionally produced video. In other words, they are going for quality, not quantity.

A few things to consider.
Copyright: Be careful you are only posting content for which you own the copyright. Talk to your legal department to include ownership and distribution of your content in your speaker contracts.

Promotion: While Amazon will provide a wider audience you might not know exists for your content, that does not mean you do not have to do any promotion yourself. Include links to your Amazon Video Direct content on your website and communications.

Content Quality: If you opt for charging for a subscription add-on or going the rental and purchase route, be sure your content is something the viewer finds beneficial and something they cannot get anywhere else for free.

Video Quality: While viewers are okay with low production values on YouTube, they are expecting something a bit more polished on Amazon. You will need to include professional videographers in your budget and invest in some postproduction editing.

Amazon Video Direct may not be the answer if you are currently selling digital conference content for hundreds of dollars, but if you are looking to make a few extra bucks on something you can set and forget, it is worth a look.

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