Pay-per-view is a concept that has hit the news in recent years due to things like the YouTuber boxing match trends. Large YouTubers put on an event, expecting the exclusivity of their live event to entice their large audience to buy tickets to watch. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t. It is a concept that has its benefits and drawbacks.
In the real world, this is seen all the time. You want to see a band, you buy a ticket, you get to see the band. And yet it’s a pretty underused concept, with brands preferring to ask for subscriptions than tickets.
There is a lot to consider if you, as a media company, are thinking about this way of doing things. Take a look at our guide to pay-per-view and the pros and cons.
What is Pay-Per-View?
As mentioned, pay-per-view is essentially ticked views. Whether the content is live or pre-recorded you buy a ticket to the show, you watch it once and you’re out. Unlike subscriptions and buying movies and TV shows, you are paying by the view, which means if you want to see it again, you’ll have to buy another ticket.
There are a lot of perks to this, the first being the implied exclusivity of buying a ticket, especially to a live event. Unless you were to take the time to record the event, which is sometimes not possible or legal, you are probably never going to see it again. At the very least, not without buying another ticket.
This creates a higher return on investment when compared to advertisements. Thousands of viewers of an ad might only result in numbers that are only in the hundreds, in terms of profits. Whereas, a fixed fee, especially on live or exclusive events, can bring in a lot of money, like in the millions.
It’s also exclusive in that it is exclusively your content being streamed to the audience. You can use OTT services to stream on any platform, but once the show starts there will be no interrupting advertisements or shoutouts, which will appeal to users.
Plus, pay-per-view can become an unspoken subscription service if you have an entire platform full of pay-per-view content, offering a steady stream of revenue. It’s easy to scale your prices, where you can start with a target and charge accordingly based on your audience size. So, a target of $1,000 from 100 people will land you on $10 per view. The added perk of this is that it’s flexible, and you can offer packages or pricing that suits your needs.
The downside mainly is that exclusivity implies “temporary” and that goes both ways. If you don’t open your own platform full of pay-per-view content, your customers will not have any reason to stay loyal to your brand. They will consume your media and then move on to the next thing, that likely won’t cost them due to a package or subscription deal. It’s a one-off, to the user. The equivalent of a rich chocolate dessert in entertainment form.
Plus, as much as we can say it is not possible, illegal, or simply too much work for the average user to record your event, it does happen. No live event happens without someone saying, “I’ll just wait until someone leaks it for free”.
There are people out there with the ability to get around security that blocks the ability to screen record or download live events, especially for big events that will get a lot of coverage – and they have the drive to do it, even if their motives are to irritate the creators of the event.