How To Make $42,000 From Your Online Video [Free!]

image I used to write a lot on how to monetize online video. Working here at SiliconANGLE, but building a blog from the ground up with John and the team has distracted me from really doing the things with video that keep me on the bleeding edge of that world like I used to be.

That’s why it’s always fun to read about others’ stories of success as they strive to further the medium in the world of online video, as I did this evening reading about Nina Paley.

I caught the story from a couple of my regular sources: NewTeeVee and Techdirt. Nina recently gave a talk about adventures in putting out an amazing animated film entitled Sita Sings the Blues at Workbook Project’s DIY DAYS in Philadelphia. The video of her talk is a bit longer than most of the stuff we share here (clocking in at all of about twenty minutes), but it’s worth it because she goes into detail on the amounts of money (and how they came about) she received as a direct result of putting her film out on the web, freely redistributable.

Amongst the sources of income she lists in her talk (pulled mostly from Techdirt’s transcription):

  • $21,000 in donations (most at the very beginning)
  • $25,100 from the store for merchandise (which cost $8,500). So, net: $16,600
  • $3,000 from Channel 13 for broadcasting it (even though they didn’t have to pay)
  • $1,900 theater donation for showing her film.

Nina’s also made a number of commercial distribution deals, which she details in her talk as well.

She’s still a bit in debt on the movie – it was released a few months ago, and these are her proceeds so far.  It clocked in at about $300,000 to produce, with $50,000 of that going to music licensing fees, so she’s got a little way to go to fully recoup her losses.

The fact that she’s giving her film away, though, and isn’t relying on any sort of an ad-based model, the return on her investment thus far is truly impressive and inspiring.