How can I monetize an instructional video without losing revenue to file-sharing?

Joseph Videtto January 17, 2013

Hi all,

I have an idea for an instructional video, and of course, would like to price it competitively for my intended market. Assuming I make a good video that is of interest to people, how could I be fairly compensated by individuals that want to buy it without losing money due to the common practice of file sharing?


  1. muotechguy
    January 21, 2013 at 9:05 am

    "How can I do something that the multibillion dollar hollywood movie industry has failed to do?"

    • Joseph Videtto
      January 21, 2013 at 10:32 am

      Well muotechguy, you got me on semantics, what I should have asked was:
      "How can I do a better job than holloywood of protecting my instructional videos because I have access to the advice of all you great technologists, and hollywood doesn't ; )

  2. Ryan Walmsley
    January 18, 2013 at 2:13 pm

    You cannot prevent digital theft, so you have to work around it. If the Sony's and Microsofts and Adobes of the world can't protect their own content with massive IT security and legal departments, you're better to spend your effort in making the purchase look like a value-wise proposition.

    Consider uploading a portion of the video to YouTube in order to direct traffic to the full version and perhaps earn some ad revenue while you're at it.

    Give some sort of value-add service for those who purchase & download the video directly from you. Forum or email support / discounts and notifications of upcoming videos, etc.

  3. Paul Pruitt
    January 17, 2013 at 10:50 pm

    You might try publishing it as a Kindle publication through or These are no cost or extremely little cost options.

    • Paul Pruitt
      January 17, 2013 at 10:55 pm at least that is allows DVD and on demand video publishing for I'm guessing very little. With book publishing from them, the cost is the cost of one proof copy of the book. I think CreateSpace will allow you to set up some digital rights locks on the content.

      A big plus with too is they are owned by Google so your content appears in Amazon or at least Amazon MarketPlace.

  4. Lisa Santika Onggrid
    January 17, 2013 at 1:14 pm

    Fetchnotes used Gumroad for their fundraising campaign and seems to endorse it. See if you're interested:

  5. Rob Hindle
    January 17, 2013 at 9:40 am

    If people want to share/steal there's very little you can do. There are technical "solutions" none of which are 100% successful. If the content is good but the medium is copy protected there will always be the risk of someone creating their own video with their own presentation of the same content.

    Without knowing more about your proposal, much of what I'm about to say may not be appropriate to your situation - but Make Use Of answers are supposed to be useful to a wider audience than the original questioner.

    You could include your web-site address as a watermark throughout the video and refer to it in the spoken content too (and try to monetise the website).

    You could indicate that this is one of a set of such videos. You could issue it on a subscription basis - so it's a course with daily/weekly instalments, you could include problems and tests so there is an element of ongoing dialogue between you and the viewer - e.g. a final test they submit and you provide a completion certificate.

    You might consider selling the idea to a commercial instructional video provider so the protection problem becomes theirs but they'll probably want nothing more than the idea and some raw content to build it themselves and you'll not get much payment.

    You could do lots of pre-launch publicity, take advance orders (maybe based on a teaser/trailer).

    You could identify the target market and offer it very specifically just to people who are probably purchasers.

    If you can, somehow aim to generate most income immediately after launch and accept that these days anything worth having is going to get ripped off after that.

    After that your aim could be to use it as a credential to demonstrate that you are the expert, the go-to guy for anyone looking to hire expertise in your chosen subject. Basically accept that it's going to get ripped off so stop trying to sell it, give it away or charge so little most folk will pay. A bit like some newspapers and magazines - you pay for access on publication date but then make old copies free on-line in the hope of getting advertising revenue and maybe more sales of future issues on publication date.

    Of course add a copyright statement but be aware that it's virtually unenforceable, if you find an illicit copy then the legal cost of doing anything about it is prohibitive.

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