How To Transition From Free To Pay-Per-View Streaming Service

How To Transition From Free To Pay-Per-View Streaming Service

Change is good, and it can be great if you prepare for it ahead of time. Hopefully you’re here because your organization has made a decision to try pay-per-view (PPV) live streaming, and you’re doing your homework upfront (good for you!). If you’re still on the fence about PPV, you might want to take a look here first. Then head on back because we know you’ll be pumped to get started.

As a pay-per-view live streaming service, we’ve helped lots of clients transition from offering free live streamed events to PPV. If you choose to work with Stretch, don’t worry—you won’t be figuring it all out on your own! In general, though, you should be aware of the steps involved in switching to PPV, because there’s more to it than saying, “Let’s go for it!” I’d suggest putting some thought into the first four steps listed below, then contacting your pay-per-view streaming service of choice to talk through the transition together. Your live stream platform provider should be able to guide you through a seamless switch!

Estimate how much you’ll make through PPV with this live streaming calculator, and get tips on how to boost your earning potential.

6 Steps To Transitioning To Pay-Per-View Live Streaming

1. Determine that it’s the right time to start PPV live streaming.

Your pay-per-view live stream is more likely to be successful if the following are true:

    • Your content has some degree of exclusivity. This doesn’t mean your events have to be unusual; it could simply mean you’re a local baseball league that plays a limited number of games per season with a limited number of seats. If someone can’t make it to the venue, there’s no way they’d be able to see it without the help of your live stream. One of our clients,, is U.S.-based but has members who occasionally attend tournaments in other countries. Most fans won’t be able to attend, but they can still get in on the action thanks to the live stream.

Sport martial arts live event

  • You already have a sizable potential audience. Numbers vary from one organization to the next—but hopefully you already have fans who you know are interested in your content. Look to your social media tools to help here; for instance, how many Facebook “fans” do you have? How many Instagram followers, etc.? All those followers can be counted as potential audience members when you’re ready to start PPV live streaming.
  • You produce high-quality video content consistently. The value of your content plays into pricing, but that doesn’t mean you necessarily need to have a professional-level broadcast. The key is that your production level should be of good quality and remain consistent through every broadcast. That can be a challenge if you’re constantly changing venues, so you need to have the logistics of setting up a live stream mastered no matter where the event takes place. Fans are more likely to abandon your live stream if the quality level is unpredictable. (If you need help solidifying your process, check out these tips from the pros.)

If you can check all these boxes comfortably, it’s probably the right time for you. On to step 2.

2. Figure out your goals for PPV.

There are two types of goals to consider:

  • Goals for what you want to get out of your live stream. Knowing why you’re doing it will help focus your efforts. Some organizations want to make additional profit that helps their bottom line; others want to use the money to improve and/or expand the live streaming program (like the Northwoods League, which has been doing PPV live streaming successfully for seven years). Still others want to use live streaming to increase their brand awareness or find out more about their target audience. All of these are great reasons to do PPV—but you need to know which goal you’re shooting for.
  • Goals for your broadcasts. Because consistency is so important to a successful PPV strategy, it’s a good idea to set some parameters around your streaming from the start. How many broadcasts will you try to live stream? How often will you offer them? For individual broadcasts, how many cameras will you have at each event? How many production members per event? Answers will vary based on your content and your venue(s).

3. Determine your pay-per-view pricing.

Setting a price point that maximizes customer satisfaction and engagement yet brings in enough money to make it all worthwhile can be tricky, but it is possible. (At Stretch we work closely with all our clients to help determine fair prices.) Before consulting with your pay-per-view streaming service, consider the following:

  • Who is your target audience? If your event will attract mostly locals, your pricing should be equal to or cheaper than the actual event. If your event has national appeal, price it as low as possible to encourage a greater number of viewers.
  • What are your viewers willing to pay? There will always be people who object to paying for content, so try to determine what a majority of viewers would consider to be a reasonable price.
  • What is the value of your content? If your content is particularly impressive from a production standpoint, you can charge more than you would for a very basic live stream. You can always work your way up.
  • What are your goals? If you’re hoping the revenue from PPV will cover the cost of production, for example, start by figuring out what you would need to make in order for that to happen.

Also, consider packaging your content to make it more appealing to viewers (and to maximize revenue). Not all pay-per-view live streaming services have the ability to do this, but at Stretch, we’ve created day passes, single-event passes, full-season (full-access) passes, tournament-specific packages, and more. Whatever works for you, we can make it happen. Organizations just starting out with pay-per-view may also want to work in discounts—like offering a 10-event pass for the price of eight regular events.

4. Devise a marketing strategy.

A big part of making your pay-per-view live stream successful is drumming up interest—and therefore viewers—through marketing. (Check out the clever marketing ideas employed by the WCHA for inspiration.) Although a marketing strategy will probably unfold over time, it’s good to have an initial plan about the following:

  • How do you plan to let people know about your PPV live stream events? Social media? Email blasts? Instagram?
  • Will you create a teaser of some sort?
  • Where will people access it from—your website? Social media links?

*Tip: Stick to a regular streaming schedule if possible, so viewers always know when something’s happening.

5. Roll it out!

Put action to words and get streaming! A nice way to transition into PPV live streaming is to start slow: Continue to provide some content for free, as a “teaser” into wanting more, paid content., which made the transition to PPV recently, continued to show a portion of some matches for free on its Facebook page, but also provided the link to its Stretch portal alongside, where viewers could catch the action happening simultaneously in eight different rings. It’s a great strategy to draw viewers into PPV gradually.

Sport martial arts facebook

6. Assess how it’s going…

… but be patient. You may be tempted to make price or other changes after a single event if you didn’t get the audience you hoped, but it’s definitely too early to tell. If you’ve been consistent about your broadcasts, you’ll have a better idea of how things are going after several events. (Remember, there’s a learning curve for viewers, too, who have to get used to accessing your content through a portal and making payments.) After that you’ll have a better way to gauge what might need to be changed, whether it’s a new marketing strategy or adjusted prices or packages.

Do you have a pay-per-view live streaming service that can help with the transition?

A good pay-per-view streaming service can set the stage for PPV success, and help you all the way through the transition process. (Check out these four reasons you should consider choosing Stretch!) If you’re looking for a live streaming partner who can help maximize your revenue, why not talk to us? Or, schedule a free demo of our live streaming portal to see the experience we provide for both you and your viewers. Good luck with the transition—we hope we can help!