How do free movie streaming sites generate revenue?

There are many options available in the market when searching for movie streaming sites and platforms. OTT platforms are over-the-top platforms that display videos, movies, and TV shows for users and some of the more common OTT providers are Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, and Hulu.

While most of the platforms and websites the user uses are paid and subscription-based, there are also free options for people who don’t want to spend anything other than their internet data streaming videos. Hence, we will discuss the source and the revenue generation method for these free movie streaming sites.

Free movie or show streaming sites really save a lot of our money and surely they are a freebie for the users. At present, when movies and shows are released on OTT platforms mainly due to COVID situations, the purchase price of subscriptions and even specific shows or movies has increased significantly. This gives rise to the need for free platforms to watch the TV show or movie you want.

Unlike decades ago, when people relied solely on cinemas and TV channels to watch their favorite movies, there are various free movie streaming platforms available today. These free movie streaming sites allow their users to watch thousands of movies and TV shows on their platform without charging a single penny.

Well, here is the major question, how do these sites earn income and manage to provide their services to users for free. Before we go any further in our article, let’s first discuss the legality of these sites.

Are these free movie streaming sites legal?

People often question the legal structure and status of these free websites and focus on how these sites work and the risks of getting caught watching movies on these sites.

Well, it should be noted that the very first thing these sites do is never host their own content with some of the websites acting as search engines for links to the content being served. That is why when you click the play button, the site redirects to another website and requests the desired file from the second website.

If we strictly review copyright laws, we can see that even downloading a small portion of a file whose rights are not shared with you is called pseudo-streaming. On top of that, if you stream content that is displayed to a significant number of people outside of the normal family circle, it falls under the category of copyright infringement.

Here’s the catch, if you just stream the content and let it go after that you are using a legal service for you, however, if you share the copyrighted material you will run into issues.

How do these websites make money?

Nothing is really free, and therefore these websites also don’t do charity, they earn a few shekels for providing us with the content we want. Their income comes from running two types of ads on their platform, one is the ads on the website, the second is the video ads that are streamed during the video.

The advertisements shown on the website are usually visible on the actual pages and sometimes they become available as pop-ups. When it comes to in-video ads, there are different methods of inserting these ads into a video. For example, some websites pause the video to serve the advertisement.

While the fact that these ads can be very irritating and annoying at times when enjoying the movie, you can watch the movie for free and the frequent little interruptions to your streaming are the price you pay to watch the movie.

How Much Money Can These Websites Make?

Let’s see how profitable this business is;

Suppose the website is able to attract 10 million users per year, not everyone will end up watching a movie. So let’s take 5% of the total number of guests as an estimate of the number of people watching the video, which equals 500,000.

Further, 2% of the 500,000 visitors click on the advertisements displayed by the site, or approximately 3 to 4 advertisements per film, which represents a revenue per film of $ 1. With some mathematical calculations involved in the process of finalizing the profit, the net income of these websites manages to hit millions of dollars.

If you are considering owning a streaming site business, then for sure, if all the conditions are met, you will end up reaping noticeable profits from this business. All you need to do is make sure that you have the audience that can benefit from your movie streaming platform.


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