The television has been a part of our lives’ for decades. Pretty much everyone watches it. But can you really make money watching TV?
TV has become a major part of our culture these days. In fact, most people can’t think of one person who does not own one. In most homes, TV is part of the daily routine.
It only makes sense to try and monetize something when you do it so often. So let’s find out if it is possible.
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Is Making Money Watching TV A Real Idea?
In May of last year (2014) Netflix posted a position on the jobs section of their website. The position they wanted to fill was that of a “tagger”.
What is a Netflix tagger?
Tags are a way of organizing things online. Think of tags as a category within a category. If you wanted to organize groups of dogs, you might start by categorizing them by breed, and tagging them by color.
To try and personalize the content you view via its streaming service, Netflix needs to organize all its content. They start by categorizing it. Once categorized, they need to tag it.
So a movie in the Comedy category might get several tags, such as, “buddy comedy”, “romantic comedy” and so on.
To personalize content at the level Netflix does requires thousands, maybe millions of tags.
How do you tag all this content?
Well, you have to watch it, of course. Or better yet, do what Netflix did — pay someone else to watch it and tag it.
When Netflix posted this job, it got their entire audience (a lot of people) and lots of other people interested.
The job was quickly removed from their website and it has not reappeared since. I’m sure the person they hired is hanging onto this job for as long as possible.
No. You Can’t Make Money Watching TV
The truth is, it was Netflix that started the whole “make money watching TV” thing in the first place.
You can see just by looking at Google Trends that, thanks to Netflix, millions of people flooded the internet with queries about making money watching TV.
You can also see how quickly the trend fell away.
A normal trend-line does not look like that. A normal trend grows over time, and fades away, slowly, over time.
You can see in the image above that, thanks to Netflix, this trend skyrocketed and dropped like a sack of potatoes within the span of about thirty days.
Sure, a couple of companies have come out since, promising to pay folks for their viewing time, but none of them present any real income opportunity.
One company, Viggle, was popular among entrepreneurial TV-watchers for a while.
What is Viggle?
Viggle is an app that monitors your TV and movie viewing habits and offers to reward you in return.
When you are ready to watch something, you simply grab your phone, turn on the app, and let it record.
You can watch whatever you want. The app is supposed to monitor and record what shows are most popular among different demographics, how long we watch commercials, and a number of other things.
Unfortunately, the Viggle app wasn’t very realistic when it comes to making money.
For each minute of viewing, you earn one point. You need three thousand points to equal one dollar.
Obviously that’s not a lotta dough.
Still though, even collecting a bit of change for something you are doing already isn’t a bad deal.
Well, apparently things got worse for the Viggle app.
Take a look at some of the latest reviews left for it in the app store.
Sometimes the TV networks become desperate for feedback. This is especially true when new shows have been released.
For this, many TV networks enlist the help of The Nielsen Family Ratings Company. Nielsen, in turn, enlists the help of the public to help them provide feedback on the shows they watch.
Nielsen is known to randomly send envelopes with $5 to $20 (cash) via the US mail in order to entice new members to the “Family”.
Aside from the few dollars you might receive in the mail, Nielsen does not pay. And to make things more difficult, you cannot sign up to join Nielsen. Instead, you are picked at random based on your zip code.
If you are picked, you are asked to record your watching habits, fill out a survey, and send all this information back to them.
While it is nice to receive cash in your mailbox for no reason, we can hardly call this an income. It is merely a gift in hopes that you will fill out the form they send along with the cash — but you are not obligated to do so.
If there are other companies like Nielsen I was unable to find them. I’m sure they exist but on a much smaller scale than Nielsen or even Viggle. So there probably isn’t much point in digging too hard to find them.
About Paid Surveys And TV Watching Scams
One reason I wanted to write about watching TV and getting paid is that it's a common concept promoted by “paid survey” sites. I review a lot of these companies to see which ones are legit ways to make money online and which ones are scams (hint: most of them are scams).
Anyway, they always promote the concept of doing easy things like watching TV, click ads, or sending emails and claim that you can make money doing these activities.
The truth is that they are being clever with their wording. Out of 100 boring surveys, you may be able to watch a 30-second clip of a TV show, or paid a penny per view. It's never a good use of your time!
Outside of working for Netflix, you are not going to make money watching TV. Why would anyone pay you to do something that everyone else is doing for free?! Shocker, right?
You may be able to rack up a few “points” here, a gift card there with a rare opportunity, but as far as making any notable or sustainable income…not gonna happen.
Still, there are lots of people who love to watch TV and movies. I have friends that know everything about directors, casts, and alternate endings.
I mean, just look at the whole Star Wars phenomenon. Do you love watching TV? Do you have a favorite TV show or are obsessed with something like Harry Potter, Game of Thrones, or Star Trek?
There are lots of people that are really passionate about this stuff. If passion describes you + TV, then you can make money from this passion… you just have to get creative about it. I'll show you how to do it RIGHT HERE RIGHT NOW.
You should do what I do: Affiliate marketing.
Affiliate marketing is how I built my current business. I created a website about computers and a website about beer. Both of them make me money every month. Thousands of dollars per month!
I just write about the stuff I find interesting, do product reviews, blog about news in the industry, and write my opinion. I'm basically a blogger but with a specific topic in mind.
You can do the same thing for any topic, including TV, movies, entertainment, celebrity gossip…whatever is interesting to you.
If there is a movie or TV show you love then you can sell products related to it through an affiliate program. All you have to do is signup and join the affiliate program for the items you might want to sell.
For example, Amazon has an affiliate program and they have all sorts of TV and movie related items. If you join their affiliate program you will get a percentage of each sale you help to create. Stuff like box-set DVDs, or fan gear would work.
Turning Your Passion For TV Into A Business
One cool thing I thought of that would help anyone wanting to turn their TV habit into a profit would be the ‘translate' your hobby of watching TV into a passion. For example, what are your favorite shows to watch?
If you like watching The Big Bang Theory, you could start an affiliate site about nerdy stuff like video games or drones. If you like watching love stories, you could start an affiliate site about dating advice.
Just love family shows like Family Matters and Full House? You can make a family advice website! I've seen some great websites on how to be a good modern dad, or how to be a parent of special needs children.
Affiliate programs are free to join, and all you really need is a few bucks for a domain name and hosting, plus a bit of time to learn about affiliate marketing. In fact, the startup cost for a website is tiny compared to traditional brick and mortar business, but they can make just as much money!