Pivotshare Review

Pivotshare Review

Excellent video-on-demand platform that allows publishers to build profitable subscription-based channels and grow their revenue through collaborations.

Pros

  • End-to-end video-on-demand platform that handles everything from video hosting to payments
  • Collaboration feature helps publishers reach a wider audience and increase revenue
  • Perfect for beginners, as the platform is free to get started with no ongoing fees

Cons

  • Steep revenue split, making it expensive for large or growing channels
  • Limited channel customization options and branding capabilities
  • Help center information is lacking
Analyst's Rating
74
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Table of Contents

Pivotshare Pricing

  • Pivotshare works on a revenue-split model and has no initial fee or ongoing costs.
  • For sole publishers, the company takes 30% commission of all earned revenue.
  • When collaborating, channel owners receive 10% commission, with 60% distributed to other publishers using the PlayRank algorithm.

Pivotshare Full Review

Pivotshare is a popular platform that enables individual publishers to build a subscription-based video on demand business (SVoD). Founded in 2010, the company has over 25,000 paid users and was recently acquired by Chicken Soup for the Soul Entertainment, a media company with a range of other video-on-demand services.

Publishers can upload and distribute videos, collaborate with other channels, and generate a steady stream of income using the platform. Videos can be arranged into collections and published on your channel. The channel has a professional design and minimalistic layout, but branding and customization options are limited. Publishers are only able to alter the background, add a logo, or choose from several preset colorways. Pivotshare branding is also featured throughout, although you can upgrade to the white-label solution to remove this.

The company also has some useful marketing features to increase the exposure of your channel and generate more income. The collaboration feature allows you to find similar channels, share your video content, and host others’ content on your channel. This can provide more value for your audience and allow you to grow your subscribers and revenue.

Pivotshare has no barrier of entry for content creators, with anyone able to sign up and start uploading content. The company manages the entire process, from uploading videos to distributing payments.

Instead of charging users on a recurring basis, the company works on a revenue-share model, taking 30% commission of all sales. While this can help reduce expenses when you’re just starting out, it can mean handing over a significant portion of your revenue each month as your channel grows.

Pivotshare is beneficial for entry-level content creators who want to “test the water" and start a subscription channel. The collaboration tool can help improve your audience reach, and the intuitive design is perfect for beginners to start uploading content and monetizing videos. However, the steep commission fees and limited channel customization options can turn away serious publishers.

Publisher Console

Pivotshare has an intuitive and engaging interface with simple navigation. Once you’ve signed up and logged in, the software takes you directly to the Publisher Console, which includes all the necessary tools to manage your videos and customize your channel.

Pivotshare gives you the ability to upload multiple videos at once. The software encodes each video, breaking it up into different resolutions designed to improve viewer playback.

Pivotshare includes 300 minutes of encoding time free upon sign-up, with additional minutes available for purchase if no sales have been made (starting at 10 cents/minute). When you’re uploading videos, it’s recommended to use MP4 or MOV format. (this last sentence feels extraneous - do you recommend this, or does Pivotshare?)

Pivotshare Review Uploading Videos

Videos can be organized and grouped into collections. Collections are ideal for programs that viewers need to watch in sequential order, such as courses or training programs. Publishers can add as many videos to a collection as needed, and can include a cover image to showcase the collection to viewers.

Channel Customization

Pivotshare has a limited range of customization options to personalize your channel. Pivotshare’s subscription channel offers a basic, yet effective layout, with a featured banner or image, followed by your most recent videos. Collections can also be added to your home page, although to activate this feature, you will need to have five collections ready.

Pivotshare Review Selecting Channel Theme

The appearance of the channel can be changed to match your branding by uploading a logo, changing the background and setting a color theme. Unfortunately, channel customization is fairly limited, with only eight preset themes to choose from. Heavy branding from Pivotshare appears on the channel as well; however, a white-label program is available for $199/year, which removes much of the Pivotshare branding on your channel and emails, and includes a custom URL.

If you want to monetize your video content, Pivotshare also makes it easy to add videos to an existing website. A line of code allows you to add an Embed player within any site (WordPress, Squarespace, etc).

Pivotshare Review Example Channel

Collaboration

Pivotshare provides a unique concept that allows you to collaborate with other content creators to increase your income and reach a new audience. If revenue growth on your channel has stalled, the collaboration feature can be an excellent avenue.

Using this feature, you can invite other channels to contribute premium videos to your page, or search through hundreds of publishers who would be happy to share your videos with their audience. The idea is that through collaboration, you can build a bigger subscriber base, increase your exposure and generate more revenue.

Advanced filters allow you to search and find channels based on different criteria, such as hours of content posted, traffic, number of subscribers, overall income and much more. You can also view a channel’s marketing statistics and social stats from the platform. If you decide to collaborate with other publishers, it’s important to choose a relevant channel where your video content will add value to the audience.

Pivotshare Review Channel Collaborations

Payments

Publishers have several options to monetize their videos. Videos can be purchased for permanent download, rented for a specified time period, or included as part of a monthly subscription. You can also set up free videos and accept tips or donations. Pivotshare manages all transactions and payments, with publishers getting paid at the beginning of every month via cheque, PayPal or direct deposit. Only USD is supported at this stage.

Pivotshare Review Subscription Options

Pivotshare works on a revenue-split model, with no monthly fees or upfront payments. Pivotshare receives a flat rate of 30% for all revenue made on every channel, with sole publishers receiving 70%.

However, this varies if you are collaborating. When a contributor’s content is downloaded or rented on another channel, the channel owner receives 10% of compensation, while the contributor receives 60%. Any subscriptions for shared channels are split across all contributors (e.g. 30% Pivotshare, 10% channel owner, 60% contributors). The percentage each contributor receives is determined using Pivotshare’s patent-pending PlayRank algorithm, which calculates the traffic, playback frequency and social sharing of each video.

While the platform allows content creators to start uploading videos with a small budget, as your revenue grows, you can end up handing over a significant portion to Pivotshare. For example, if you’re a sole publisher making $5,000/month in subscription sales, Pivotshare will take $1500/month, making it an expensive option for larger video channels. However, other options, such as Uscreen offer fixed monthly subscription fees, regardless of subscribers or revenue figures.

Reports

Pivotshare has several reports available for videos, subscribers, income and audience. Publishers can track revenue earned from each video, in addition to analyzing the social share count (Facebook, Twitter, Google+) and device playback. This information can help you understand how viewers interact with specific videos, and offer valuable insights on how to improve your content. For example, you may notice a trend that longer videos generate more plays and have more transactions.

To improve your marketing efforts, it’s important to understand how visitors arrive at your channel. Pivotshare includes a useful Channel Traffic report, which compares various traffic sources (YouTube, Facebook, SEO, email) over a specific timeframe. This can help you understand where you may need to focus your marketing efforts and resources. While the reports provide a decent amount of information, there’s no option to export data or compare one video against another.

Pivotshare Review Traffic Reports

Pivotshare vs. the Competition

Below, we'll discuss how Pivotshare fares against some of its most popular competitors.

Pivotshare vs. Uscreen

Uscreen is a leading VoD platform and one of Pivotshare’s main competitors. Both platforms enable publishers to sell videos and build profitable subscription channels, although the main difference between the two lies in the pricing structure.

Uscreen charge a flat monthly fee, ranging from the Basic plan at $99/month (1,000 monthly sales) to the Luxury plan at $399/month (unlimited sales). While it can expensive to start, Uscreen becomes extremely profitable when you start scaling your site and making a decent revenue.

This differs from Pivotshare, which charges no monthly subscription fee, but does charge a 30% commission on all earned revenue, regardless of your income. In the beginning, this may be a smaller amount than Uscreen’s monthly fee, but as your channel starts gaining traction and earning more money, Pivotshare’s commission could become a significant expense.

Uscreen offers more customization options to build a channel around your brand. Uscreen’s website builder enables publishers to build a highly engaging site by personalizing the styling/colorway, pages and navigation.

While Pivotshare has a page builder, it only offers a single template. The customization options are extremely limited compared to Uscreen. The site also incorporates Pivotshare’s branding, unless users opt for the white-label option at an additional cost.

Pivotshare vs. Wistia

Wistia is a video-hosting platform aimed at helping businesses easily distribute video content to their clients, leads, suppliers and more. Essentially, Wistia is aimed at B2B, while Pivotshare is B2C.

Wistia offers both free and paid hosting solutions, in addition to video editing software in the form of Soapbox. Businesses can include CTAs (calls-to-action) buttons, and measure customer/client engagement levels through in-depth analytics. Wistia does not offer any native monetization avenues for publishers, and is geared toward helping businesses grow through video content that allows them to collaborate and communicate more effectively.

Pivotshare targets sole content creators looking to monetize their online video content. The platform allows you to create video collections and set up ongoing subscriptions, or rent and sell your videos online. While it is possible for businesses to utilize Pivotshare for video distribution, it makes much more sense to use Wistia due to the simplistic hosting and range of lead generation features, such as the ability to create gated content. Wistia is also a highly secure platform for businesses to safely share confidential information via video. However, for individual publishers, Pivotshare is an ideal platform to build a video on demand (VoD) business.

Is Pivotshare Right for You?

Pivotshare is an ideal platform for new publishers who want to build a profitable subscription-based video-on-demand (VoD) channel. The ability to collaborate with established content creators offers valuable exposure for beginners, and the subscription-based model is also a good option for delivering a constant revenue stream.

However, if you’re planning to grow beyond $2,000 in monthly sales, Pivotshare may not be the best choice, as you’ll have to give up a significant portion of your revenue. On the other hand, if you don’t intend to monetize your VoD channel, or only expect monthly profits in the range of $200-$300, Pivotshare billing can actually be more profitable than fixed-rate alternatives such as Uscreen.

If you’re looking for a lightweight platform to launch your channel, and you currently prioritize collaboration as a tool for growth over personal branding and monetization, Pivotshare could suit you well. It’s a one-size-fits-all platform with an intuitive interface ideal for beginners. But if you’re looking to use your VoD as a solid business that you intend to market and build into a highly profitable asset, there are better options on the market.

Bruce Hogan

Bruce Hogan is Co-founder & CEO of SoftwarePundit. He leads the team's research and publishes content about software products and trends. Bruce has experience investing at multi-billion dollar private equity firms, leading teams at venture-backed technology companies, and launching new businesses. You can connect with Bruce on LinkedIn.

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