Your money-making expert. Financial journalist, TV and radio personality.
We know what you’re thinking – can you REALLY make money watching television?
Well yes, you can!
OK, you might have to do a bit more than just watch, but there are plenty of ways to turn your relaxing pastime into a money-making opportunity.
Find out how you can make money watching TV.
Media companies need to know what the general public is thinking and feeling when new TV shows come out, when old favourites switch time slots, or presenters are changed. They also need to know which news services are preferred.
To find out, they survey a cross-section of the public, whether in a personal focus group or via online surveys.
The media firms asking the questions appeal to market research companies to find a random sample of people for them.
You can definitely make money watching TV by giving your views on TV programmes.
Focus groups are groups of people who are brought together to discuss products and services.
There are focus groups for all sorts of things, including TV. Attendees are usually paid around £50 for an hour or two, plus refreshments.
You may want to run past every person holding a clipboard on the streets. However, those people are not always ‘chuggers’ (charity muggers), some of them are actually recruiting people for market research.
So if you see the bucket of coins shaking, run. If there’s no bucket, ask them what they’re doing as they may want to give you money for your opinions!
Also, make sure to check out our article on market research for more suggestions on how to take part.
You can earn anywhere from 50p to several pounds doing surveys online. Sometimes, you’ll be put into prize draws with BIG payouts. Or, you’ll be collecting points to convert into cash or coupons.
There will be many online surveys to gather your opinion on the latest television programmes, so it’s well worth signing up so that you can make money watching TV.
There are many great online surveys out there, but some we particularly recommend include:
We have loads more survey sites you can make money with in our online surveys article.
Word of mouth can make or break a new film or TV series, so why don’t you get in there and take a slice of the pie and get paid for your time?
For example, whatculture.com allows you to write about a range of entertainment, including film and TV. They pay critics, as long as people are reading the content.
They currently give you 40p for every 1,000 people who read it. While this might not seem like a lot, they’re a big site, with a lot of traffic, so a really popular article could earn you a few hundred pounds.
You can sign up to be part of their team here.
Alternatively you could write a blog about your favourite (or least favourite) TV shows. If you start getting some traffic, you can put adverts on your blog and begin making money.
Get more tips from our article on how to make money writing a blog.
Some shows are willing to pay quite well to get you there. Some just cover the costs of you going on the show, but if producers are willing to pay it’s likely to be around the £200–300 mark.
It’s not for everyone. But, if you want to sell your story, the best way is through a PR agency. They’ll receive a commission for handling your story, but they will broker the best deal for you financially.
PR agencies can act as a buffer between you and the media. Also, they can arrange to keep you anonymous, if you wish. They can help you if you’re trying to get media coverage for campaigns, events or issues that affect peoples’ lives, or tell any number of stories that you feel the national press should know.
You can also sell your story to magazines and newspapers. You can often get over £1,000 for a really juicy tale. See our article on how to make money from misery for more ideas on how to do that.
It doesn’t matter where your ideas come from, it just matters that they work. With the right idea, you could make game-show history.
A good idea is difficult to come by, but if you crack it you could create yourself a gold mine.
Really successful shows like ‘Who Wants to Be a Millionaire?’ and ‘The Weakest Link’ have their format reproduced all over the world, and creators make millions.
However, it’s very difficult to come up with a winning format. People who do make a fortune have usually spent a few years having their ideas rejected.
If you’re a big fan of game shows already, you’ll probably have an idea of what makes a good one. If you watch them several times a week, then you’ll be studying them without realising it.
Start making notes about what you like and don’t like. Compare the similarities between successful formats and make sure you include some of those elements in your creation. Once you’ve put your ideas together, run them past friends who also watch a lot of game shows.
If you think you have a great idea, make sure you can explain it on one side of A4 paper. If it’s easy to understand from that, then it has a chance of working on screen.
Most genres have a certain style or type of script that you can find online, or you may want to create something a bit different, which really is the key.
We’re not saying you should aim for something like ‘Friends’ or ‘Frasier’, but give us a giggle, add a touch of drama and a pinch of romance and remember to enjoy the experience of writing a TV script.
Voice talent is always needed to read radio and TV commercials. If you can speak clearly and present your voice in a friendly, persuasive and energetic tone, then give this one a go.
The voiceover industry is highly competitive. Big agencies almost exclusively sign up the lucrative jobs. Mostly, they only take celebrities, actors and some presenters.
However, in the online world there are a number of ‘virtual’ agencies, mostly run out of the USA, that anyone can join and bid for work.
Agencies like Voice123, for example, have hundreds of jobs every day. All you need to do is make a demo of your voice, upload it to the site and apply for any relevant jobs.
Most of the jobs are from America, so they are paid in dollars. But if they’re easy, and you have some basic MP3 recording equipment at home, they could be worth doing.
Another way to get work is to sign up to media promotion agencies, such as Voice Talent Depot, which accepts professional voice demos to add to their website. They provide small talent to radio and TV stations, internet companies, consumers and businesses.
If not, could you set some up?
People falling over, children and babies doing cute things and crazy pets are all popular fodder on the long-running ITV show ‘You’ve Been Framed’.
They pay £250 for every clip . We suggest that you send as many as you have – they might want two or three of them.
It’s easy, as well as the link above, you can also email them to [email protected].
Or, if you have tapes and DVDs, post them to:
No stamp is required within the UK. Be sure to enclose your name, address, telephone number and a note explaining how many clips you are sending, and where they can be found on the tape or DVD.
Although your tapes are returned to you, it’s a good idea to send in a copy, and keep the original for yourself, especially if it is irreplaceable.
You will receive a confirmation of receipt card within three months of posting your tape, with your own reference number. It is sent back via recorded delivery, to minimise the possibility of accidents in the mail. If there are any hassles, you need to notify an address change, or you don’t receive a card within three months, you can call the tape dispatch company BSS on 0131 273 3042 .
When your tape is returned, you will receive a letter from Framed! informing you whether you have been short-listed and your clips will have been copied and placed on the Framed! files, and asking you to fill out a copyright and consent for use questionnaire that you need to complete and return.
From here you are not guaranteed that your clips will be viewed, but a series is made each year, which means it could be several years before your clips are chosen. If and when it is selected, you will receive a letter informing you of the transmission date of your clip. Several weeks after the clip has aired on TV, you will be sent a one-off payment of £250 in the form of a cheque.
You won’t know if your tape is suitable unless you send it in, and if it’s not right, other ITV shows need home video footage, and it could be used for those.
For more details and tips, check out the You’ve Been Framed! page.
No, it IS the winning if you want to make money.
If you become a contestant, you have the chance to win thousands, if not hundreds of thousands of pounds.
Ten contestants take part, with one in the hot seat answering timed questions, giving them the chance to win the £1m prize money. They must correctly answer 15 multiple-choice questions in a row to win, but they can quit at any time and keep their earnings. They are also given three lifelines to help them.
Questions can range from history, to sport, geography and popular culture. You will have to read the newspapers, research online, and watch the show to understand what questions are asked.
The show has made five millionaires to date, with the average contestant winning just over £45,000.
The show has a backlog of applicants, so keep an eye on their website for auditions.
This game involves evaluating your confidence in your answers to general knowledge questions, and assigning a monetary value to that confidence. You have to split and place your £100k on trapdoors representing each possible answer to a question – the trapdoors will open on the incorrect options.
After the correct answer is revealed, you can take the money you placed on the correct answer’s trapdoor to the next round. This happens numerous times until you reach the final question. If you get this correct, you will be able to keep whatever is remaining of your £100k.
Again, the show constantly has a backlog of applicants. Monitor the application process here.
Well, as an extra, you can!
This really is something that anyone can do. It doesn’t matter what you look like, what age you are, or even if you have a disability. Extras agencies are looking for you.
As long as you have time to spare during the week and you live relatively close to a big city where filming happens, you can make money just by standing around!
Dramas, soaps, even documentaries use “walk-ons” regularly. You can earn between £65 and £200 a day doing walk-on work, depending on the hours you do and if you bring your own props. Not only that, but you get fed very well on set too!
Generally you will get the work through an agency – find a list of UK agencies at www.ukscreen.com, and double-check agencies on the UK entertainment union websites Equity or BECTU.
See our article on becoming an extra here for a full rundown of work available.
Which one of these money making opportunities takes your fancy? Have you ever made money from appearing on TV? We love to hear from you so let us know in the comments section below.