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 from watching TV.
- Make money by giving your views on TV programmes
- Sell your story to a daytime TV programme
- Become the brain behind the next big thing
- Write a TV script
- Become a voiceover artist
- Make £250 for your silly home videos
- Be a contestant on a gameshow
- Be an extra
Media companies need to know what the general public are thinking and feeling when new TV shows come out, old ones switch time slots or presenters are changed. They also need to know things like which news service gives better coverage to the big issues.
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. Those who take part 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 but those people are not always ‘chuggers’ (charity muggers for those who don’t know the term), some of them are actually recruiting people for market research.
So if you see the bucket of coins shaking, run; but always ask them what they’re doing as you never know, 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, as well as being put into prize draws with BIG payouts and collecting points to convert to cash or coupons.
Many of the online surveys will be keen to get your opinion on television and current 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:
- Nielsen Online Panel – you can win up to £30,000 worth of prizes
- InboxPounds -Pays cash and gives you £1 just for signing up
- GFK MediaPanel – Have your say about what’s on TV and radio
- RewardsTV – Get rewarded for taking part in quiz’s about television and films
We have loads more survey sites you can make money with in our online surveys article.
Review television programmes
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, and pays you as people read it.
They currently give you 40p for every 1,000 people who read it – this might not seem like a lot but they’re a big site with a lot of traffic so a really popular article could earn you a few hundred pounds (it would have to be really popular though!).
This is due to change, however and you’ll soon be able to pitch them an article and suggest the fee you would like to get paid which may work out even better.
Alternatively you could write a blog about your favourite (or least favourite) TV shows. If you start getting a lot of traffic you can put adverts on your blog (Google AdSense, for example) and begin making money.
Get more tips from our article on how to make money writing a blog.
Some shows are willing to pay, and quite well, to get you there. Some just cover the costs of you going on the show, but if producers are willing to pay to have you and your story on their show, it’s likely to be around the £200–300 mark.
It’s not for everyone, but if you do want to sell your story the best way is to let a PR agency do the work for you. They’ll receive a commission for handling your story, but they can broker the best deal for you financially.
PR agencies can act as a buffer between you and the media and arrange to keep you anonymous if you wish. They can help you if you’re trying to get media coverage for campaigns, certain events or issues that affect peoples’ lives, or tell any number of stories that you feel the national press should know.
Of course you can also sell your story to magazines and newspapers. You can often get over £1,000 for a really juicy tale (like “my husband turned into a woman and now he’s marrying my brother”…you know the kind of thing). 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’ get sold all around the world (at least the format does) and their creators make millions (literally).
However, it’s very difficult to come up with a winning format and those who have ended up making a fortune usually spent a few years having idea after idea rejected. Sometimes they have forty ideas or more rejected by the TV companies
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 what you don’t like about certain shows; see what the similarities are between successful formats and make sure you include some of those elements in your creation; put some ideas together and run them by friends who also watch a lot of game shows to see if it grabs them.
If you think you have a great idea, make sure you can explain it on one side of A4 paper. Ultimately, 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 often find online, or you may want to create something a bit different – which really is the key.
Find stories that differ from what you’ve seen before, something so far out that your script will become widely viewed and well-known.
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, so if you can speak clearly and present your voice in a friendly, persuasive and energetic (but not over the top) tone, then give this one a go.
The voiceover industry is highly competitive and really big, lucrative jobs are almost exclusively put through the big, London-based agencies which only take celebrities, actors and some presenters who are members of Equity.
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 and you can make a demo of your voice, upload it to the site and apply for any relevant ones that come in each day.
Most of the jobs are from America, so paid in dollars (if paid at all – some want you to do it for free), 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 particularly popular fodder on the long-running ITV show ‘You’ve Been Framed’.
They pay £250 for every clip they use. We suggest that you send as many as you have – they might like two or three of them.
Where to send your clips
It’s easy if you have videos that you’ve done on your phone or your computer. You just go to their page on the ITV website and follow the upload instructions. You can also email them to email@example.com.
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.
What format to send your clips
How long does the process take?
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, actually, it is the winning if you want to make money out of being a contestant on a gameshow.
Yes, it can be fun – and nerve-wracking – but the main point is…you can make big money.
Loads of people want to be on these shows so you might face a lot of competition but if you get through and are offered the chance to win thousands, if not hundreds of thousands, then you’ll have been thankful you’d given it a shot!
Of the gameshows being aired at the moment, some can make you serious cash.
- Who Wants to be a Milionaire?
Recently voted as the best game show, Millionaire now exists in more than 100 countries.
Ten contestants qualify to take part, and the one in the hot seat is chosen via a timed question, giving them the chance to play for the £1mn prize money. The contestant must correctly answer 15 multiple-choice questions in a row to win the jackpot, but they can quit at any time and keep their earnings. They are also given three lifelines to aid their choices.
Brush up on all things trivia. Questions range from history, to sport, geography, popular culture – basically anything you’re local pub quiz might throw at you. Read the newspapers, research online, and watch the show for the kinds of questions that are asked. Remember to have a smart knowledgeable friend for your ‘phone a friend’ lifeline, and trust the audience most of the time!
The show has made five millionaires to date, with the average contestant earning just over £45,000.
Because of its popularity, the show constantly has a backlog of applicants. Keep a look out on the Millionaire website for casting auditions – they only become available for short times.
- Deal or No Deal
Known as entertainment drama, this big-money guessing game involves: “a quarter of a million pounds… 22 identical sealed boxes… and no questions. Except one: deal or no deal?”
There are 22 contestants, each holding a numbered box containing an unknown cash prize of between 1p and £250,000. One random contestant becomes the player, and the boxes are opened one by one with a banker offering the player money to buy back the box and leave the game, based on the values of the boxes left.
It is a game of pure chance, and past occurrences show that the top prize is more likely to be won by recklessness than good judgement. The £250,000 top prize was first won on 7 January 2007 by Laura Pearce, a civilian police worker from Hemel Hampstead.
Again, because of its popularity the show constantly has a backlog of applicants. You can apply to be a contestant on the Deal or No Deal website, but be aware it could be some time before you take the hot seat!.
- Audition for Eggheads
Get a team of six together – friends and family – and challenge the Eggheads in the BBC quiz show.
Email for an application here, or visit the website. Deadline is 1 July, 2008.
If these don’t take your fancy, click here for the latest updates on contestant calls.
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 but be careful when you choose – 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.