Skillfeed is an online course distribution service. Subscribers pay a monthly fee which allows them to access any of the available titles for a single price. There is a large number of categories. In a short period, Skillfeed has become one of the most prominent electronic course web sites.
Course authors join for free, then produce videos, primarily, and other supporting documents. Various video formats are supported. Documents are typically PDF types although text and other types are supported as well. The course is primarily delivered as videos but the informational documents are great to include as well.
The site operates on a monthly payment system. All users pay a fee which covers the basic site operating costs, profit for the administrators, and payments for the authors. The site contains a payment processor which grants site access to active users. Once they pay their fee, they are able to view course videos immediately. All video viewing is tracked.
Authors are paid based on student engagement. Because all courses are free once the student has paid the monthly membership fee, every course is treated equally, for author payments. The site uses engagement defined as the number of minutes of material viewed per user. Thus if a five minute video is uploaded to a course, and ten students view the entire video, the author is credited with 50 minutes of engagement. If some of the students stop viewing part way through, partial engagement credit would be given to the author.
At the end of each month, the entire site is reviewed by the operators. The grand total of student engagement minutes is determined. Each author's portion of that amount becomes the basis on which their payment is calculated.
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Example Author Revenue Calculation
Imagine that Skillfeed has 100,000 users who each pay $19 per month. The total site earnings is $1,900,000 per month. (Obviously many people join and other terminate in a month. This is ignored for this calculation.)
Skillfeed keeps 30% of the monthly revenue to pay for the web site. That leaves $1,330,000 to pay the authors for their courses, according to the student engagement of each.
Assume that an author's videos are watched for a total of 50 minutes in a month. Further, perhaps the total number of minutes viewed on the site is 10 million. The author's monthly revenue share of the payment pool would be 50 divided by 10 million. When multiplied by the dollars available to authors, this would mean a credit of about $6.65.
Of course, the calculations are a little more complicated. There are affiliate commissions paid to authors who promote the site. These types of payments are deducted from the monthly dollar pool.
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There are nearly 60,000 videos available on the site for students to view. This represents more than 7,200 hours of learning time. Some 715 instructors have produced videos for the site. The number of monthly members, and their overall engagement, is not published.
As a content producer, authors should publish material on Skillfeed. The process is very easy. Quality video production is required. This can be done with any of a number of tools. Most videos should be narrated.
To produce the videos, a quality tool such as Camtasia or Explaindio should be used. Explaindio is the least expensive. Windows Movie Maker may also be used but this tool does not offer as much flexibility. You may also use a screen capture tool. This works well for demonstration video production.
Regardless of how the video is produced, care should be taken to ensure that the audio track is as high quality as possible. Usually this requires a very good quality microphone. The Blue Yeti is a popular choice as it is relatively inexpensive, it picks up sound well, and is directional. This means that it is less likely to record background noise. Such noise can be removed later but avoiding it in the first place will save course development time.
If a quality microphone is not available, or if basic sound editing is required, the author can use the free sound editor, Audacity. This tool allows various edits of sound tracks. The track can be edited for time. Faults can be removed. Background noise can be eliminated. The overall sound levels can be adjusted to compensate for volume problems. Audacity is an excellent tool for all types of audio track editing.
Unfortunately, the web site does not provide engagement statistics to authors. If an author is credited with 50 minutes of video viewing engagement in a month, the specific details are not shown. This is unfortunate as it does not allow specialization in material. If three or four courses are published, each with perhaps 10 videos, the top ones engaged by students is not known. In time it is hoped that the site will make this information known but for now, (early 2015), it is not.
Non-Exclusive Publishing Rights
One major benefit for course producers is that the material published on Skillfeed does not need to be exclusive to the site. Your material is protected by a paid membership site. You earn money from the site in addition to any money that your content earns elsewhere. This lets you potentially earn double for the same work. Your content could be published here as well as on another course site, or even your own membership site. There is generally no competition from the various outlets that you use for publishing. You must ensure, however, that the other sites you use do not object to you publishing on the Skillfeed site.
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This site is excellent for generating passive income for authors. Authors join for free. The material you create is simply published to the site. There is no further work to be performed. Each month a payment is earned from the site. The number of students enrolled is not provided to the author. Detailed engagement information is not provided. There is no course list of students and authors cannot directly interact with them. As such, content producers just provide informational videos to the site and earn ongoing revenue for their effort. This is highly recommended.