In an interview with TorrnetFreak, an online pirate who uploads movies to streaming sites explained how he makes money.
According to the individual, a person uploads content such as movies or television shows to a file-hosting site. Users who watch the movies are also show advertisements. The file-hosting website has affiliate programs where ad revenue that is generated is shared with the person who uploaded the movie. On average, the payout to the person who uploaded the movie is around $1 to $2 for each 1,000 views that the movie or tv show generates.
Both the file-hosting site and the person uploading the movie both benefit from having more people view the content. Thus, streaming link sites exist. These sties collect links to the file-hosting site in a way similar to how search engines work. The more streaming links there are, the more people are able to view the movie and thus increase revenue for the person who uploaded the movie.
The pirate who was interviewed by TorrentFreak has uploaded 30,000 movies and television shows on to the Internet using 12 different file-hosting websites. In order to drive traffic and views to those movies, he has added over 200,000 links to streaming link sties that direct people to the pirated content.
Source: Andy, “Making Money from Movie Streaming Sites, an Insider’s Story,” TorrentFreak, October 19, 2013.