VOD Platforms: What You Need to Know [2022 Update]
The video on demand (VOD) industry is exploding.
One recent report found video viewing on VOD platforms “[is] up 155% year-over-year, with an average viewing time of 17.1 minutes per session,” and businesses are taking advantage of this trend. In fact, the video streaming market is predicted to grow by $149.96 billion, or an 18% CAGR between 2020 and 2024. By 2028, video streaming will be worth $223.98 billion, or a CAGR of 21%. VOD platforms continue to explode in growth.
So what are video-on-demand platforms, and how can you use these channels to improve brand recognition as well as market your products? What‘s the potential for broadcasters and content creators? What tools and skills do you need to get started?
Video-on-demand platforms act on the same model as video and movie rentals did in the nineties. Remember rushing to rent a few spooky flicks during mid-October, as the good ones always sold out near Halloween time?
VOD platforms still provide that same service digitally, like so many other things these days. So no need to pre-book the movie you want to watch on Halloween night or even download it the way we did in the early 00s. VOD platforms are why millions of viewers can stream “The Exorcist” on the 31st Oct or “It’s a Wonderful Life” near Christmas.
The great thing about the potential of video-on-demand is that it holds equal potential for businesses as well as entertainment. Viewers these days are more likely to engage with a brand when communication is through video content rather than just a company hotline. Even brand websites can be made more efficient by incorporating some video content.
Your media content needs a third-party service to host and stream it without glitches through video-on-demand apps.
VOD platforms aren’t involved in the selection or creation of content in the stream. That’s the job of broadcasters working for either a business or as content creators. video-on-demand platform providers are third-party service providers that basically ensure everything goes smoothly on the viewer’s end while watching videos.
Want to get started? The first thing you need to start leveraging VOD streaming for your business is selecting the VOD streaming platform right for you.
Today, we will review the top 15 video on-demand platform providers for on-demand video hosting. We’ll compare them on a feature-by-feature basis and discuss different plans and pricing options. This should help you choose the best video-on-demand platform for your business.
Before we dive into our in-depth comparison, we will run through what exactly video on demand is and why professional broadcasters need to use enterprise-grade video-on-demand platforms.
What is VOD?
VOD stands for video on demand. Video on demand allows you to access content from an online video library whenever you want to. You don’t have to wait for your favorite show to air at a specific time, or wait for a movie to come on the air.
With video on demand, your audience gets to access videos when they want, on any compatible device. Viewers have come to expect video libraries to offer VOD access.
VOD streaming content is generally previously recorded, and not broadcast in real-time. VOD content was pre-created and added to the platform. However, you can also turn your live streams into VOD content.
A few common examples of streaming services that use the VOD model include:
- Prime Video
VOD platforms use OTT streaming. OTT streaming means that you can access the content over the internet, instead of through a traditional cable television or satellite subscription.
How Does Video on Demand Work?
Video on Demand (VOD) platforms can be useful for businesses and organizations of any type to host videos online.
How it Works for Your Audience
For your audience, video on demand is pretty simple. Your audience can access the your video library, and choose whatever video they want to watch, whenever they want to.
Some VOD libraries are free and others require a log-in. Some VOD run advertisements, and others charge for access.
VOD platforms give your viewers the freedom and flexibility to watch your video content when they want to.
How it Works Behind the Scenes for Your Business
Online VOD is powered by OTT technology. OTT technology uses streaming protocols, which compres and then decompress your video files, allowing them to be streamed over the internet. VOD streaming services take care of this for you.
Ideally, you are also going to want to work with a VOD service that helps keep your content organized, using video tags and descriptions to make it easy to find your content.
Different Uses for VOD Platforms
Many different streaming services, such as Netflix, Hulu, and Disney+ all use VOD. However, providing access to entertaining content isn’t the only purpose of VOD content. VOD content can be used for:
Businesses can use their online video content library to host internal training content. Schools can use VOD libraries to host presentations, lectures, and other pre-recorded live content. VOD libraries can help enhance the remote learning process.
VOD platforms allow for sharing pre-created and curated content. Live streaming is often less polished, as it doesn’t go through the same editing process since it is shared in real-time.
Why Professionals Use VOD
There are many uses for VOD streaming in businesses, schools, and other professional organizations.
It is used to:
- Recap important events
- Share pre-recorded lectures
- Standardize corporate training programs
- Build revenue-generating entertainment platforms
There are endless uses for VOD streaming services.
The use cases listed above are simply the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the benefits of VOD streaming. Here are some industry trends that capture the true value of on-demand video content:
- 27% of internet users watch more than 10 hours of video online each week
- 86% of businesses incorporate video content in their marketing strategies
- Websites with video content keep users’ attention longer than sites without any video content
- 50% of people look for a video of a product before making a trip to the store to buy it
- Video content retains a brands message better than text, photos, and other static content
Check out our dedicated streaming statistics post to learn more about what is going on in the online streaming space. VOD media is just one type of video content you can share online.
What is a Video on Demand Hosting Platform?
In order to create a VOD library, broadcasters use VOD hosting software. This allows you to store and manage your on-demand video content. There are both consumer-grade and professional-grade VOD hosting platforms for businesses.
One of the most popular free video hosting platforms is YouTube. However, YouTube’s features are not the best for professional use. Most free platforms, such as Facebook and DailyMotion, also have the same limitations.
A few limitations of free video hosting platforms include:
- Outside branding
- No brand customization
- Content restrictions
- Limited monetization options
- No API access
Free video hosting platforms work for independent creators, such as vloggers and “YouTubers”. However, if you want to create a secure and stable VOD platform that you have complete control over, you’ll want to look for a professional-grade solution.
A professional video hosting platform includes additional tools that allow you to create a more on-brand experience for your audience.
- Video monetization tools
- Custom video player
- Easy embedding links
- Advanced security
- API access
- Content management system
If you want access to professional-grade tools, you need to work with a professional video-on-demand service.
Top VOD Platform Features
All individual VOD hosting platforms have their own suite of VOD features and additions, but there are a few things to look for in a quality professional-grade VOD hosting platform:
1. Video CMS
2. VOD transcoding
3. Video monetization
4. White-label video player
5. Video privacy and security
These features make it easier to store and organize your videos and allow your viewers the most access to your content when they’re ready to sit down and watch.
Let’s dive in and explore exactly what these features are so that you can better compare and find the right VOD platform provider for your business.
1. Video CMS
As your video library grows, you are going to need a system for keeping track of all that content, which is where a video content management system or video CMS comes into play.
With a video CMS, you will be able to tag your videos and use those tags to create categories and subcategories of your content. That will make it easier for both you and your viewers to find content.
Video tagging can also allow you to create smart playlists. Smart playlists are used to recommend content to the viewer based on what they just watched. They are a great way to keep viewers engaged with your content. More engagement helps to increase the impact and value of your content.
2. VOD Transcoding
Different methods of viewing videos require different file sizes. What works great on a desktop computer won’t always work as well for a mobile device, and vice versa.
With VOD transcoding, your professional-grade on-demand content platform allows your users to automatically view videos at the highest quality that will perform best for their internet connection. This enables those videos to perform their best on a variety of devices without you having to create each file type manually. This huge time saver makes working with a VOD streaming service worth it.
Just create one group of encoder settings and the transcoder does the rest, giving your users the most optimized file type for the device they’re using to view your content. That helps deliver the best viewing experience, something you want when you’re paying for VOD hosting.
3. Video Monetization
If you are using video as part of your business’s revenue stream, you need to find a VOD hosting platform that offers a monetization method that fits your business plan.
However, depending on your business model, however, not all of your content hosted on your VOD platform needs to or should be monetized.
You can host some content internally, such as training videos, and host other content publicly, such as webinars, entertainment content, educational videos, and podcasts, that you may want to monetize.
With video monetization, there are three main models to monetize your content:
SVOD – Subscription Video on Demand
SVOD monetization operates similarly to traditional television packages: Consumers pay a subscription fee and they can watch as much content as they want. But SVOD monetization models have one big advantage over TV: viewers get to pick what they want to stream. Unlike watching whatever’s being broadcasted on TV.
Modern streaming solutions that operate on the SVOD model include Netflix, Hulu, and Disney+, where users pay a set price per month to consume as much content as they desire.
This model gives viewers a level of flexibility that many appreciate, allowing them to scale their subscription plans up or down based on their individual anticipated usage.
If you notice you aren’t using your channel subscription as much as you anticipated, for example, you can simply cancel the subscription without paying an early termination fee. This offers greater flexibility and choice for users but does pose some challenges to content creators who may feel more pressure to provide valuable content to “prove” their worth to those subscribers.
Mslive, for example, offers an integrated paywall that suits a variety of subscription-based needs, such as offering access to content with an event ticket or monthly. This paywall allows you to offer video previews to help you get more subscriptions, provide unlimited coupon codes, and more to help this monetization model meet your individual needs.
TVOD – Transactional Video on Demand
With TVOD, users pay a set price per piece or series of content, and then they receive access to view that content. TVOD is the industry standard for pay-per-view streaming. There are two subcategories of TVOD content – electronic sell-through (EST), where you pay once and gain permanent access to the content, and download to rent (DTR), where you pay to get access for a limited amount of time.
A mainstream example of the TVOD monetization model is Amazon Prime Video. Users can pay a fee to purchase permanent access to a piece of content, and that content can be downloaded or watched through the Amazon Prime account where the content was purchased.
For a smaller fee, users can rent that same piece of content, and they gain access to it for either a limited period of time or a limited amount of views, whichever comes first.
This model often provides access to more recent content, such as the latest releases in movies or documentaries, operating similarly to a modern-day video rental store. TVOD offers higher revenues to content creators, as users pay for each piece of content individually.
AVOD – Advertising-Based Video on Demand
AVOD differs from TVOD and SVOD in one major way: access to AVOD content is free to consumers. However, in exchange for free access to content, users have to sit through advertisements. The best modern example of AVOD is YouTube, which inserts advertisements at different intervals in videos that provide revenue for both the platform and its creators.
The drawback to AVOD is that it often provides lower revenues for creators, as advertising is usually paid on a per-view or impression basis at very low rates. However, the model is highly attractive to consumers who can access nearly unlimited content for free but just have to put up with advertisements every so often.
With professional VOD platforms, you can choose the advertising network you work with, or you can add your own advertising from custom selected partners. You control which advertisements play on your videos, and the revenue you earn from them.
4. White-Label Video Player
Many content creators are drawn to platforms such as YouTube because the system is already set up for them. They don’t have to figure out how to create their own VOD hosting platform before they can begin distributing their content. Plus, it’s free! But this system has drawbacks.
Utilizing YouTube or other non-white-label VOD platforms means you’re at the mercy of that platform when it comes to how your content is distributed. Your videos will always carry the VOD platform’s logo, and you may be limited to the ability to embed and share videos on your own website or social media platforms.
Finding a VOD hosting platform that has a white-label solution, on the other hand, gives you all the ease of use of a third-party platform, but with more flexibility. White-label hosting allows your content to blend in better on your website as well.
You can remove the third-party branding from the video player, putting your logo and branding on everything. White-label platforms also allow you to easily embed the video player right onto your website, with your own branding and share it on your social platforms such as Twitch or Linkedin Live.
This creates continuity for your brand that you won’t find with many other third-party VOD hosting platforms and shows your customers that you’re serious about the content you provide. This allows you to provide your viewers with the best viewing experience.
5. Video Security
Security is one of the main reasons broadcasters choose VOD platforms for their videos. Video-on-demand platforms protect your video content from the time it’s uploaded to the time a user views it is crucial.
With HTTPS uploading and delivery, you know that your data—and your customer’s data—is secure. Your users can see the lock icon in the address bar, so they know they won’t be hit with malware and hackers when they view your content.
You also want to be able to restrict specific domains or IPs, preventing them from becoming the target of spammers and pirates.
With domain restriction, your content will only play on specific domains, so if someone tries to embed the video content on a restricted domain, the content will not play. With geographical restrictions, you can control the countries and IP addresses where your content is played.
If you offer subscriptions to your users, you need to be able to give them exclusive and safe access to the content they’re paying for.
With password protection integration, you can require a password to view your content, protecting your revenues but giving your subscribers access to the videos they want to watch.
If you accept payments from viewers’ subscriptions or pay-per-view access, you will want to offer SSL security, keeping their financial information safe.
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