What is VOD?
VOD—or video-on-demand—is a content distribution system that allows quick, on-the-go access to content libraries through rentals, purchases, or in exchange for a monthly subscription fee.
VOD moves beyond the traditional broadcasting constraints and allows users to view thousands of movies, TV shows, and podcasts whenever they want, using their choice of platform or device. The modern consumer thrives on this flexibility.
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How does the VOD Platform Work?
For a user, if they wish to watch a certain movie or TV show, all they need to do is launch the OTT app on their preferred device, search for the title, and start streaming the video in mere seconds. However, the mechanism behind these simple actions is complex.
- As viewers choose a title, the file undergoes video compression into a compatible, digital format that ensures transmission over the internet using a content delivery network (CDN).
- It then gets transcoded into a suitable format for streaming and is saved on the VOD servers.
- A video container is used to package the files and store data such as audio, video, metadata, subtitles, etc.
- The file undergoes encryption to ensure that only the users who’ve subscribed to the service can decode and stream it.
- Once the compressed video is received by the video player, it is decompressed for playback.
VOD and OTT - Differences and Similarities
Why is it Important for Video-Centric Platforms?
There is a range of benefits to using VOD streaming:
- Branding and customization: A good VOD platform allows you to customize and edit your video content to perfection before delivering it to your viewers. This might include brand colors, logos, and professional-grade editing that help drive brand awareness.
- Flexibility and accessibility: VOD is a perfect opportunity for content creators to maximize viewership of their original content by catering to the growing population of viewers who prefer to watch content on their own schedules. With multiple monetization models to suit their needs, VOD is highly profitable when compared to the likes of cables. VOD also allows you to monetize older content.
- Connectivity: With the internet and Cloud providing on-the-go access to media content, users can view your content whenever they want to watch it using their devices and platforms, be it smartphones, tablets, or TV.
- Media distribution: VOD services are revolutionizing education and corporate training such that students and employees can attend virtual classrooms and meetings to access educational and training material anytime, anywhere. This flexibility doesn't just stand to improve the quality of education but also decreases operational costs. Apart from serving as a potent educational technology, VOD is also an excellent platform to distribute news and sports events, religious content, and so on.
VOD vs. Live Streaming
- VOD is a method of streaming pre-recorded content—where viewers can choose when, how, and where they wish to watch it. Live streaming, on the other hand, is real-time broadcasting and, thus, has a fixed broadcast schedule that viewers must stick to for accessing the content.
- VOD offers viewers the ability to watch content on their own terms, while Live Streaming offers viewers the ability to watch and engage with content as it is happening.
- VOD requires a large amount of storage, while Live Streaming requires a powerful connection and a capable server.
- VOD can be used to watch movies, shows, or other videos, while Live Streaming is best suited for watching live events such as sports, news, or concerts.
- While both are used for delivering videos online, VOD streaming is only possible if the live content is pre-recorded or pre-uploaded. Therefore, for optimum video monetization and reach-maximizing opportunities, it is key that you record live streams to provide on-demand access at a later date. This is why it is best to choose a streaming platform that supports both live streaming and video-on-demand distribution methods.
Different Types of VOD Business Models
VOD monetization models allow content broadcasters to earn revenue from the videos they distribute on a streaming platform. This could either be through purchase, rental, subscription fee, or ads.
There are five models of content monetization for VOD businesses — SVOD, TVOD, AVOD, NVOD, and PVOD. Let's take a close look:
AVOD—-or advertising-based video on demand—basically provides users free access to a library of content anywhere, at any time. There are no upfront costs or subscription fees.
But there's a catch: Much like TV broadcasts, viewers are expected to sit through advertisements that are embedded into the videos and pop up at regular intervals. YouTube is a prime example of an AVOD model.
Benefits of AVOD
- It provides free access to content and thus, the barrier to entry is low. This means you can reach a wider audience base, provided you have high-quality content.
- You don't need a cable contract or satellite subscription to access the content.
SVOD—or subscription video-on-demand —is one of the most commonly used monetization models. As the name suggests, it provides comprehensive access to a content library in exchange for a recurring subscription fee—be it monthly or annual.
The top OTT platforms like Netflix, Amazon Prime, Disney+, Hulu, Apple TV, HBO Max, etc use the SVOD model to deliver content.
Benefits of SVOD
- They provide users full access to their favorite shows and movies on one platform.
- SVOD is one of the most reliable revenue models for businesses.
- They don't include disruptive ads or pop-ups.
TVOD—or transactional video on demand—is where users purchase or rent individual videos, rather than paying for an entire library of content. If it is a live event available for rent or purchase, it would be known as Pay-Per-View (PPV).
Amazon Prime Video, Apple iTunes Store, and Google Play are the top examples of TVOD.
TVOD is usually leveraged in combination with an SVOD model to provide payment flexibility to viewers.
Benefits of TVOD
- TVOD lets content creators publish exclusive content at regular intervals.
- It allows you to promote individual releases, like a new season of a TV series or a new movie.
PVOD—or premium video on demand—is a monetization model where SVOD users paid an additional fee to get early access to premium content. The term "premium" refers to high-budget blockbuster films or highly-anticipated movies. For instance, PVOD would allow users to watch exclusive movies while they were still in movie theaters.
The streaming goliath Netflix was originally a PVOD service, which hosted a ton of old content and new premium content that required users to pay for individual pieces, much like the TVOD model. However, with time, Netflix began producing original content and has since evolved into a subscription-based distribution model.
NVOD—or near video-on-demand—is a monetization model wherein users can choose to watch videos from other restricted or subscription-based OTT platforms at designated schedules. For example, a pay-per-view service.
Videos are broadcasted at predefined intervals on different video channels and thus, viewers have the choice to pick their start time. To best understand NVOD, compare it to movie theater schedules.
Why Prefer VOD Platforms for Streaming Videos?
With OTT services like Netflix, Disney+, Amazon Prime, Apple TV, and Hulu replacing cable contracts with on-demand video streaming, VOD is slated to experience a whopping USD 149.96 billion-dollar growth by 2024.
Content creators sitting on original content should capitalize on this opportunity to launch their own OTT service and deliver secure, high-quality content to their target audience.
A VOD platform takes care of the technical aspects of the streaming—such as checking bandwidth and power requirements, delivering high-quality, buffer-free streams, and so on. This relieves broadcasters of unnecessary burden, thereby allowing them to focus on content.
How to Build your own VOD Platform?
More and more business owners are looking to monetize their catalog of on-demand video content libraries—from entertainment media to educational material, corporate training videos, and more.
Building your OTT empire on the right VOD platform is paramount — otherwise, you stand to lose your customers.
If you wish to create a video-on-demand platform, you can either hire a skilled development team or have an in-house developer take care of it.
In any case, you need to make sure your platform includes key features that resemble professional OTT platforms in the market. Let's take a sneak peek:
Important Features Needed for VOD
Here are 5 key features to look out for when choosing a VOD platform:
A VOD platform should have a robust, cloud-based Infrastructure for video hosting, which will improve the security of your network and increase the deployment and maintenance potential of the streaming platform.
Encoding and Transcoding
Depending on the device or platform a video is viewed on, the size and quality of the media file need to be changed for high-quality video streaming. For instance, a video designed for PC won't always work well on a mobile phone or if your end-users have unfavorable network conditions, their streaming experience will be interrupted by buffering and lags.
VOD encoding and transcoding help you overcome these obstacles; with the right encoder and transcoder settings, you can deliver content to a variety of devices by optimizing it based on the available bitrates and the device's capacities.
Multiple Monetization Options
Your video-on-demand website should provide a range of monetization options depending on your target audience. Do some deep research and find out which models are best suited for your prospects. You should also determine how convenient and feasible the setup will be for you.
Ensuring integration with a Cloud CDN will improve the broadcast capacity and increase the speed of video delivery. You can also test assured your streaming infrastructure is stored securely on the cloud.
You need advanced security features to ensure uninterrupted delivery of content to end-users without the threat of third-party attacks and unauthorized leakage. This includes platform-specific DRM, HLS encryption, and SSO to avoid any malware or hackers and ensure top-notch security. A reliable platform should also include password integration for safe user access.
Top 5 VOD Services for Streaming
Here's looking at 5 VOD services that are worth checking out:
Gumlet is a top-of-the-line, business-focused video optimization platform that supports professional-grade VOD and Live streaming.
It's a quick and easy-to-use platform that facilities a range of functionalities—from automated video publishing pipelines to detailed engagement insights. It leverages per-title-encoding, cloud-based transcoding, and supports the latest codecs to help you deliver a high-quality, buffer-free video streaming experience at low bitrates. In addition to this, Gumlet includes DRM and other security controls that help protect your content from unauthorized access and distribution.
Brightcove is one of the oldest, most powerful VOD platform providers that supports on-demand and live video. It allows maximum customization of original video content and also ensures integration with other broadcasting tools. Businesses can glean detailed insights and analytics to refine their marketing strategies and securely deliver video content to a broad audience base.
Vimeo is an excellent VOD and CMS tool that allows content creators to host, market, and monetize on-demand content. It includes a variety of monetization models—from rentals to subscription options. Vimeo allows you to brand and customize your content with logos and colors and is compatible with a wide range of platforms such as Android and iOS, mobile, and TV.
Dacast is a robust VOD solution that allows you to securely deliver on-demand content to people worldwide. Dacast’s S3 FTP upload feature ensures content creators can efficiently share multiple videos at once. It provides detailed analytics to help you track video performance and modify your monetization strategies accordingly. Dacast’s APIs help you brand your content using your personal CMS—which also helps keep your media library organized and quickly accessible. It supports cloud transcoding, HTTPS delivery, and multiple monetization models such as TVOD, AVOD, and SVOD.
Wistia offers the perfect opportunity to build your own powerful, brand-focused VOD platform and host your content to your target audience. It includes a number of personalization options such as logos, custom colors, CTAs that help build brand awareness and drive conversions. With high-quality analytical data, actionable insights, and A/B testing, you can optimize your content for greater engagement.
Businesses can build a robust and profitable video-on-demand platform and serve top-grade content to the growing VOD user base around the world. It will give you complete ownership over your content, allow you to provide tailored user experiences, and maximize revenue.
The key to success? Choosing the best-suited VOD platform for your needs.
- Is VOD streaming free?
Depending on the monetization model used, VOD services can be offered for free. For instance, the AVOD model, advertising-based on-demand video, provides comprehensive access to content for free. However, AVOD also includes targeted advertising—which forms the revenue source of the content broadcaster.
2. What is the difference between OTT and VOD?
While both OTT and VOD are used interchangeably, they are not the same. OTT—or Over the Top platform—is the distribution channel that uses the internet to deliver video content to users, instead of satellite or cable. VOD, on the other hand, allows users to playback videos whenever they wish to and is thus the consumption model of video content.
3. How to convert the live stream to VOD?
The easiest way to convert a live stream into a VOD is to record the live stream while it is happening. This can be done with various software or hardware solutions, depending on your streaming platform. The streaming platform will then encode and distribute the video for VOD playback. You can also use a media transcoding service to convert the live stream into a VOD format.
4. What is an example of a video on demand?
Netflix is an example of video on demand. Netflix allows users to access a wide selection of movies and TV shows on demand to watch them anytime. Other examples include Amazon Prime Video, Hulu, YouTube, etc.