September 23

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VOD Platforms – Everything You Need To Get Started With Video On Demand

By Hanson Cheng

September 23, 2021


The average American household pays over $100 per month for cable or satellite TV. The great news is that in this day and age, you don't have to pay that much anymore. With streaming services, you can watch your favorite shows and movies on demand - without a contract or commitment.

There are several streaming services available right now, so it's important to understand the differences between them before choosing one. 

In this article, we'll go through all of the details about video-on-demand platforms so that you can make an informed decision when choosing which service is best for your needs.

What Vod Means And How It’s Different From Traditional TV

The word "VOD" stands for "Video on Demand." The basic idea is that you can watch your favorite shows and movies at any time, without having to record them ahead of time. In fact, in most use cases, you're able to start watching the show or movie instantly when you select it.

Many people think that VOD is the same thing as "TV" or "cable," but this isn't true. There are several differences between traditional TV and streaming video.

Image Credit: http://dacast.com

With regular TV, the viewing experience is controlled by a network (like ABC, CBS, HBO) and/or a cable company (like Time Warner Cable). These companies have their schedules for what's on at each time, and you can only watch shows based on their schedule. 

With a streaming service like Hulu or Netflix, none of the content is pre-planned in advance - so you’re free to watch the first thing that pops up on your screen. If that is not the right fit for you, you can decide to watch something else instead.

Also, when it comes to regular TV, it's impossible to watch a show without watching all of the other commercials that are shown alongside it. 

Streaming services usually have much less advertising video - or none at all - which means that you'll spend less time watching ads, and more time enjoying your favorite shows.

Most streaming services don't require a contract or commitment. You simply subscribe for a month (or year) and then cancel when you're done. This is ideal if you only want to pay for what you use. 

Many traditional TV providers don't offer the ability to pause a show, rewind a show, or record from beginning to end - which makes it nearly impossible to go back and watch something later. Most streaming services offer these capabilities which makes them much more convenient for those times when you can't be looking at your TV screen.

When is the best time to use a VOD service?

These are the situations in which a streaming service is ideal:

Watching on the go

If you want to be able to watch your favorite shows and movies anywhere, streaming services are a great choice. You can watch your content on almost any device that has an Internet connection.

When you don't want inflexible plans

Cable and satellite TV providers usually require users to stick with specific packages - which can be frustrating if you only watch certain channels, or if one of the providers happens to have poor customer service. With streaming services, there's no such problem: since most platforms offer flexibility in terms of which programs you can watch, there's less risk involved when canceling your account and trying out another service.

If you have kids

If you have kids, then having access to on-demand video without needing to schedule things ahead of time is ideal. You can simply put your child down for a nap or let them play with their toys - and know that they'll be entertained by whatever's playing on TV. That way, you don't have to constantly entertain them while trying to get work done.

If you’re always on the go

If you're busy, then being able to pause or rewind a show is an excellent time-saving feature. It gives you the freedom to watch what you want on your schedule so that you can still accomplish other important tasks while using VOD services.

If you’re underwhelmed with what’s on TV

If there's nothing on TV right now, then having a huge library of movies and shows at your disposal is fantastic. Since most streaming services have access to plenty of new releases along with older movies, everyone should be able to find something they like.

What VOD isn't

Video On Demand has come to be used as a catch-all phrase, but there are some significant differences between various streaming services. Let’s have a look at some of them.

FTA (Free To Air)

Free To Air does not require a subscription or monthly fee, but can only be received via an antenna. Many FTA channels also offer on demand video content programming; those videos can be watched at any time without paying anything extra.

Image Credit: http://harmonyfta.com

However some countries censor their satellite broadcasts, and some channels may not broadcast 24/7 - so it's nice to have a backup in VOD services.

Subscription TV

Subscription TV, which does require a monthly fee for access. These are the most common streaming services in North America and Europe, but they're not available everywhere. The content is usually all put behind a paywall, but many providers offer a certain amount of "free" programming on an on-demand basis. 

This is great if you don't want to commit to paying for anything or if you don’t feel like deciding what to watch right now. After all, don't we all get tired of having to decide what to watch sometimes?

PPV (Pay Per View)

PPV allows users to either rent or buy individual movies and episodes from their library at any time. This is great if you only want to watch something once, or if you want access to things that are no longer available on subscription TV.

TVOD (Transactional Video On Demand)

This works on a pay-per-view system as well - but utilizes a one-time payment for all the content in a particular section of their library. They're also known as STVOD, SVOD, and AVOD ("Subscription Video On Demand"). 

These services have been growing in Europe over the past few years since they can help prevent piracy from those who would otherwise download episodes illegally instead of paying monthly fees to see them. 

This is popular primarily because these channels offer hours upon hours of new releases without making people pay recurring fees. Some even let users pay once to watch everything in their library.

Among these options, a VOD streaming platform is generally considered more flexible than FTA broadcasts - which require an antenna and aren't available everywhere throughout the world, anyway. With premium subscriptions, you don't need to own a satellite dish or use equipment that may not be with your chosen provider. 

Streaming Services For Consumers

Let's now have a look at some of the most popular VOD platforms out there, and what they have to offer.

Hulu is a curated video service. It contains a large number of episodes and films. Standard services are ad-supported and include restricted content. Hulu Plus is a paid subscription service that offers limited advertisements and no commercials. 

Filmmakers get the largest cut of the profit from ads on Hulu, which is a great way for new content creators to make a name for themselves - and it's also a wonderful way for old pros to get their work out there as well.

Hulu is known for its classic and current programming which can be watched on a variety of devices. 

Setting up Hulu is easy. There is no need for appointments, and the process is simple enough that it may be completed by a homeowner with basic tools. 

To begin streaming your favorite TV shows and movies on Hulu, you'll need a subscription, a home network, and a compatible device.

With easy-to-understand costs, Hulu keeps it simple to get going with their service. Hulu starts at $5.99 per month and Hulu + Live TV begins at $64.99 per month. Choose a subscription that best meets your demands and budget and you’re off to the races.

There are no hidden costs or penalties if you decide to cancel. You may change your mind and cancel at any time by visiting your Hulu.com account page and altering your plan, adding or deleting add-ons, and even terminating the service entirely.

It's no surprise that Apple created one of the most popular streaming services; Apple TV is one of the world's biggest sellers of films. Users may rent or purchase movies from the iTunes Store to view on any Apple device, including their Mac or iOS device, or even a PC. 

Apple TV has 700 million followers and is the largest digital download marketplace, as well as being the most lucrative TVOD site on the Internet. This means that they can charge more for their content and they stand to make a lot of money.

When it comes to pricing, you can purchase an Apple device and get 3 months of free access to Apple TV.

If that’s not the case, you get a free 7-day trial so that you can test the service out before you buy a subscription. After the free day trial, a monthly membership costs only $4.99.

Netflix is a VOD service that all content producers would love to be a part of. However, it can be tough for a movie or documentary to be accepted by Netflix since the company is compelled to decide whether or not to exhibit it on their site. In fact, before a film is launched on Netflix, it must be pitched to the right people. 

Whether or not your film is selected is determined by several criteria, including the cast's reputation, competition, and having content that will be accepted by Netflix’s fan base. This can be either positive or negative news for filmmakers trying to get their name out there.

As a customer, Netflix is the ideal site to watch movies on VOD due to its large audience and variety. Netflix charges a flat fee for all of its content. Many people love Netflix due its personalization options, where they are suggested potential moves, series and documentaries to watch based on past preferences.

With various price points based on your needs, Netflix has something for everyone.

Netflix Monthly Plans are as follows:

  • Basic $8.99
  • Standard $13.99 
  • Premium $17.99 (Includes Ultra HD)

With features such as the number of screens available for simultaneous viewing, the number of mobile phones or tablets that you may log in with on Netflix, and ultra-HD availability, it might make sense for some people to go with a superior plan.

Amazon Prime Video is a streaming service that provides movies and TV shows, as well as original material from Amazon Studios. It works with a variety of platforms, including Xbox One. Moreover, Amazon Video provides movies and TV episodes for sale or downloads through Amazon.

On connected TV devices and Web browsers, Amazon seems to be the most effective. It offers people the opportunity to watch everything, including popular movies and TV series.

Amazon Prime Video Membership costs $8.99 a month. Alternatively, you can pay for an Amazon Prime membership at $12.99 a month or $119 a year. All these prices are exclusive of taxes. 

A 30-day free trial is included in the yearly Prime membership, allowing you to access the last few hours of Prime Day and all of its benefits.

Streaming Services For Businesses

Apart from being used to watch videos on demand while relaxing after a hard day at work, VOD platforms can be used to stream educational content to people taking part in educational courses. 

In fact, there are several ways you can incorporate educational video content into your teaching. From the teacher's perspective, it helps them reach a wider audience and share their passion for teaching with other people. 

By using some of the best streaming software tools, companies are realizing that this is an effective way to educate stakeholders effectively - whether this is an internal course for employees or a training session for recruits. 

Moreover, the right video analytics tools can provide you with insights into what’s working and what’s not when it comes to the content you’re providing your employees.

Let's now have a look at the top VOD platforms that businesses have at their disposal.

VOD hosting and online video streaming features are both available through Dacast. This video streaming platform offers a variety of sophisticated website hosting choices. 

Video monetization, high-standard security video, API, global video delivery, and a first-class content delivery system are just a few of the advanced features on offer. 

It is ideal for professional organizations such as enterprises and other professional organizations that wish to broadcast high-quality live streaming video feeds as well as on-demand content.

With features such as unlimited concurrent viewers, Dacast offers you the ability to host live streams with an unlimited number of viewers around the world. 

Moreover, with ad-free HD Streaming, your customers won't have any distractions caused by ads & logos from third-party brands mixed with your video content. With their competent assistance staff on call at all times, you can be certain that your data is being handled securely and safely.

The pricing works as follows:

Uscreen is a program that allows content creators and investors to start a video streaming business. 

Uscreen makes it simple to develop and launch your mobile app for video streaming or even online video entertainment. It also enables you to scale up functionality development and support as your app grows in popularity.

Uscreen can assist you in whatever approach you take when starting your video business venture as well as when the time is right to expand your video services and capabilities.

With 3 different packages available for your teaching needs, you will be paying based on the number of clients you have.

Top features to look for in a VOD system

With many VOD platforms to choose from, what are some features that you should look out for when choosing a platform?

Playlists

This feature allows you to organize your content into playlists. Playlists also help you to control which one of the videos from your library or another site is played after the current one finishes.

You can have as many different playlists as you want and create unique experiences for your viewers. If you plan on creating courses for your students, playlists are an easy way to organize the different lessons.

On-demand & Live content streaming

Both of these features allow you to live stream or record your content and make it available without any time delay.

If you want to be able to start learning when you want, whether at 2 am or 8 pm, these features are crucial. Streaming video is becoming more popular in the workplace as employers look to provide training for their employees all over the world. This feature allows them to do so.

Cloud storage

This is the ability to upload files, videos, images, etc., that are then stored on a cloud system where you can access your content from anywhere that has an internet connection. This will allow you to collaborate with others and share your content whether for work or personal use without having to worry about transferring large amounts of data back and forth.

Accessibility

The best VOD platforms should be accessible by both desktop as well as mobile devices. You never know when you might want to learn something or watch a video, which is why it's important to make sure the VOD platform you choose is accessible under all circumstances. Your employees might also find themselves in situations where they need to access your 

VOD platform and take a test. If they're unable to do so, it defeats the purpose of having one. It should be accessible by all means necessary for you to meet the needs of your clients or employees wherever they may be.

Also, whether you have an iOS device, Android phone or tablet, Windows PC or Mac, you'll need your VOD platform to work on all of them. 

That means no matter what kind of device you want to use it on, your VOD platform should be compatible with the operating system without having any major issues.

Quality playback

With 1080p HD video becoming the standard, that's great news if your VOD platform supports it. Having any other quality besides this is outdated and will result in a loss of quality in your experience.

Uptime/stability

Uptime is essential if you plan on streaming live video feeds and ensure that there will be no interruption in connectivity. Therefore, you must choose a VOD platform with high Uptime and Stability ratings. Moreover, the VOD platform should also allow you to monitor the uptime and stability of your feed, no matter what time of day it is.

Security

Choosing a secure option will ensure that the data transferred between you and your viewers cannot be hacked or spied on by third parties. You want to make sure that what your viewers are seeing is only visible to them unless you choose to share it with other people. 

Your company's reputation depends on it. Therefore, you'll need to pick one that offers top-level security whenever possible. This way, you won't have to worry about any internal leaks happening down the line because hackers found their way into your system.

Quality customer support

Can you imagine having a VOD platform that suddenly takes 10 minutes for a video to buffer? It's a frustrating experience, especially when you're trying to provide high-quality content. That is why great customer support is a must. 

You don't want to spend hours trying to deal with technical issues when they happen. Without quality customer support, finding solutions will be difficult and might cause disruptions in productivity which will lead to loss of money, time, and customers.

Subtitles and closed captions for video content

Having a VOD platform that offers subtitles and closed captions will allow your viewers to understand what they're watching.

Image Credit: http://mediacause.org

This is essential for companies around the world because it allows them to reach new customers from different parts of the world without having language barriers get in their way. On top of this, having subtitles as part of your feed can even increase your viewership and bring more conversions as a result.

To make this easier to set up, companies can use video transcription software to transible tons of audio and video quickly and add these transcriptions as part of their videos.

Offline Download option

This is an excellent feature for companies that need to take their VOD platform mobile. If you don't want to be limited by internet connectivity, offline mode will allow users to download your content and watch it anywhere without having to worry about spotty connections or dropped signals. 

While this might not be useful for all businesses around the world, it can be especially helpful for those who are constantly on the road or traveling from one place to another throughout the year. Overall, this gives them more opportunities to make sales without having to limit themselves because of poor internet conditions.

Simple To Set Up

While the technical terms can pile up quite quickly when it comes to VOD content, sometimes an easy solution is all you need. Jargon such as transcoding, encoding, metadata, CDN, bandwidth, OTT, DRM and many more terms need to be taken into consideration if you're building a custom solution from the ground up. 

Otherwise, you can use the framework that someone else has created to get the solution you want.  A simple to set up solution (possible by one of the above platform providers) ensures that both content owners and service providers have a real-time look into what is going on. It also allows them to provide on demand streaming and optimize as needed.

It also allows end-users access to a subscription VOD that is full of interactivity and customizable based on their needs. This is a great way to increase subscribers without having all the headaches that can come with such a complex system.

Pricing

Not only do you need to find a VOD platform that offers quality content, but also one that is budget-friendly. Luckily, there are plenty of options available on the market today. However, whenever choosing an option, you'll want to look at its pricing plans so you can determine which one works best for your business model without having to break the bank every month - especially if a company is just starting an online business

This way, you won't have thousands of dollars being spent on something that might not be necessary or even beneficial for your company's bottom line. It should be sufficient enough to meet all your business needs while staying within a certain price range, especially if you're running on a tight budget.

How will a VOD system help your business?

There are many advantages to having your own VOD platform, including allowing you the chance to expand your business beyond your local area. That will allow customers all around the world to watch your content and become interested in what you have to offer at their leisure.

Let's now look at how this type of system can help your business's bottom line.

Monthly subscription platforms

Having your own VOD platform allows you to make money from all kinds of customers. For example, if a customer chooses to pay for a monthly subscription instead of paying for individual videos, you’ll be able to better predict the lifetime value of the customers.

Not only this, but it can also help boost sales and conversions because people will have access to everything that you have to offer in one place - without having to search around on different pages or visit different websites just to get information about a single product or service.

White-Label Video Player

If you want to stand out from the competition, then having your white-label video player can set your company apart from other businesses around the world. This is because it will allow you to brand all of your videos with your company's logo while customizing different features before distributing them to customers.

Content Purchase

One of the best things about a VOD platform is that it allows you to purchase content from other creators and distributors for a specific fee. This can save you a lot of time and trouble because you don't have to worry about creating videos or spending money on equipment just so people can watch what you have to offer.

Not only this, but it also gives your customers an additional chance to view something new without having to spend too much time looking around. All they have to do is select the kind of video they want from your VOD system's library, pay for it, and then start watching right away.

Image Credit: http://wpmayor.com

What this does is give your VOD system an additional way to help increase its monthly earnings while allowing customers another choice when it comes to deciding how they want to pay for all of the content they want to watch. Overall, this means more financial flexibility for them and additional revenue for you at the same time.

Storage Platforms

Not only do VOD systems allow you to upload different kinds of videos onto their website, but they also offer storage for future use. 

What this means is that you can use these platforms to keep track of all your content and then share it with customers whenever you feel like there's a need for additional information about different products or services.

Having an online storage platform also gives your business the chance to expand its library at any time without worrying about running out of room in the future. Companies are using video tutorial software to show clients how to perform certain actions related to a product or service, which means that more space is needed each month to host such videos.

Social media integration

Having social media integration allows businesses to take advantage of a huge market that would have otherwise gone untouched. Not only this, but it can also help improve your branding efforts by allowing you to share different kinds of videos with customers who are most likely interested in what they have to offer.

On top of social media integration, users can also take advantage of online community platforms by sharing different links out to friends and associates. This allows others to know about the content being offered through word of mouth. 

These different formats help increase brand awareness while giving customers even more ways to access different kinds of video content and interact with other people online - all without having to leave the VOD system's website.

VOD Platforms - FAQ

What is a VOD platform?

A VOD platform allows authors to add their videos and charge users to access them. It is a way for authors to monetize their content, potentially via multiple platforms in one go.

Is Netflix a VOD?

Netflix would technically be a streaming VOD, which means that their videos are hosted on their servers, and users stream the video directly from Netflix. In addition to Netflix there are many other video CMS platforms available that one might consider - Vimeo, Roku, Brightcove, and many other platforms.

What is the difference between a streaming VOD platform and downloading?

The difference is that with downloading, you can download an entire video to your PC / Mac for watching at whatever time you choose. You can also move this file to another device, allowing you to watch it on devices that don't usually support streaming.

With streaming, there is typically no need to wait while a video is downloading - playback starts off as soon as you hit the play button.

How do I access VOD?

VOD platforms typically offer two ways to access their content - the first method allows you to stream in your browser, or else, with method two, you can download the video for offline use.

Some platforms also support apps on mobile devices and set-top boxes.

Final thoughts on VOD platforms

In conclusion, the right VOD platform for you is the one that has what you want to watch, users who are happy to pay for it, and is easy to use.

Whether you are providing a service to your customers or you are the customer, it's important to consider all the various aspects involved when making a final decision.

While some VODs offer a ton of features, ensuring that the basics work well when choosing an online streaming platform should always be the priority.

Last Updated on September 29, 2021 by Hanson Cheng

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Hanson Cheng

About the author

Living in Bali with my Fiancee and puppy, (Alina and Pickles). Scaling online businesses and sharing lessons learned on this website and in our email newsletter. Always happy to hear from you, so find me on Instagram if you want to say hi!

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