Video on Demand, or VOD, has significantly transformed how we view videos and watch TV. Gone are the days when we miss the 7 PM rerun of Gone With The Wind because we were stuck in traffic and forgot to turn on our TiVo, and now we have the option to watch any show we want, anytime we desire.
Here, we will learn all the ins and outs of VOD streaming, and how you can start your VOD channel.
What Is VOD Streaming?
VOD is, in essence, the exact opposite of live linear broadcast (the traditional method of broadcasting content). Linear TV broadcasts content in a set schedule, so if there’s a show at 8 AM you’d like to watch, you’d have to tune in the channel at 8 AM or you’re going to miss it.
VOD, on the other hand, allows the viewer to select any video content on any supported device (it doesn’t have to be your TV) and at any time. VOD isn’t only about binge-watching the latest series on Netflix or Hulu or watching a premiering movie on HBO. However, when we watch educational videos on platforms like Udemy and even free videos on YouTube, they are also VOD streaming.
There is a pretty obvious reason causing the huge growth of VOD platforms in recent years: with today’s busy lifestyles, people prefer a more flexible medium to counter their busy schedules. The flexibility here is not only limited to time, but people can also watch the content on any device, like on their smartphones from commuting from work.
The VOD content is always accessible anytime, and it can tolerate the viewer’s viewing schedule anytime and whether they have sufficient connection at the moment.
On the other side of the equation, the VOD format also allows the content distributors/broadcasters with more time to polish the content and more flexibility in terms of logistics. Also, with the VOD format, the content distributor might generate more value with each video: people might watch content from two years ago and it might generate some value for you, depending on your monetization model.
Benefits of VOD Streaming for Creators
The VOD streaming format has some obvious benefits when compared to the linear streaming model for both the viewers and content creators/distributors. The main benefit of VOD for viewers is flexibility, as we have discussed above, but here are the benefits for content creators:
More production time:
Creators have more time to produce their videos: more time for another take, more time for editing, and so on. More time in production would (should) translate into a more polished content with better values. Creators can only use more tools that simply don’t work with real-time video content.
It’s much easier to stream your video content anywhere without the limitations of schedule and/or geographic locations. It’s much simpler to publish a VOD content than running a 24/7 linear streaming channel.
The VOD format limits availability issues when compared to linear broadcasting. You only need to upload your videos one time, and your viewers can adjust their viewing activity depending on the availability of their connection.
You can reach your audience anywhere in the world with the VOD model, so you can generate more value with each content.
Disadvantages of VOD Format
However, even with all the above benefits, VOD is not (yet) a 100% perfect format and there are two main disadvantages when compared to the linear streaming model:
With the VOD format, your viewers now have more options than ever. This condition can be counterproductive and might cause what we refer to as option paralysis causing our viewers to view less content instead.
Cost and competition:
The VOD market is now very saturated, and we’d need to invest more in content just to stay competitive. Netflix, for example, is spending billions each year in content to stay as the market leader.
Tips in Starting a VOD Channel
As discussed, this is a very competitive time if you want to start a VOD channel or even if you want to start building your YouTube channel. However, in general, there are three main factors driving the success of your VOD streaming channel:
Obviously the most important factor that is going to determine your VOD streaming success is your content. This is why Netflix, Apple, and Disney invested billions to create their own original content, as well as investing in the exclusivity rights of established shows.
As a smaller VOD channel/platform, obviously you can’t meet these numbers, but you can create original content that can attract and engage your ideal audience. Nevertheless, you should plan your content carefully before you launch your channel, as it is going to be your main weapon in staying competitive.
Make sure that when your viewers do find attractive and engaging content, you provide the best possible user experience so they can watch it without any interruption. This is important since more people are now watching VOD content exclusively on their mobile devices, and mobile connectivity might be unstable. So, make sure your platform is well-optimized to avoid buffering, slow start times, and playback failure.
Ease of discovery
No matter how good your content is, you won’t get any audience if they can’t find your platform and/or if they can’t find the content on your platform.
Most viewers give up on searching for shows/movies if they can’t find it in a few minutes. On the other hand, the more videos you have on your platform, it’s only natural that it’s going to be harder to search your content. So, it’s very important to find balance and optimize your interface.
It’s very important to note that VOD and live streaming is not an exclusive thing, and broadcasters can utilize both streaming methods to amplify reach. Platforms like Viloud allow content creators and broadcasters to distribute both live streams and VOD content and also create your own TV channel for free. You can also repurpose live stream content into a VOD content to save costs and improve availability.
If you are ready to find out how Viloud offers optimized VOD and live streaming solutions, you can start your VOD channel right away.