5 VOD Benefits You Could Be Missing Out On

Video on demand (VOD) is not only the future of streaming media, but also the past. Companies have been exploring and expanding on this technology for decades. In fact, if you’ve landed on this page, then you’re probably already employing VOD in some capacity on your website or through social media. The question, therefore, becomes not whether video would benefit your company, but whether your use of VOD is as effective as it could be. In this article we’ll explore some key considerations that might have flown under your radar, why these VOD benefits are important, and how you can address them.


1. Content Diversity and Inclusivity

The expanding market for diverse content highlights a significant trend in VOD streaming, one where inclusivity in media is not just a moral imperative but also a profitable venture. In the United States alone, the demand for films and episodic titles featuring at least one lead who is a person of color is expected to outpace the growth of the total production market.

But what does this have to do with your company (unless your goal is to be the next Netflix)? True, this shift is predominantly driven by digital and theatrical releases, as traditional broadcast and cable expenditures decline and cord-cutting increases. However, it speaks to a larger emphasis on media that is more representative of a diverse audience and that caters to more diverse tastes. Inclusivity in media also extends to accessibility by making videos easier to search, as well as providing subtitles to bridge language barriers and cater to the hearing impaired.

Key Questions:

  • Am I meeting all my viewers’ needs?
  • Does my content reflect the diversity in my audience?
  • Can anyone coming to my platform understand my content and will they react positively to it?

Capture This VOD Benefit

Practical considerations include subtitles, representation of different languages, variations in tone and cultural representation, and an easy-to-understand system for searching your content database.

You can also optimize your content for your audience across demographics through robust video analytics. Audience insights can tell you roughly who is accessing your library, from where, and on what types of devices. Use this and viewing statistics to determine what these viewers are watching, when they are watching, and for how long. This allows you to find out what messaging, stories, or other content is most successful with your target audience.

How A Streaming Platform Provider Can Help

Canned streaming solutions like YouTube will limit how much control you have over your content’s discoverability and accessibility. You’ll have a much easier time catering the structure of your platform to diverse needs if you have more control over the viewer’s experience. Most streaming platform providers offer a great deal more control. Some even allow you to white label the platform.

Let’s say you’ve been embedding your videos on your website and making them searchable that way. That might feel like a more controlled experience for your viewers, but the functionality is still limited. Additionally, your access to useful streaming specific analytics will be limited at best. Many streaming platform providers offer far more nuanced information, like at what point in a stream viewers stopped watching, then you’ll get from your website host.


2. Accessibility Across Devices and Offline

Streaming giants like Amazon Prime and platforms like YouTube make this look easy. After all, if you make something available online, why shouldn’t anyone anywhere be able to view it? The truth is distance, device compatibility, and user-end bandwidth all matter and will heavily influence a viewer’s experience. These streaming entities work with existing tools and infrastructure to account for these factors.

Accessibility isn’t just about catering to diverse personal needs and tastes. There’s also a practical element. You want people to be able to see your content with as few roadblocks as possible and at the highest quality possible. That means making it available across devices, making it available offline, and utilizing video streaming workflows infrastructure, like a content delivery network (CDN) to or adaptive bitrate streaming (ABR), to cater to individuals more easily in different locations with varying bandwidth availability. 

Key Questions:

  • Can I guarantee high quality video for my viewers?
  • Can my on-demand videos handle an unexpected viewership surge?
  • Are the videos hosted on my platform accessible nationally or internationally?

Capture This VOD Benefit

Make sure whatever platform you are using can support a wide range of devices, including smartphones, tablets, computers, and smart TVs. You’ll also want to ensure that you support a range of device platforms. For example, it’s not enough to say you support smartphones. You need to support both Android and iOS.

Get access to an expansive video CDN. CDNs are webs of servers across a large geographical area. When a viewer clicks play on a video, the hosting platform pings the “edge server” nearest the viewer for the data stream. If the edge server doesn’t have the necessary data, it pings the primary server. It then caches the data locally for future requests. In this way CDNs can delivery higher quality video faster to viewers across great distances. CDNs also help accommodate viewership surges and protect against DDoS attacks with load balancing.

Consider adaptive bitrate workflows to maximize quality without sacrificing reliability. ABR is a method by which a stream is dynamically transcoded and delivered in packages to an end user device according to feedback from that same device. Put simply, just because you can package and send data at a high video bitrate (meaning high quality) doesn’t mean your end user’s local bandwidth can handle receiving and playing back that high quality video. With ABR your media server pings the end user device to determine the optimal bitrate for delivering quality video without overloading the end user. It then packages the video streaming data packets with that in mind. However, it’s always receiving bandwidth data from the end user, so as it changes, the media server adjusts the bitrate for the packets. It’s an exhaustive process that appears effortless and high quality for the end user.

How a Streaming Platform Provider Can Help

A good streaming platform provider will come prepared to support all standard devices (and all standard protocols), provide ABR capabilities, and with access to a CDN. A platform like Wowza Video acts as media server, with ABR capabilities, and has built in CDN access. In short, you don’t have to figure out all the steps above. You just have to say yes to the right streaming partner.

Get all your questions answered in one place!


3. Branded Platform for a Controlled Viewer Experience

We briefly mentioned platform “white labeling” and how that can help you gain more control over the viewer experience. For the millennials out there, this is sort of the difference between Facebook and Myspace. White labeling means making something your own from branding and colors to the overall user experience.

When you consider that your company is also a brand with a specific aesthetic to uphold and values to emphasize, it makes sense why you might not want your video content run alongside abrasive advertisements and jarring imagery. At best this looks unprofessional. At worst, it can create unintended or even negative associations with your brand.

Key Questions:

  • If a viewer lands on my VOD platform, will they know it belongs to my company?
  • What kind of experience will keep viewers coming back to my platform?

Capture This VOD Benefit

Build a VOD platform that’s entirely within your brand aesthetic and easily associated with your organization. Create a user experience that matches this aesthetic and will guide your viewers along the desired user journey (even if that’s just to keep them coming back). Ensure that the online video player you use also matches your brand.

How a Streaming Platform Provider Can Help

Does everything detailed in the last section sound easier said than done? You’re not wrong. Building something like that from scratch would take a lot of time and some top-level developer talent. But the presence of streaming platform providers is based on the adage that you don’t need to reinvent the wheel. Find a platform provider through whom white labeling of both the platform and the player is an option. The right provider will also have experts to help you figure it out. 


4. Personalization Through Advanced Algorithms

Another way to “control” the experience is by making it more dynamic. Consider personalizing the viewer experience with algorithms that analyze viewer behavior and create recommendations, tailor ads, and more.

Many VOD platforms utilize sophisticated algorithms to analyze vast amounts of user data, enabling the delivery of highly personalized content and advertisements. This personalization is typically achieved through a combination of cookies and machine learning techniques that remember and analyze user preferences and viewing habits.

This is how services like Netflix can recommend titles to individual viewers. But while Netflix may be the most easily recognized example of this, it’s hardly the only one. Even VOD platforms in a B2B setting benefit from creating a cultivated experience. It all comes down to finding out what a viewer wants to see and putting it in front of them.

Key Questions:

  • What do I know about the preferences of people visiting my website/platform?
  • How easy is it for a viewer to find something they want?

Capture This VOD Benefit

Leverage cookies for enhanced personalization. Cookies play a crucial role in personalizing user experiences on VOD platforms. They help in storing user preferences, enhancing site functionality, and providing targeted advertisements, all of which contribute to a more personalized and engaging viewer experience. Although, while cookies are essential for personalization, user consent is paramount. VOD services must ensure transparency and give users control over their personal data, adhering to privacy regulations and secure video streaming best practices to build trust and confidence.

How a Streaming Platform Provider Can Help

Alongside your cookies, you’ll need robust analytics. The better the data you’re able to aggregate about your viewership, the more you’ll be able to optimize the platform overall and on an individual level.


5. Real-Time Reporting and Advanced Analytics

While we are on the subject of analytics, let’s explore the myriad ways a VOD service can use them to their advantage, particularly where audience growth and monetization are concerned. VOD platforms are increasingly leveraging real-time reporting and advanced analytics to make informed decisions quickly, optimizing their content strategies to better meet viewer demands.

VOD monetization models have evolved significantly, including subscription-based video on demand (SVOD), advertising-based video on demand (AVOD) and transactional video on demand (TVOD). Advanced analytics can keep you apprised of the efficacy of your chosen model and identify desirable content that could be well worth gating. In the case AVOD, it can also help you create a more personalized ad experience.

Viewership analytics do more than tell you what type of content is most popular. They can also tell you how different types of content perform on different devices, in different regions, and across different demographics. These can inform your content strategy, which in turn will increase your appeal and, by extension, your audience numbers.

Key Questions:

  • How is my audience responding to my monetization model?
  • What content do I need to be making more of?
  • How can I better appeal to a specific region?

Capture This VOD Benefit

Find out what you want to know about your audience and explore analytics tools that can help. Integrating your platform with popular frameworks and tools like TensorFlow and PyTorch enables seamless experiences for developers, making it easier for them to enhance the functionality and adaptability of your platform.

How a Streaming Platform Provider Can Help

A streaming platform provider with advanced end-to-end analytics built into their platform makes data aggregation and reporting so much easier. When selecting a streaming partner, look closely at the analytics options they provide. Make sure viewership data and player performance analytics are part of the package.


Streaming Platform Provider: How to Start

You’ll have noticed by now that we keep coming back to the idea of the streaming platform provider and how one could make your streaming efforts faster, easier, and more informative. According to this list, one such provider could:

  • Offer essential viewership data to help you revamp your content strategy for efficacy, accessibility, and inclusivity.
  • Provide content management tools to make your content more easily discoverable and create a friendlier user experience.
  • Transcode your content for adaptive bitrate streaming and streaming across a range of devices.
  • Promote quality, security, and reliability with access to a global content delivery network.
  • Deliver a highly customizable white label experience to give you more control over your VOD platform.
  • Help you monetize VOD content, including a flexible content management system (CMS), ad-insertion, and analytics.

Your next step is to compare how different streaming platform providers measure up to these criteria, what their pricing options are, and how likely they are to grow with your needs by capturing and incorporating emerging streaming technology.

Or you can take Wowza for a spin!


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About Sydney Roy (Whalen)

Sydney works for Wowza as a content writer and Marketing Communications Specialist, leveraging roughly a decade of experience in copywriting, technical writing, and content development. When observed in the wild, she can be found gaming, reading, hiking, parenting, overspending at the Renaissance Festival, and leaving coffee cups around the house.