Content publishers are increasingly relying on live streaming video as an important tool in their professional toolbox. According to Publishing Executive magazine, “video has become a standard component of the content mix for media brands.” Companies of all sorts, from traditional media to educational businesses, to entertainment and OTT publishers, stream live video as a critical part of their business efforts. And a key element in all of these efforts is an online video platform (OVP) for publishers.
In this blog post, we’ll examine how publishers are selecting OVPs to host and deliver their VOD and live streaming media. We’ll also look at seven make-or-break features that are critical for most publishers. Plus, we’ll help you in your search for an online video publishing platform that fits your needs.
How to Choose an Online Video Platform for Publishers: 7 Make-Or-Break Features
Publishers have unique needs. Unlike many other businesses using video, for publishers, your content is your business. That’s why you need the highest level of professional functionality. Below, let’s consider seven make-or-break features that are essential for an online video platform for publishers.
1. Video Monetization
Perhaps the single most important element in video publishing is monetization. That’s why it’s critical for an online video platform for publishers to include powerful monetization tools.
There are three major monetization methods for online video:
- The first is SVOD or Subscription-based Video-On-Demand. Subscriptions are most effective when paired with active new content development and an extensive library of past content. This is the model used by most OTT services like Netflix and Hulu. Overall, U.S. subscribers to OTT services more than doubled between Q2 2017 and Q2 2018, and that trend has continued in 2019.
- The second monetization method is “transactional,” or pay-per-view. This approach is ideal for high-value events, like concerts. For example, one-time events like sports are also perfect for pay-per-view monetization. Another ideal target market can be premium educational content.
- The third monetization method is advertising. Just like with broadcast TV, ads can still be effective for monetizing online video today. They work best when your audiences are large and major brands can target specific segments. We’re seeing the success of ads in the online video industry; advertising is driving major revenue for various OTT business.
Almost all publishers want to monetize their content using one (or more) of these methods. Therefore, new broadcasters should look for an online video service that offers your chosen method(s)—as well as the features we’ll highlight next.
2. Advanced Content Management System
Publishers often need to manage large libraries of content. Organizing thousands of videos can be challenging.
But with the right online video platform, tools like bulk uploading and a flexible system of tags and multi-level categories allow you to easily manage massive libraries.
Before selecting an online video platform, publishers should ensure it includes the specific secure video uploading and organizational tools you need for their large libraries.
Publishers live and die on the success of their content, which is why it’s so important to be able to critically measure and analyze your success. The good news? The days of relying on user surveys and guesswork are over.
Modern analytics tools allow you to gather detailed information on your audience and their viewing habits. With a pro online video platform for publishers, you can easily export this data with external tools for further analysis and study. And if you can access real-time analytics, you can really master your online video strategy.
By tracking content performance indicators, you can gather intelligence to help make the right decisions around funding, staff time, future trends, and more. We call these “actionable insights,” and they’re the holy grail of intelligent business decision making.
4. Chapter Markers
Publishers who put out long-form content have another feature they should look for: chapter markers. A chapter marker is simply a way to designate segments (or “chapters”) within a longer video. Within the seek bar of a video player, chapter markers show up as small dots or lines. When the user mouses over or taps on one, it shows whatever text you want.
Chapter markers are a great way for publishers to make it easy for viewers to navigate longer videos. That’s essential in the modern environment, and it will help you to maximize the value of your content.
5. Custom Branding
Another critical consideration for publishers is professionalism and branding.
Ever notice how you most businesses don’t host their website videos on YouTube? Sure, they may post some promotional material there. But important videos on business websites are not embedded in YouTube videos.
There are many reasons for this, but overall it all comes down to professionalism. YouTube is a consumer-grade platform with consumer-grade features. When you upload content to YouTube, users automatically sign away some of their rights. For example, each video player has the YouTube logo, front, and center. And YouTube is one of the most commonly blocked websites at schools and workplaces.
Given these limitations, publishers are largely moving away from free social platforms. At one event, for example, publishers discussed the problems with these platforms. “We haven’t been focusing on Facebook…in terms of video,” one said. As far as YouTube, another publisher related that “you can’t build a business on YouTube, either […] The margins and the $2 CPMs are not going to cut it.”
An online video platform for publishers reverses these problems. You retain all content rights. Your material will never be blocked. And, critically, you’ll be able to customize your video appearance so that your corporate branding is featured.
6. High-Performance CDN
Video quality is an essential benchmark for publishers. Global delivery presents a number of challenges. That said, how can you ensure the best possible video quality?
One way is to build your own global server networks. But the expense makes that impossible for almost everyone. In that case, the solution is to use an online video platform for publishers that works with a quality live streaming CDN.
The term CDN stands for Content Delivery Network. A CDN consists of that global server network I just mentioned, plus sophisticated load-balancing switches and software. A global CDN routes users to their nearest server, reducing data time-in-transit and delivering the best possible experience. This allows you to scale video delivery to a massive audience automatically and ensure the best possible quality as well.
7. Content Security
In the U.S. alone, piracy costs $29.2 billion annually. That number is rising each year. This is a major concern for publishers whose video is their livelihood. And it’s why content security is such a critical feature in an online video platform for publishers.
Of course, there are a wide variety of content security precautions available. Two important examples of content security are the IP address and domain restrictions. These settings ensure that only users in “whitelisted” countries and website domains can watch your content. These are simple settings that allow publishers the flexibility for collaboration while cutting back on illegal streaming problems.
Publishers often need all of the features described above. However, not all online video platforms can meet their needs. Some platforms don’t have the features we’ve discussed here at all. Others limit many of these features to extremely expensive plans, suitable only for the biggest enterprises.
If you’re looking for an online video platform for publishers, you’ve come to the right place. Dacast provides all the features covered in this article—and much more! Plus, our streaming solutions are both affordable and easy-to-use. See for yourself with our 30-day free trial, no credit card required.
Thanks for reading, and be in touch with Dacast if you need help taking your video publishing efforts to the next level. For regular live streaming tips and exclusive offers, you can also join the Dacast LinkedIn group.