Streaming on-demand has evolved over the past few years. In fact, every area of home entertainment spending has declined except for online video. For example, advertising on OTT content distributed via smart TVs alone is expected to hit $20.1 billion this year.
Many businesses are finding value in creating video on demand (VOD) platforms for their businesses. Some offer the platform as a service, and others use it as an internal tool.
The technology that has made this kind of broadcasting possible is over-the-top streaming.
Today, we’re going to talk about how you can use a professional video hosting solution to create a video on demand platform and bring content to your audience over-the-top.
Table of Contents
- What is a Video on Demand (VOD) Streaming Platform?
- What is Over-the-Top (OTT) Technology?
- Types of VOD Platforms that Use OTT
- 8 Steps to Building a VOD Platform with OTT Delivery
What is a Video On Demand (VOD) Streaming Platform?
A video on demand streaming platform is exactly what it sounds like: it is a platform where users can access video content when they want it.
Some of the earliest VOD platforms were made available by television service providers. Viewers could scroll through the channels on the television and call in to request access to a program of their choice.
Today, VOD content is much more easily accessible. What makes the content on these platforms so easy to access and navigate is over-the-top technology.
What is Over-the-Top (OTT) Technology?
Over-the-top streaming is the method of content delivery that uses internet connection as opposed to traditional broadcasting methods, such as cable or satellite.
This means that your audience can access your video content anywhere with an internet connection. When you use the right type of video player, you can create a platform that is accessible on practically all smart TVs, desktop computers, laptops, tablets, and mobile devices.
The universal nature of OTT streaming makes it exponentially more powerful than traditional broadcasting methods where viewers are tied to their TVs to access the content.
With trends moving towards online streaming, any business investing in content marketing is wise to take advantage of OTT features.
Types of VOD Platforms that Use OTT
Some of the most well known VOD platforms that use OTT delivery are Netflix, Hulu, and Prime Video. These are all platforms that have collections of video available on-demand in pay-per-view and subscription-based models.
While the content of these three popular platforms is used primarily for entertainment in the form of television series and movies, there are other types of VOD platforms that use OTT.
Some types of VOD platforms that are growing in popularity involve sports streaming, fitness and exercise training, and online education content.
Some businesses use platforms of this nature to create and share internal content for training purposes. Many other businesses monetize this type of platform with ads, subscriptions, or pay-per-view structures.
There is really no limit on the type of video content you can make available on demand. When you own your platform, you have control over what you publish.
8 Steps to Building a VOD Platform with OTT Delivery
Once you’ve established what sort of content you’d like to create and what purpose it will serve for your business, it is time to take action and build that VOD platform.
We’ve broken this process down into eight straightforward steps.
1. Choose a Professional OVP
The first and most important step in the process of building your own over-the-top VOD platform is to choose a professional hosting solution.
A professional OVP—short for “online video platform”—provides video hosting and live streaming services. It is geared towards professional broadcasters and organizations that want total control over the content that they upload or stream.
There is a wide range of professional OVP platforms on the market. Choosing the right one for your streaming goals is important as it will influence every other step in the process.
If you are not quite sure what features to look for in a professional OVP, do not fret. The next seven steps will paint the complete picture and give you a better idea of what to look out for.
Looking for the best OVP for VOD? Check out our comparison of the top 5 VOD hosting platforms.
2. Transcode and Organize Content with a Video CMS
Once you upload your content, it’s time to prepare your video files for OTT distribution. Two important steps are recommended: transcoding and organizing your content.
Transcoding creates multiple renditions of the same video file in different sizes. This prepares the content for multi-bitrate streaming.
When users playback your video content using an adaptive video player, the player will auto-detect their internet speed and deliver them the best video quality for their situation. This process is essential to deliver the best possible QoE (Quality of Experience) to viewers.
Since you’ll likely have a large library of content, organizing your video into a rational system is also essential for building a VOD platform.
You can achieve this with a powerful video content management system (CMS). You want to invest in a hosting platform that either has a powerful CMS built-in or integrates with one.
Some features of a well-rounded video CMS include the ability to organize categories, add tags, and create playlists since these help you easily organize your content. You’ll also want to look for video API so that you can customize your CMS if it is lacking.
3. Use an API to Customize Your Broadcasting Experience
An application programming interface (API) is used to integrate your workflow with your OVP. An API essentially allows you to custom-code solutions to your video workflow.
As we briefly mentioned, a video API helps you integrate video uploading and management into existing digital tools. Likewise, you can streamline the publishing and management process.
Player API also comes in handy for customizing your video player. This allows you to take control of aspects of your video player, including appearance, monetization, and more.
For OTT platforms that will deliver hundreds or thousands of videos, API tools are essential.
4. Tap Into Professional Services for Custom Development Assistance
API is a useful tool, but this and other technical features included in a professional OVP become even more useful when you have a professional developer on your side.
We recommend using professional services to develop and integrate your streaming service. Professional services assist with tasks such as API integration, mobile app development, custom website, and video portal creation, and more.
Of course, you can do all of this in-house as well, but outsourcing some of your VOD platform development can be more cost-effective and time-efficient in some situations.
5. Access 24/7 Technical Support to Solve Streaming Issues
Businesses can’t falter when technical issues arise. That’s why access to 24/7 in-house technical support is so important.
Surprisingly, this feature is a rarity, even among professional OVPs. Look for 24/7 support when assessing OVPs, and have a plan to access that support quickly if issues do arise.
Be sure to ask if their support is outsourced or not. In-house support is preferred because that gives you a better chance of getting on the line with a knowledgeable representative every time.
6. Enable Security Features and Monetize
Now that you’ve completed a basic setup and task integration, it’s time to fine-tune your content and prepare it for release. Two important parts of this step are enabling security features and setting up video monetization.
There are various OTT video security features available depending on which OVP you use. Among these are domain restrictions, which set limits on which websites someone can embed your video.
Another example is AES encryption, which uses cryptography to secure your videos against interception and hacking. For a full list of security features that you might want to use, check out our guide to securing online video.
When it comes to monetization, there are three main methods for monetizing online video today: advertising, subscriptions, and pay-per-view.
The monetization method you should choose ultimately depends on your audience and the type of content you have to offer.
7. Share Your Video via White-Label Video Player
Once you have uploaded, organized, and secured your content, it’s time to distribute it. At this stage, you want to embed your video content on your social platforms, apps, and websites.
Embedding videos on your website is easy—as simple as copy and paste. However, for a large bank of on-demand video content, this step could be a bit more complicated. It may involve using a video platform API to create a custom mobile app or an automatically generated set of playlists on a video portal website.
8. Analyze the Results of Your VOD Platform
The final step is assessing the success of your VOD content by examining the analytics.
Many OVPs include an analytics tool that allows you to track your viewers and gather details about them.
This includes what they watch, how long they watch, what devices they use, where they are located, etc. The data you gather in this stage can help you expand and improve your efforts in the future based on the audience that you are reaching.
By now, you should be familiar with the process of building a VOD streaming platform. Since OTT video is growing fast, you can use this technology to streamline internal onboarding processes or monetize your content.
We urge you to consider Dacast for your video hosting needs. We offer all the features mentioned in this article and much more. We urge you to explore our advanced VOD hosting pricing options.
If you’re still on the fence about which way to go with a professional online video platform, you should consider Dacast. We offer all the features discussed in this article, and much more—all at the best prices in the industry. If you’re interested, please contact our support team to discuss your specific needs. We’re here to help and can walk you through any technical questions you may have.
We also offer a 30-day free trial of Dacast, with no credit card required. It’s a risk-free way to test out our platform today. If you’re ready to test our platform yourself, just click the button below:
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