Video-on-demand software (VOD) has long become an indispensable part of our lives. Gone are those days when the whole family was waiting in front of a TV set for a popular program to broadcast. Countless VHSs and DVDs at home are a sign of the past as well. You simply don’t need to buy a physical copy of each movie you like anymore. Unless you are a collector. With plenty of videos available online, you can pick almost any film or program, watch it whenever you have time, and decide whether you want a DVD or a Blu-ray disc.
The COVID-19 pandemic has sped up the adoption of this technology. People forced to observe quarantine couldn’t go to the cinema because of restrictions. They spend more time watching TV or movies at home. The popularity of VOD services skyrocketed. Nowadays, numerous users have subscriptions on Netflix, Amazon Prime, Disney+, or other platforms. By 2027, there will be about 1,924.4 million VOD consumers worldwide (24.2%).
What is a VOD platform?
You may encounter videos on demand almost anywhere. As technologies keep on evolving, we consume them even more. Short video posts from your Facebook newsfeed, reels on Instagram, or films you select during a long-haul flight function on the same principle. You just select an interesting item, click on it – and it starts to play. There are some definitions of video-on-demand solutions. Their essence is similar: this term is related to the type of entertainment software for streaming prerecorded videos.
VOD software offers you seamless access to video content of any genre. Mostly, the term covers movies, performances, concerts, and other types of entertainment content. However, certain TV providers give access to some of their TV programs on the VOD basis. If you are late for your favorite show, check out if it’s still available.
VOD platforms have enormous libraries constantly updated with recent blockbusters, popular series, or timeless classics.
Advantages and disadvantages of video on demand
Benefits of video-on-demand software
- A wellspring of exciting movies and shows
You enter a fascinating world of films and TV shows. A lifetime isn’t enough to watch all this, and new items constantly appear in the catalog. It’s like a gigantic labyrinth where you can get lost. But this wandering isn’t scary at all: you’ll find yourself amazed at such a variety of exciting content. This striking abundance is the chief advantage of video-on-demand apps.
With VOD platforms, you don’t need to build an immense collection of discs. No more searching through the city for a specific DVD, no more shelves cluttered up with unnecessary discs. New movies or legendary series are at the distance of a mouse click. Of course, viewing videos at home hardly substitutes a full-scale cinema experience with a gigantic screen and breathtaking sound. But you get convenience and diversity instead. You may watch several movies in one evening. And that with no annoying neighbors loudly discussing their private issues and chewing popcorn.
- Schedule-free experience
Or, rather, you can create your own schedule if you wish. You don’t need to rush home after work to be on time for a show as they are available 24/7. You can plunge into a movie whenever you like, on any device. Furthermore, you can stop a film on a computer and resume watching it on your TV. You can even watch it on your mobile phone if the size of the screen is not an issue. Isn’t it a fantastic advantage of video on demand?
You are free to pick a place to enjoy them, too. A comfortable couch in your room, a balcony, or a kitchen – the choice is all yours. You can even do it by the campfire (make sure there is Internet coverage, though).
- Instant content consumption
No need to wait until a video file downloads fully to watch it on a VOD platform. It starts to play once you click the “Play” button. There may be lugs due to a slow Internet connection or poor computing capacities.
- Lower cost
People who used to buy VHSs and DVDs remember how much money they spent on their collections. Tickets to movie theaters are not cheap, either. You get tons of movies at once at a reasonable price.
- Better targeting
This benefit of video on demand concerns business owners. If you are a VOD platform provider, you can enhance your marketing strategy by analyzing users’ preferences and watching habits. You not only build a custom video-on-demand platform but also offer each user personalized content. If you make a right guess with a film hint, the chance they consume more movies is even more.
So, with video on demand, consumers get freedom and a seamless watching experience. In turn, entrepreneurs can attract vast audiences of happy clients.
And what about the disadvantages?
- Internet is compulsory
VOD platforms run online. However, you can easily deal with this disadvantage. Most providers allow their subscribers to download movies for later consumption. So, if you are planning to enjoy a movie in the middle of nowhere, just download it in advance. Thus, you will be able to watch it even in the rainforest. We wouldn’t advise you to do so, though. You’d better save your battery for calls.
- Bandwidth issues
Users who have state-of-the-art 4K or 8K TVs and a perfect connection speed will hardly notice anything wrong. Those who have older devices may encounter buffering or pixelation. If there is poor Internet coverage, your watching experience will be extremely annoying. Imagine a protagonist is about to make an important confession, save the world at a push of a button, or kiss a heroine – and suddenly the video freezes. Even a phlegmatic person can lose their temper when faced with endless buffering. If you don’t have a connection at all, well, forget about a cozy film evening.
- Be ready to pay for most movies
This fabulous journey into the depths of the cinema industry isn’t free. But can we consider it a real disadvantage in the world where people buy most services?
Some platforms offer free videos with ads. The quality is basic, but it’s still a pleasant option to have. But it’s not the case with the newest films and series. You can’t watch them until they have collected their box office.
An efficient VOD solution: primary functionality
You can analyze the major advantages and disadvantages of video on demand on the example of leading businesses in this niche. If you wish to build such an app, make sure you provide:
- A powerful library
Your platform may have all the bells and whistles possible but stay completely inefficient if it has a poor library. So, the first thing to think about is building a rich film collection.
You can develop an all-purpose solution or opt for a specific profile. Many platforms have such popular movies as Avatar, The Batman, or Elvis on demand. Fewer will offer extensive collections of independent films. Cannes Film Festival regulars would gladly spend an evening or two watching certain films at home. Versatility is a key to success and stable income. But if you build a name as a provider of specific content, you’ll attract grateful users who’d recommend your product to their friends.
You can earn on various subscriptions. Develop a clear pricing strategy that will be beneficial for both your company and clients. The more choices they have, the higher chances they choose one that suits them best.
- TV, web, and mobile versions
All leading VOD solutions are available as TV, desktop, and mobile versions. If you want to stay successful, make sure your platform is available on any device that has a screen. You never know where people might want to watch a movie. If you travel back to the 90s and tell someone who’s just missed their favorite show “Let’s watch it on my phone”, you might be probably taken for an alien. But times don’t stand still. More and more people are ready to watch films even on their phones. It’s hard to imagine a person seriously consuming video content on a smartwatch, though. But anything is possible.
- Multilingual support
Few companies operate in individual markets. Such giants as Netflix strive to expand their presence in different countries. And for that, they need to address people who speak different languages. Make the interface of your app available in several languages – and you’ll see a larger influx of customers. They’ll definitely regard this feature as a serious benefit of your video on demand software.
Provide as many movies as possible with audio tracks and subtitles in different languages. Some people prefer to watch movies in the original, either for the pleasure of genuine content or for educational purposes. Others can consume videos in their mother tongue only. You cannot cover all the languages of the world, but you can offer high-quality services in the most widespread ones.
- Additional information
You can provide each video with comprehensive information. It’s not only about the director, the cast, or the year of production. You may add articles on popular movies or actors, provide high-quality screenshots or photos, and make rankings of all-time favorites. A forum where users will share their impressions or ask for advice will be a valuable feature for those willing to interact with like-minded people. Thus, end users will regard your platform not only as a video-on-demand solution but as an exciting portal with industry-specific information. Take IMDb as a paragon to implement such functionality.
Now, you know what a VOD platform is and can weigh the advantages and disadvantages of video on demand. If you find such a solution promising, here is how you can profit from it.
Key monetization models
This term stands for subscription video on demand. Like other software, these solutions can also be available on a subscription basis. A library is available for those who pay a regular fee.
To attract more users, businesses offer more favorable terms for annual subscriptions. These are also more convenient for users: pay monthly or once a year – and enjoy limitless access. On some platforms, you can even get massive discounts on Black Friday, Cyber Monday, or other holidays.
And there is one tremendous benefit of video on demand of this type. With SVOD, you can watch videos ad-free. Some people pay to get a seamless experience only. It’s just you and the movie you’ve chosen. And if you wish to make a cup of coffee in the middle of a film, you needn’t wait for ads like in the good old TV times.
SVOD is extremely popular worldwide. Such services as Netflix, Disney+, HBO Max, and Amazon Prime successfully prove this. These are among the best VOD platforms. Statista says this is the largest VOD segment in 2023, with a market volume of $95.86 billion.
This means transactional video on demand. It’s convenient for those who want to watch a specific movie without unlocking the full capacities of a platform. Say, you want to watch the latest series with your favorite actor but don’t want to pay for plenty of other movies you’d never pay attention to. TVOD is your lucky choice in this case.
For businesses, TVOD gives a chance to earn more on separate items. If you divide a monthly subscription share into the number of videos watched, the sum for a movie will be insignificant. When charging a fee for a separate movie, you can demand a higher price.
However, you won’t earn much allowing for this business model only. Make sure SVOD and TVOD go hand in hand together on your platform. Thus, you’ll attract both film addicts and random users.
Keep this option for irregular users watching videos once in a blue moon. There are also people who would rather watch a movie with ads breaking into it 10 times within half an hour than pay a subscription. Poorer quality won’t stop them either. They strive to economize on everything but luckily don’t go in for piracy. So, consider all users making your platform run.
Old-timers nostalgic for the long-gone analog days might even appreciate this TV-like approach, with loud commercials in the middle of a movie.
Don’t be afraid to be left without money. You’ll charge fees to companies advertising their products on your platform. May the success of YouTube prove the efficiency of this model. Plenty of viewers watch it free of charge, and it is still enjoying immense popularity.
With the knowledge of what a VOD platform is and all the above benefits of video on demand in mind, you may build a robust solution. Adopt the most efficient features of the best VOD platforms to ensure seamless operation and market success. Don’t be shy about imitating what has already proven successful.
It is obvious that VOD apps will keep on improving. By bringing unique ideas, you will earn yourself a name and start competing with leading businesses. A trustworthy IT provider specializing in video on demand platforms will help you create such an app.