The meteoric rise of video-on-demand (VoD) is driven by the emergence of industry heavyweights like Hulu and Amazon Prime Video. Yet these fierce competitors tend to offer a broadly similar business model, with subscription-based access to unlimited audiovisual content. Like an all-you-can-eat buffet, their temptingly low prices generate a healthy profit since few of us ever consume as much as we’d like.
Despite increasing market maturity, there is still scope for new entrants to succeed in the global VoD market.
Key steps towards building your own successful service:
#1. Study competitors. Why has YouTube become the world’s largest streaming platform? What does VoD market leader, Netflix, offer that its rivals don’t? Unique elements are great, but lessons can always be learned from competitors.
#2. Choose a finance model. The main options are ad-funded content, subscription services or a hybrid of the two. New or desirable content may command a premium if other costs are kept low, while free trials give people a taste of what’s available.
#3. Assemble original content with mainstream appeal. Some of this can be shared with other platforms, but there needs to be sufficient exclusivity to draw in new audiences. This is the ‘hero content’ that singlehandedly persuades people to pay up and join.
#4. Compile a simple yet stylish EPG. Search functionality is crucial, and large screen grabs of star characters or dynamic scenes are important for attracting new audiences. Enable a simple thumbs-up or thumbs-down rating system, and flag new content.
#5. Enable adaptive bitrates. Web hosting services should split streamed content into tiny chunks of information, each encoded at several bitrates. Recipient devices request the highest resolution their internet connection can support at any given moment.
#6. Choose a universally compatible codec. Codecs are the file types associated with video content, with market leaders including XviD and DivX. These are both MPEG-4 based compression formats, and DivX will display on almost any device.
#7. Use scalable server architecture. If you don’t have powerful servers pre-installed on every continent, we do! 100TB’s web hosting services are global yet local, ensuring instant connectivity plus scalability as data volumes increase over time.
#8. Establish minimum system requirements. Don’t include machines that aren’t really powerful enough, or recommend unsuitably low internet speeds. Customers get frustrated if their devices meet the minimum specifications but perform unreliably.
#9. Use algorithms to curate content. Ask new subscribers to pick out a few key interests, and build an algorithmic database of content that highlights material they might like. This is crucial for maintaining audience levels and maximizing file views early on.
#10. Engage auto playing content for subsequent episodes. As a consumer, it’s tempting to let the next episode play if it’s already buffered. As a provider, this extra engagement is vital to boost market share and prove demand to content suppliers.
#11. Test the system thoroughly before launch. VoD is an established concept now, and consumers won’t forgive unreliable web hosting services or high latency. Test menus, latency and picture quality prior to launch on tablets, TVs, smartphones and laptops.
#12. Ensure content security. VoD streams may not be hugely sensitive, but customer financial data is. Encrypt streams to prevent piracy, and make sure marketing materials stress the security of information customers provide when signing up.
#13. Ensure content is always available. VoD services are the antithesis of 20th century program scheduling. Powerful web hosting services are needed to ensure data is available at any time of day or night, anywhere in the world.