Does Your Company Need a Custom VOD Platform?

More and more companies choose to deliver their video content on their terms by opting for a custom Video-on-Demand (VOD) player. In his latest article, Max Kalmykov discusses how it makes sense for companies to switch to a custom VOD platform.
5 min read
05/26/21
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By Max Kalmykov
Vice President, Media & Entertainment
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Does Your Company Need a Custom VOD Platform?

Over recent years, a growing number of companies are opting to build custom Video-on-Demand (VOD) platforms. The reasons for this trend vary. For some, it is about flexibility and features; for others, it is about having full control of their content or merely a matter of preference. But regardless of the reasons, it is essential to note that building a custom VOD platform requires extensive resources to complete.

What are the challenges and benefits that lead companies to make this decision? Is it a wise choice for your company? What other options are available to gain more control over your video content? These are the questions I’ll be addressing in this article.

Custom VOD Platforms: Pros, Cons, and Everything in Between

Building a custom VOD streaming platform is a resource-intensive task. The cost of development can quickly multiply with the vast hours required to complete the job. If you have the budget for it, then it is an excellent option.

A custom VOD platform is designed to your exact specifications. By including only the features that you require, companies gain the advantage of a streamlined interface. A custom design also facilitates a personalized look and feel, which can be difficult to achieve when using third-party platforms. Additionally, some companies may find that the ability to develop higher security measures is worth the additional cost that is involved. While the overall initial expense is elevated, a custom VOD leads to a decreasing cost of ownership over the long run. Moreover, retaining full control and ownership over content may be advantageous in some scenarios.

Building a custom VOD platform is an expensive undertaking, requiring the dedication of significant resources from the initial planning stage to the product’s release. A larger time investment is required when building a custom VOD platform versus using an existing third-party solution. At the same time, third-party VOD streaming platforms like YouTube and Vimeo are good choices for the majority of companies out there. These popular platforms are well-optimized for all types of devices, and most of them are free.

Third-Party VODs vs. Custom VODs

For the majority of companies, third-party VOD streaming platforms like YouTube and Vimeo are a good choice. The former, for example, offers a higher possibility that your videos will be exposed to a mass audience, as consumers are already familiar with the platform, visit it regularly, and may come to your videos via recommendations from other content they watch.

Using what is already built and established takes no time. Just create an account and start uploading. However, you may have to wait for approval in some cases before videos are publicly available on the platform.

Off-the-shelf VOD platforms require very little knowledge to get started while providing free or low-expense options. Small companies are particularly likely to see this as a clear reason to use a third-party VOD, but some medium and large organizations will also find that the ease-of-use and lack of expense make third-party solutions the right choice for their company.

Those without the resources required to create videos from scratch may benefit greatly from the availability of free video builders, such as YouTube’s offering that animates images, text, and logos to create a video using music from its library. While it is by no means better than the popular video editing tools, it provides limited capabilities to edit videos that are already uploaded.

On the other hand, third-party VOD platforms are riddled with complex regulations that may inadvertently lead to content removal and account blocking even when there are no true violations. While third-party platforms are continually attempting to reduce these types of issues, the sheer number of users and quantity of content makes it very difficult to avoid regulatory problems.

Since a third-party solution is used by other businesses, consumers may be taken to competitor content via suggested videos, which is beyond your control. Similarly, even if the content is not from a direct competitor, it may be of a type that is poorly suited to be connected in any way to your brand. Additionally, targeted advertising, paid content, and other specific monetization strategies may not be available when using a third-party VOD platform, while ads from your competitors may be shown before your videos begin.

The Golden Mean: White Label VOD Platforms

If you do not want to settle for the basic offerings of popular third-party VODs and also do not want to dedicate enormous resources to building your own, thankfully there is a middle ground. This is where white-label VOD platforms enter the picture.

DataArt recently introduced Octopus, a white-label video sharing and live streaming platform that is a great option for all types of companies looking for a more personalized approach to video distribution. It offers all the essential features that you’d expect from a standard VOD player and gives you the ability to customize its look and capabilities.

The great thing is that it combines all of the excellent features of both extremes while eliminating some of the downsides. Its flexibility allows you to add features that you need the most as you go, and the pre-packed functionality makes the deployment significantly faster. 

White-Label VOD Platform Benefits

Solutions like Octopus are ready-made, providing the base code that includes all the essential features needed for launch, so getting started is much easier and faster. White-label VOD platforms are extremely affordable, costing significantly less than building a custom VOD platform from scratch while retaining the ability to make it your own through branding and customization options.

One of those options is the ability to add plug-ins for various functions, like analytics, monetization, and much more. You can either choose to store your videos in-house, on the cloud provided by the white-label VOD vendor, or on your cloud. You can also choose to place specific content behind a paywall, making it accessible only to premium subscribers. Lastly, white-label VOD platforms like Octopus run flawlessly on any device, just like popular third-party VODs. 

The benefits derived from using a white-label VOD platform are enormous. While choosing a platform like Octopus requires extensive communication initially to ensure that the product is customized perfectly to your specifications, the superior quality and personalization capabilities are ideal for creating a successful platform for all companies at a price they can afford.

If you have any further questions or would like to arrange a free consultation, please reach out to DataArt video software experts.

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