80% of internet traffic will consist of videos in 2020. The OTT (over-the-top) will account for nearly 30% of the video market in 2022 according to Digital TV Research. The rise of this market is replacing the physical market (DVD), so it’s becoming urgent now for producers, distributors, video editors or broadcasters to prepare for it by positioning themselves on digital contents offers. And preferably, by launching their own SVOD or VOD platforms. Why? Because it offers several advantages:

  • A better remuneration: launching your own platform means exempting yourself from an intermediary and therefore the possibility of drastically increasing your remuneration. If we remove commissions taken by traditional operators or GAFA’s, this redistributes significant wealth to creators. Independence and disintermediation can really make a difference!
  • Discover your audience: when you distribute your content via YouTube, Netflix and others, you give them the information about who your audience really is (that belongs to you because it’s your content). Knowing your audience allows you to better understand who is watching your content, and therefore refine your editorial line to offer the most appropriate programmes.
  • Become independent: no longer depend solely on major historical platforms or broadcasters, as you will be at the mercy of their changing policies or commercial conditions. If you haven’t followed it, Youtube and Facebook have changed their algorithms and monetization rules. Like that, in a click, juste for them. Take control and become the unique captain of your boat.

Now that we understand the importance of creating a VOD platform, the most important question is: “How to build a video platform?”. We have written you a short guide in 7 key steps to launch your own VOD site in a few clicks: 

  • Choose an editorial line
  • Check on your contents rights
  • Ensure a technical and robust infrastructure
  • Define business model & monetization
  • Setting a price
  • Prepare your communication
  • Use data to grow up

1 – Choose an editorial line

This choice will define all your subsequent strategy. The fundamental question: to propose a site of niche contents or for the mass (mainstream)?

By choosing niches you choose to stand out from the crowd. Of course, you are aiming for a perhaps smaller (and even smaller) audience, but that often represents a stronger community. What is a niche content platform? Let’s take a few examples to better understand the concept: Qwest.tv has just launched and intends to become the “Netflix of Jazz”. Ambitious bet but federator around the project. Alone in its segment, Qwest TV is targeting the world community of jazz fans, with extremely positive feedback since its launch at the end of 2017. This kind of projects are more likely to emerge because they are different, unique and target specific people who are passionate about a specific topic, often more involved in a project, and therefore likely to be brands ambassadors.

The mass market, though larger, remains risky. This often requires significant investments, before being profitable, and it implies confronting the mastodonts already in place: Netflix, Itunes, Amazon Prime Video etc…… And therefore probably significant investments in communication/marketing/development.

2- Check on your contents rights

Needless to remind you that it is forbidden to broadcast content for which you do not have the rights, so check with distributors that you are authorized to distribute them. For example, if you are going to air films or television programs, you must ensure that you have license for that. If you acquire contents from third-party providers, make sure that ownership and use rights are covered by a contract.

Of course, if you’re planning to distribute contents which doesn’t belong to you, make sure there are not available elsewhere for free, for example. Exclusivity is not mandatory but it can add value to your VOD platform.

3- Ensure a technical and robust infrastructure

Without going into details, several technical points are essential to launch your own VOD platform:

  • the Content Management System (CMS): it’s the solution that allows you to upload your contents and manage them: add synopsis, keywords (for SEO and the search bar), manage rights periods, associated images etc … It is also the system that allows you to manage the editorialization of your videos (highlights, playlists etc…)
  • Content Delivery Network: This is a network of servers around the world that allow you to stream your video content with better performance and maximum security. With a good quality CDN, no matter where your viewers are located, they will be able to stream your contents with an optimal user experience.
  • Video Player: it will allow your users to choose the language versions (subtitles, sound tracks), but also to propose the optimal video versions depending on your users connection (adaptive streaming). Having a good Video Player is about providing the best environment for your customers to watch content.
  • The payment system: accepting payments is not that easy. You have to accept payments from all bank cards, in different currencies, but also to set up recurrent fees system (for SVOD), manage refunds from your customers and of course : having a clear view of all transactions for your accounting. Not to mention the security that is essential when you ask customers to enter their bank details on your platform.
  • Maintenance and updates: once your platform is online, you need to ensure that it is constantly updated according to the latest browsers, and accessible at any time and on any device. You must also make sure that a support team will be here in the event of problems.

4- Define business model & monetization

SVOD, TVOD, AVOD … Do you know all these acronyms? These are the different ways of monetizing your content. A little reminder of the definitions:

SVOD: Subscription video on Demand is one of the most popular systems in VOD, it consists of a subscription (monthly, annual, etc.) for access to an unlimited streaming offer

TVOD: Transactional Video on Demand is simply the name for the purchase of video-on-demand. This can be content available in replay, on demand or live (pay-per-view)

AVOD: Advertising Video on Demand is simply the free distribution of monetized content through advertising.

Trends in the VOD market over the past few years are moving towards a subscription model (SVOD). But there are several criteria to consider:

  • Depth of your catalog: if you have a large catalog and you can update new content regularly, the SVOD can be very interesting because it guarantees recurring income
  • Catalog renewal: if you are on a logic of mass content creation (for example, in VLOG mode) you can offer free contents (with a little advertising). Conversely, for the platforms offering non-regular but high value-added contents, some prefer to pay one time.

Note that the “mixed” models are sometimes the most efficient: offering free content (AVOD) to convert users to paid models (freemium model).

5- Setting a price

The price is a real strategy ! Your positioning will have two impacts: economic and marketing. By positioning yourself below the market price, you are cutting back on your margins, but you will be able to have more customers. On the other hand, having a low price can sometimes shows an image of poor quality content (low cost). On the other hand, if your prices are higher than those of the market, you will give an impression of high added value, but with the risk of discouraging some customers.

As often, it’s all about dosage, and a market research to compare the price of your competitors will be crucial.

6- Prepare your communication

At this point, you are ready to launch your VOD platform. The goal here is to make it POPULAR (at least to your targeted audience). Creating and unifying a community is not something obvious. You need to start a story, giving it sense and get your audience involved. A good solution is to go through a crowdfunding campaign, because apart from finding your first funding to launch the platform, it allows you to start a community and gather your first audience.

The rest of the communication will rely on many levers: social networks, partnerships & influencers, press relations, word of mouth, advertising … You can find many details on this blog and in our marketing guide to promote video contents.

7- Use data to grow up

“Data” is essential if you want to promote your content and develop revenue from your VOD platform, because it gives you key insights about your potential audience: who are these people, how do they watch video, etc.?

By combining a certain amount of information (the device used, the time, the geographical location, the weather, the length of consumption, the type of content watched etc…) big data makes it possible to establish a precise portrait of your audience and gives you the keys to better reach it: when, where and how to talk to them!

Then, it allows you to better retain and engage your customers: indeed if you know what they like, consume, what time etc … then you can offer them the most personalized experience and the most effective possible. And so you will mechanically increase the overall experience around your content.

Data is useless if you don’t use it. Collecting a lot of data is one thing, but it must be used wisely. Some companies, such as FlameFy, our sister company, have developed automated tools that allow us to do this:

Acquiring new customers: this technology makes it possible to find on social networks people interested in a subject and automatically engage them with a video content (at the best time). In few words, we help to develop an audience in a completely automated way.

Loyalty: Finding interested people and then having them watch this content is obviously important, but if they never come back you will never build a stable audience. Knowing your audience can help you find relays to bring them back, by providing very appropriate content, at the right time. Knowing how to identify churn is an important issue. If this can be detected automatically by a machine, with the automatic sending of an email or a notification to re-engage them, it can be extremely efficient!

If building a VOD platform can be an important project, the good news is that OKAST offers you a turnkey tool to launch your platform in a few clicks! We manage all the “technical” aspects: infrastructure, payment systems, updates, maintenance… And we let you pilot the rest with great ease: editorialization, catalog, pricing strategy etc…

And as for promotion and data: we are the only ones to offer audience management tools based on big data and artificial intelligence to grow your audience and build loyalty!

Ready to launch your VOD platform or your streaming site? Create a free account today!

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