Written by: Roshan Dwivedi
It’s amazing how technology has come a long way from the early days of exchanging messages to where we now do “Live Video” instantly and easily within a matter of seconds! You can share just anything and everything to a worldwide audience in an instant, without needing to understand how the streaming technology works.
Content owners’ perspectives have also changed long way from hosting your videos on platforms like YouTube to now building, managing and launching your own OTT Platforms!
Read our recent blog on Why YouTube is harming your Video Streaming Business!!
With the migration of audiences to digital world, VOD platforms are getting popular and everyone seems to be joining the race of launching their own Video Streaming Platforms offering Live and on-demand streaming to their audience.
Muvi understands how difficult it can be to choose the right video streaming partner that can match up to all your business requirements and provide hassle free services, so that you can focus more on your core business and less on the technical headaches.
We know, it’s not easy to choose a partner and the components that go into a video streaming platform; however, with this checklist of 10 things that you can look for while building your video streaming platform, we are sure your task of choosing and driving a technology partner will become ten times easier:
1. IT Infrastructure
One of the most important things you should look for is the type of IT infrastructure your streaming solution provider offers. Whether they provide a dedicated hosting server or they offer a cloud solution? First and foremost requirement of a video streaming solution is to have a reliable IT infrastructure to host your videos and provide virtually 0% downtime. Choosing what configuration type to go for mainly depends on your platform’s functionality, speed to market, concurrent viewers, overall video demand, customization needs and the cost of ownership that you’re willing to pay.
There can be many forms of configurations that your platform provider can choose to offer, commonly: Cloud, On-Premise and a Hybrid of these two are prominent.
Microsoft Azure, IBM Softlayer and Amazon Web Services are some services to name. An On-Premise solution provides you full control of your IT infrastructure, but it comes with an added cost of recurring capital expenditures on hardware and maintenance. Whereas, Cloud deployments provide great deal of elasticity and auto-scalability that comes at a lesser cost. It’s always better to know what you need in terms of functionality first and then go searching for a partner that can match up to your requirements the best.
2. What Streaming Models do they support
Whether you choose to create a subscription-based platform like Netflix, or just live stream your music or sports videos or you want to introduce physical products alongside streaming videos or just want a mix of any of these models, it is essential that the solution provider you choose supports all major streaming models. There are various streaming models available in the video streaming space, and you must choose a model that best suits the type of content you have and your business monetization needs. You may not require support for many or all of these models today, but ensuring you have the ability to scale-up your business in future when needed is a must, in an ever changing streaming scenario.
Muvi Kart – Sell while you Stream
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3. Content Delivery Network (CDN)
A content delivery network is the distributed server that delivers content to your users much faster depending upon their geographical location, origin of the content and the content delivery server. Having a CDN is an essential requirement for your video streaming platform, as you definitely don’t want your viewers to suffer on the streaming speed that keep buffering all the time. Before you choose a partner make sure you’ve already enquired on what CDN they can support, does it have nodes closer to your target audience? What are the bandwidth rates? Does the CDN support Video Streaming, RTMP feeds, etc?.
There are CDN services that only support progressive downloads and not streaming and there are some that support only on-demand not live streaming. Thus, clearly mentioning your business requirements, current as well as future, to the platform provider and discussing the suitability of their CDN with that of your business requirements must be an essential step in choosing the right video streaming partner. Amazon Cloudfront CDN, CloudFlare, Akamai and Limelight are some examples of a CDN service.
Read: Choosing The Right CDN For Your Business
4. DRM (Digital Rights Management)
When you have a large media library and original pieces of video content to stream, you for sure don’t want any of your content to be easily available to pirates on a ready platter when you put them online. It is essential that you check if your video streaming partner has powerful measures to satisfy your platform’s security needs and is capable of keeping your videos safe from piracy or misuse. DRM is a technology that safeguards your streaming videos and restricts any copyright breaches and thus, it is essential for every video streaming platform to have a DRM as well as many other security measures to ensure safety and security of your video content platform. Google Widevine, PlayReady and ExpressPlay are some common DRM solutions available.
Read: Choosing The Right DRM Solution For Your Video
5. Does the Platform Provide Analytics
Having a library of online videos, distributed to a variety of audience, across the globe, all using different devices and internet connections and speed types to view your content, definitely requires tracking and checking-in to analyse the performance of your platform in order to make it run better and monetize better. After all staying ahead in the competition is the key to success especially in the world of broadcasting. Choosing a video streaming solution that offers insights for your business to scale up using right tools and techniques is essential. There are plenty of analytics available for you to keep a track on your video streaming business. Omniture and Google Analytics are two common analytics tools available in the market today. Make sure you discuss your business needs with the solution provider beforehand and ensure they have sufficient tools for you to play with.
Read: Video Analytics : Key To A Successful Video Marketing Strategy
6. What Payment Gateways are Supported
Your audience may come from different countries, different continents or may want to deal with their own way of making payments. You would definitely not want to miss out on any customer just because you are not compatible with the way they want to make payments. While launching your video streaming platform, make sure you check for all payment modes your audience is comfortable paying with and pick a solution that supports it.
Also ensure that the payment gateway supports multiple currencies and most importantly, stores credit card details safe and secure. Check if its PCI DSS Compliant and provides support for your revenue models such as Subscription where automatic charging credit / debit card is required at a set date each month.
You should also check if the Payment Gateway you’re choosing allows splitting payments between you and your content provider at source (in case of revenue share with content providers), provides support for Operator Billing, Offline Cards, Loyalty and Gift Cards, Internet Banking, Apple / Android / Samsung Pay, etc. It is likely that one payment gateway may not be able to support all of these features and thus, you may want to integrate with multiple payment gateways to be able to gain all these advantages and thus, it is essential that your video streaming partner supports integrating with multiple payment gateways. PayPal, Stripe, Paygate, Authorize.net, First Data are some common payment gateways people across the globe use.
7. Multi-Currency, Multi-Lingual Support
Even if you launch your video platform in a localized territory, you should always be supporting multilingual and multicurrency options to be able to scale up in the future, and this is certainly one of the most common requirements of a video streaming business today. As a platform owner you may want to localize your offerings in a specific region or may just want to speak to your audience in their own language. Allowing your customers the flexibility to make payments in their own currency is another good business practice, and thus, choosing a platform solution that offers multilingual and multi-currency support is another step ahead in choosing a right partner.
8. Online Video Player
Another essential of an online video streaming solution provider is to have a solid online video player, which is loaded with features and customization options to be able to reflect each platform’s separate brand identity. The video player technology now a days by default is HTML5, thus making it cross browser and cross device compatible. An ideal video player integrates seamlessly with your brand design & logo, allows subtitles, dual audios, annotations and lot of other customization options to make it work well with your brand.
The platform must also be offering Video Ads integration. Some advance players also offer in-player purchases, thus allowing viewers to be able to monetize immediately without leaving the video! Security is another high aspect of a online video player and it should ensure that it’s compatible with DRMs, offers high security to content and has some additional features such as Watermarking that can discourage pirates from doing screen capture and camera recording of your videos.
9. Monetization Models Supported
A perfect mix of monetization strategy makes the base of your video streaming business. You can never compromise on the monetization model you’d want to choose for your streaming platform. Always check if the streaming solution you’re choosing supports popular monetization models such as subscription model (SVOD), advertisements (AVOD), pay-per-view (PPV / TVOD) or a mix of these for you to be able to monetize the way you want. Also, check if your platform provider offers additional features such as the ability to integrate coupon engines, pre-pay options and different payment gateways to back your monetization strategy.
Read: Video-on-demand Revenue Models: What’s best for your business?
10. What all Devices are Supported
When you’re launching a video streaming platform, you would ideally want to stream it across all devices possible. Your viewers are all scattered among web, mobile and TV, and you would definitely not want to miss on them anywhere. Many video streaming solution providers support web, mobile and TV but there are many other devices such as TV & media boxes that are getting popular with everyday launches. It is essential you keep pace with all these new launches and check your platform’s compatibility with popular available devices.
Apple TV box, Roku, Amazon Fire TV, Chromecast are some common devices you need to consider while launching your video streaming platform. Check on the scalability of your video streaming partner on these OTT devices so that you are always ahead on reaching out to your audience through every means possible.
Remember, going for the cheapest or most popular solution provider may not benefit your business as much as a little bit of study and comparison on what all facilities and the type of infrastructure your partner provides, which can definitely help you scale up in future and keep away from the worry of tech issues that you might not even understand completely.
Muvi is an out-of-the-box end-to-end video streaming platform solution provider that offers all of the above mentioned facilities at an unbeatable cost, as compared to most of its competitors.
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