Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Best Content Delivery Network To Sell Online Videos: How To Choose

November 23, 2010 by  
Filed under All Posts, Special Interest Video Biz

Keith Kubik from ClickStreamTV made his service to sell online videos powerful yet very easy to use.

Here’s an interesting coincidence: as I was finishing this article, this morning’s paper had an article titled, “Perparing for DVD’s demise.” As an independent video producer, that certainly got my attention.

There is no doubt that the practice of purchasing and viewing videos online is exploding. Netflix is changing the landscape, and if you are a special interest (how-to) video producer, you should be very interested in this topic because video on demand services are in your future, like it or not. The ability to sell online videos is very attractive to me, as I have been selling DVDs for many years and would like to be free of carrying physical inventory.

To learn more about video on demand services, also called content management systems, I attended Streaming Media West in Century City (Los Angeles) in October. I came away confounded by the number of businesses offering variations on the theme of providing on-demand videos. So many companies offer similar but different plans, services and pricing that it was baffling.

Did I find enlightenment?

No, not yet anyway.

Heck, I’m still not sure what to call them; some call themselves an online video platform (OVP) while some call it a content delivery network (CDN) or content management system (CMS), even CDN aggregators. Sheesh, I didn’t have a clue what some of the companies were offering, they were so jargon-based that it was indecipherable to someone outside their industry (I think that is the result of inbred marketing).

I’m digging through the literature and looking at their websites to determine which will be the best fit for smaller independent producers with limited budgets. That includes me and, I assume, you.

I’ve been selling on-demand videos for over a year by simply using WordPress. There are several ways to do this, from placing the video on a password protected page (and sending the customer the password through an autoresponder), to placing it on a public but hidden pages which serves as the Thank You page following a purchase. This works OK, but doesn’t protect the video from unscrupulous customers who might want to share it with their friends, who might share it with their friends ad nauseum, and before you now it you have had hundreds of views but just one sale. That’s no good, so I’m look for a delivery system that offers more security for my videos.

What I want is a way to protect my on-demand videos from being shared without incurring a high monthly fee for the service.

Some of the companies I visited at Streaming Media West clearly are intended for enterprise applications, meaning BIG companies with big budgets. They aren’t interested in little guys like me, and their pricing reflects that. I need a service that will allow me to start with a small monthly cost that allows me to ease into this and is scalable to grow with me.

I found some content delivery networks offering a low monthly fee but an equally low amount of storage and bandwidth, almost too small to be practical, which means you might as well go ahead and budget on their higher service levels. Some offer a lower monthly fee which they offset by taking a percentage of your sales, while others charge more per month but take a smaller or no percentage of your sales. Personally, I don’t want them taking any part of my sales if I’m paying them a monthly fee, so that’s a factor I consider.

Some have lower monthly fees but offset them with a healthy set-up fee, while others don’t charge a set-up fee. Many allow you to create custom shops (store fronts) or media libraries, or you may simply wish to embed the code into an existing site. Some supplement their income by running pre-roll and post-roll advertisements, or even run ads during the video (not acceptable for my purposes). Many of them offer free 30-day trials.

Options you need to consider are how you will control your viewer’s experience. For example, you might include selling it on a one-time or multiple-time views, allowing it to be viewed for a certain length of time (day, week, month, forever), or allowing it to be downloaded. You might want a service that could detect the end user’s device and serve it in a suitable format, such as for a mobile phone user. I don’t want to have to encode for every possible use, but I learned that with both Kaltura and ClickStreamTV you upload one video format and it will serve it in many different formats, suitable for any end user. This solves a major problem because we have been encoding for Flash, but iPhones, iPads and iPods won’t play Flash.

With so many variables to consider, it’s no wonder I came away with a headache.

In my research I found pricing ranging from an astonishingly low $14.95 per month with unlimited storage space and bandwidth (EZWebPlayer) to thousands of dollars per month. Around $100 per month seemed to be the sweet spot for features and value.

Names you may be familiar with include EdgeCast, Kaltura, brightcove, ClickStreamTV, InterNap, voped and Sorenson Media. I particularly enjoyed talking with the people at ClickStreamTV and Internap, as they didn’t try to bowl me over with technical lingo and they were clearly friendly to small business. I was particularly impressed with ClickStreamTV‘s services and will be writing more about them soon. Less well known players who seemed friendly to small business included BuyDRM and Dyyno.com (with a free account with up to 1GB of storage).

I find this topic very relevant to my video publishing business and hope you see its impact on your future distribution plans. I’m going to dig deeper into this topic in future articles. If you want more information right now you might want to try www.vidcompare.com where you can compare the services of many different content management system providers.

Comments

8 Responses to “Best Content Delivery Network To Sell Online Videos: How To Choose”
  1. This is a great article Rick and im glad someone is out there for the small video developer like us.

    Im a jewelry designer with 135 jewelry making videos and it’s hard to keep up with all the new changes and let’s face it the whole world is changing so thanks for keeping us up on whats coming.

    I would love to get a small video producers group or organization going so we can network and learn from each other. Plus i see a lot of intellectual property rights theft coming up since the $$$$ may finally be there world wide!

    What say ye Rick? Who better to start such a group!

    • Rick Smith says:

      I like the idea of a special interest (how-to) video marketing group. In fact, we’re working on creating a membership/group within the HowToSellYourVideos.com site that will have a forum and other methods for us like-minded people to share experiences, ask questions and learn from each other. I’m looking forward to the ability to network with folks like you who “get it.” Just be sure you are on our subscriber list and you’ll get more information when it is available.

      Thanks for writing… you are exactly the type of person we are trying to reach.

      Rick

  2. videoXite says:

    Hi Rick,

    We have made a service for small and medium sized business who need video, hosted not via an OVP.
    We help and take the hassle out of the need to download and design a Video Player, so all you have to do, is upload the encoded (we help with encoding) videos to a Content Delivery Network Provider (we help setup a CDN Account) for storage and streaming.
    If anybody have questions, let me know here and I will try to help.

    Cheers,
    Dennis

    • Buck says:

      We have 25 min. TV Episodes that we want to sell over the internet. Our videos are around 40 mb. I know we have to compress these videos in order to get them downloaded on peoples iphones,itunes,android, pay-per-view, ect. Can we get this done? If so tell me what we need.
      I am the agent for an Outdoor writer, Author, and TV producer.
      His show is viewed weekly on 3 TV channels. Wild TV Canada, The Sportsman Channel, and Pursuit Channel Direct TV.
      He is up to 60 million viewers weekly.
      What do I need to do to sell these on phones, ect.
      Thanks,
      Buck

      • Rick Smith says:

        Buck,

        Sorry it took awhile to get back with you. I would seriously look at what ClickStreamTV has to offer. One of the things that impressed me with them is that they can take any type of file, i.e., QT, Flash, H.264, and can convert it to whatever device the viewer has to view it. You can also do pay-per-view, live streaming and video email. They’ve also lowered their monthly rates. So I would recommend them. I know there are other companies but I’m most familiar with this one.

        Hope this helps!

        Rick

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