On Demand Online Videos: What You Need To Know To Be Profitable
Today we’re continuing our discussion of how to deploy your on demand online videos you sell.
There are several options if all you want to do is show video on your site or use videos to as another tool to promote your business. From free hosting services like YouTube to paid services like the one we use that offer more features and more security, the choices depend on how you want to use video on your site and how much control you wish to have.
When it comes to selling your video on a pay-to-watch basis, whether online or as a download (for you iPod, for example), it gets more complex. Our main goal at HowToSellYourVideos.com is producing videos as the end product, for sale, so this is a subject near and dear to us.
Selling online videos introduces many issues, such as how to protect your video from theft, how to transact a sale, bandwidth, storage, redundancy, distribution networks, delivery formats and operating costs.
Protect Your On Demand Online Videos From Theft
Having your videos go viral is great for marketing but you don’t want this to happen to those videos you want to monetize. While you want wide exposure to your potential customers, you want them to pay for it and not share it with others.
Monetizing Your Online Video
Charging a fee is key to monetizing your video. Your customer needs to go through a gateway, be it PayPal, your own merchant account, or a service provided by your host. Your customer is handing over their sensitive payment information to get their pay-to-watch video, so it is imperative that you have a secure system.
VOD Bandwidth Issues
While you want to keep your marketing videos short, this is not necessarily the case with special interest or how-to videos. You’ll also want to make sure they are of good quality and are large enough so the viewer can clearly see what you are showing. The old postage stamp sized videos of several years ago just will not do. A few years ago 340 x 280 pixels was standard; today at least 600 pixels wide is common and many services allow you to run videos full screen size. You will need a service that allows you the server room to store larger videos and the bandwidth and speed to pump them out without constant buffering and stuttering.
Distributing Your Online Video
Then there is the question of branding. If you don’t want to fool with any of this you can place your video on sites that act as a catalog or aggregator of various independent titles. They will host your video, manage the money collection and deliver your video. They usually charge a monthly service fee, take a percentage of sales or both. Depending on your goals, whether your video is on a DVD or download, how interested you are in being involved in this end of your business, and how distinct you want to keep your brand, these distribution networks may be perfect for you or not right at all.
Delivering Your Video
There are many issues that will determine how you want to deliver your video to your customers. Not only do you want to protect your videos from theft, you’ll also want to decide how many options you’d like to offer your customers. The more options you offer, the more variations on encoding your video you’ll have to deal with.
Some services provide streaming, progressive or both types of download. Progressive download can be achieved using a regular web (http) server, but with streaming viewers can fast forward and fast rewind in the media clip and it can be protected so that viewers can’t copy it. You have to prepare your video differently for each.
Other services allow you to set the number of times a video may be viewed (once, five times, 20 times, for example), or the length of time a user has access to it (day, week, month, forever). Many provide a password, but this can be shared. Some limit viewing to a specific ip address, but this can be problematic if a legitimate user wants to watch it on a home computer as well as at the office.
Finally, how do you want to encode your videos? There is Flash, Windows Media, Quicktime, Silverlight, Real Player and iTunes. And what about providing video for mobile devices, are you preparing for that?
Keeping Your Operating Costs Affordable
You will also want to look at the operating costs of offering your online video for sale. Some services I mentioned in my previous article on choosing an online delivery network charge as little as $14.95 per month; others can charge $500 or more per month and then there is everything in between.
I’m looking for something that will do it all, haven’t found it yet but so far one service I’ve been impressed with is ClickStreamTV.
In my next post I’ll delve more deeply into protecting your on demand online videos from piracy. Sign up for our RSS feed to get notice of all of these articles as they are posted.