Online On Demand Videos: Pros & Cons Of Doing It Yourself
Profiting from your online On demand videos can get complex and as confusing as comparing cell phone services. Like it or not, you may be dealing with this technology in the near future, so let’s delve a little deeper in how to deliver your online video on demand and protect your video and your profits while keeping your costs low.
No Money? No Problem!
Starting at the “no budget” level, you can do it completely on your site without going through any other online video services.
The positive thing about doing it this way is it is very inexpensive – simply the cost of a web host and maybe an Amazon S3 account to store the videos and a Paypal account to collect money. You could do it this way for $10 per month or less.
If you are starting out with zero budget, that may be your only short-term option but as business grows you are going to want to step it up a notch. Here are some things to think about.
Bandwidth And Storage
Shopping carts like the one we use, 1ShoppingCart, allow you to sell digital download products online, but delivery is restricted to 10 mb. This is fine for eBooks or audio products but too small for any video over 2 to 3 minutes in length. If you want to offer your video in different codecs or you have several titles then this won’t work for you. There is also the concern that once they download your video, it is not protected and so makes you vulnerable to piracy.
To offer another layer of protection, you may choose to send customers to a password protected area on your website (WordPress works well for this). It isn’t fully protected though, because the customer can still share the website address and password with others. Unless you have a system that generates unique passwords, you have to use the same one for all purchasers making it easy for them to share with others.
Pssst… What’s The Password?
The other problem we found is in delivering the password after purchase. This is best done with an autoresponder program connected to a shopping cart system freeing you up to not be constantly hooked to your email system 24/7. However, we’ve discovered that there is sometimes a delay in the autoresponder sending the password, causing the customer frustration and making them wonder if they’ve been hosed. If they are using email filtering (we frequently encounter this) or they gave you an incorrect address, they may never receive the password, which really makes for angry customers.
Passive Income – The Holy Grail
The whole point of selling an instant download online video is that you want people to be able to access it immediately, at any time of day or night, and without any input on your part. If your system won’t accomplish this, you are not achieving the “passive income” that is the goal of most people doing this.
You can try the option of not having a password but sending customers to a private page. Again you will have the sharing concerns previously discussed. Also, unless you have an option to block this page from search engines, there is a likelihood that it will be indexed and people will trip upon it via a search.
You may opt for a service that charges a monthly fee for hosting, collecting payment and protecting your video. Most of these will host the video in order to protect it, and some can serve it out in any format and codec the end user needs. This is the better way to go but there are many different service options, price points and features. I’ve begun researching these models and find pros and cons to them as well.
There are quite a few services that allow you to control the level of access a customer has to your videos; they can access it a set number of times, for a period of time, or even download to it to their computer, iPod, etc. with an expiration date. Some will even restrict access to a specific ip address. The price points for these services can range from less than $20 to thousands of dollars per month.
Personally, I would be uncomfortable biting off an expensive monthly charge until I knew that I would have enough sales to justify the cost. That’s why I’m leaning toward services that charge less than $100 per month with sufficient bandwidth to serve my needs until such time as sale justify a higher level of service, while giving me all of the options I want.
Take for example ClickStreamTV.com. They allow you to control a customer’s access to a video, their system looks at the end user’s device and serves the video in the appropriate format, they have everything in place to charge a fee for access, they do not charge a percentage of your sales, they provide video emails for marketing, their system is intuitive and easy to set up …. just about anything I can think of that I want at the moment. That’ll cost you $79 per month. Not bad.
I’m enjoying researching this field and reporting back to you on my recommendations. Until the next article, Happy Holidays.
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