VOD vs OTT Streaming

VOD Vs OTT Streaming: What’s the difference?

We’ve come a long way from satellite television. Choosing what we want to watch and forgoing the pre-scheduled shows. VOD and OTT have been a great boon as we don’t have to miss out on the broadcasts of our favorite shows, games, movies, and more. On-demand videos have progressed over the years that the lines differentiating VOD vs OTT have become a blur!

Wait, OTT Vs VOD aren’t the same? 

Yes, they are different streaming services. OTT and VOD streaming services have been used so interchangeably over the years that it has become hard to differentiate between the two. Some applications and video-on-demand software switch between VOD and OTT that we’ve lost track of.

What is Video On Demand?

What is video on demand(VOD)?
Video on demand is a type of media distribution system that allows users to watch videos on their own time.

The introduction of what is vod meant the wait for watching videos is over. Gone are the days when we hurried up from work to catch an episode of our favorite show or waited late nights for the reruns. Video-on-demand (VOD) allows you to watch videos at your own pace from anywhere. 

This freedom means that you get to:

  1. Watch what you want
  2. When you want to 
  3. From anywhere you choose to

VOD could be downloaded files, streamed from the internet, on-demand videos from the satellite, and more. YouTube, for example, is a VOD platform that lets you see any video as per your schedule. 

With VOD, even creators get time to create content, edit their videos and provide quality content for their audience. 

How does Video On Demand (VOD) Work?

VOD which is otherwise known as video on demand follows a principle to stream content of favorite shows of consumer’s choice. This can be availed at any point of time by users which is directly an opposite to programmed broadcast television. This is specially useful when a video is readily available without any need to play the waiting game around just as the broadcaster’s schedules. Now let’s have a closer look at its merits which is similar-like OTT

Advantages of Video On Demand

  • With the invention of videos in this era, people tune-in to have their showtime by watching more and surfing less. 
  • VOD has changed this outlook by not only watch content of their preferences, but also allow to download or record shows to have later options of watching 
  • VOD is associated with any kind of video content when you push play without any need for physical DVD or player for initiating the process 

The next question arises :  is Netflix in the category of OTT or VOD? Then let me tell you, it’s more connected to on demand video streaming as it is centred around content consumption-model rather than distribution model.

What is OTT Streaming?

What is OTT Streaming?
An over-the-top(OTT) media service is one that is delivered to viewers directly over the Internet.

OTT usually refers to video content but can include podcasts, audio messaging, VoIP calls, and more. Majorly services like WhatsApp, Netflix, Skype, and others use the internet to stream content to their users. 

OTT vs VOD allows you to watch videos you like whenever you choose to. The only difference is that you’ll need an active internet connection to stream such videos. OTT stands for over-the-top which is used to describe the service going over the top of traditional services like satellite and cable TV. 

You’re familiar with Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Prime Video then you know how the OTT platform works. You can stream OTT videos through any device that has an internet connection. 

So, mobile phones, tablets, smart TVs, and computers can be used to access OTT streaming videos. 

With an OTT connection, you can find shows and live streaming benefits of any video across the world and not necessarily through a closed network like satellite TV.

How Does OTT Work?

When people search what is OTT streaming, it is abbreviated as over-the-top where services by media outlets deliver various kinds of streaming on a daily basis which wasn’t the case before. The broadcasts in OTT are delivered over the internet versus traditional cable & satellite services. Top players such as Netflix, Hulu, Sling, Disney+ define this wide platform. 

Over-the-top is the next best choice since broadcasting gets cheaper for businesses and they are restricted to a certain time of streaming, in which consumers cannot access once the real-time stream gets over.  

Advantages of OTT

  • OTT platforms are quite specific in terms of requirements that they provide. Their way of working in efficient system of video playback gives better streaming quality 
  • Moreover, the biggest difference between OTT and VOD comes into play when you know they aren’t providing only video content but also offer audio broadcasts like podcasts.  
  • Specially, when you watch a movie from any popular platforms, you’re not bound to download those files, rather enjoy every bit of streaming right from start to finish 

Also, in the upcoming segments where OTT and VOD major differences are sketched in detail, one cannot ignore the significant aspect of transmitting data that gets common between the two in contrast to traditional or cable TV networks. 

Types of VOD Monetization Models

There are many monetization models which are leveraged by many broadcasters where most efforts fall under these primary categories: AVOD, SVOD & TVOD. 

While knowing that all of them have their own set of pros and cons in each, your business life cycle may change over time depending upon the nature of business, circumstances led by the progression of the video OTT industry & many other factors. 

Here are those edged on a brief note for you:

Subscription Video on Demand (SVOD)

subscription video on demand
SVOD is stands for subscription video on demand, and it is also known as subscription VOD.

Many consumers have taken up SVOD business model, especially after the lockdown across the globe. Most content creators having subscription video on demand platforms monetize their content by offering monthly and yearly subscriptions for eg: Amazon Prime, Netflix, Hulu, YouTube Premium, and more. These are mostly ad-free, and you can stream your videos without the hassle of sitting through advertisement breaks.

Transactional Video on Demand (TVOD)

transactional video on demand
TVOD is stands for transactional video on demand. A video on demand service that allows you to purchase content on a pay-per-view basis.

If you’ve booked for a live show being streamed online, a DIY class, or workshops, you’ve already experienced TVOD. TVOD is short for Transactional Video on Demand which charges its users based on a pay-per-view system. This content is usually unique and not available elsewhere on the internet. Many artists and professionals use this to monetize their video content.

Advertising Video on Demand (AVOD)

advertising video on demand
The term ad-based video on demand (AVOD) refers to ad-based video on demand that is provided to consumers for free.

A prominent example for Advertising Video on Demand (AVOD) is YouTube. You get to see videos under the stipulation that sponsored ads are part of the experience. Other than this, you’ll not require to spend any money unless you opt for an ad-free experience. It helps broadcasters to earn money without the hassle of dealing with subscriptions or paywalls.

Difference Between VOD and OTT

The world of streaming videos has progressed a lot over the years, yet at times, people do have confusion to differentiate between the two, none other than OTT vs VOD!

difference between OTT vs VOD
VOD and OTT overlap, but not always. OTT describes the distribution model, whereas VOD describes the consumption model.

And that’s absolutely fine! We are here to explain these concepts to you, making it even more comprehensive! 

Distinguishing OTT Vs VOD solutions

Over-the-top or OTT   Video on Demand or VOD

1.This type of broadcasting uses internet or satellite/cable services to transmit curated content.

2.Online live events, sports, seminars, etc are showcased using OTT.

3.OTT describes the distribution model where video content gets delivered on the internet.

4.The best about OTT is its deals are focused on consumer-facing media services.

1.As the name suggests it is available on-demand & can view playbacks anytime you want to.

2.Real-time relays will not relate with VODs unless it is packaged after live streams.

3.VOD describes the consumption model where the video is cast back on demand.

4.While in VOD it is panned over all kinds of industries & sectors.

The above factors are key indicators that set differences and are found beneficial since television broadcasting is quickly becoming obsolete. 

Furthermore, it is a perfect takeaway for several content broadcasters. 

We can say this without any doubt because it allows your customers to watch videos at their preferred conveniences, on multiple devices, free or paid, etc.

The Future of Online Video is OTT and VOD

With more consumers moving towards OTT versus VOD live streaming benefits, the industry has seen a drastic increase in traffic. As I mentioned earlier, consumers love to control what they watch and when they watch content making this one of the best industries to invest in. 

OTT and VOD app are not just used for entertainment purposes but as the go-to platform for many educational and other professional institutions to train their personnel and offer services. As a bonus, VOD and OTT platforms are inexpensive ways to broadcast content in comparison to traditional broadcasting. 

Closing Thoughts: Does it really differentiate big between the two?

Understanding OTT vs VOD is not as important unless you’re in the video monetization platform industry. Most video-on-demand software work interchangeably. If you want to differentiate your service, then ask this question: Is your online content not accessible at any time? Is it pre-scheduled like a live stream? Then you can use OTT instead of VOD. Use a term that best resonates with your customers.

Build a Combination of VOD Streaming & OTT Platform to Stay Ahead of Your Competitors,

Schedule A Free Demo And We’ll Help You Implement It!

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Dwarakesh Babu

Dwarakesh is Video Monetization & OTT Platform Expert at CONTUS VPlayed. Interested in digging deep into video/audio streaming media tools and Love to blog, discuss and share views on the latest technologies tips, and tricks. He's also passionate about photography loves to capture the pure essence of life.


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