23 June, 2021

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 and VOD aren’t the same? 

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

What is VOD Streaming?

Premium video on demand

The introduction of 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. 

What is OTT Streaming?

OTT video streaming

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 like 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 OTT 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 of any video across the world and not necessarily through a closed network like satellite TV.

Types of VOD 

  • SVOD

subscription video on demand

Many consumers have taken up Subscription Video on Demand (SVOD), especially after the lockdown across the globe. Most content creators having 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.

  • TVOD

transactional video on demand

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.

  • AVOD

advertising video on demand

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 years, yet at times, people do have confusion to differentiate between the two!

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

Distinguishing VOD & OTT solutions

Over-the-top or OTT 

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.

Video on Demand or VOD

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 VOD and OTT streaming, 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 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, OTT and VOD are inexpensive ways to broadcast content in comparison to traditional broadcasting. 


Understanding VOD vs OTT is not as important unless you’re in the video monetization 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.


  1. AvatarMeryem Reply

    Thanks for taking the time to the difference between VOD and OTT streaming services to put this all together. It’s much appreciated

  2. AvatarIsaac Reply

    Very detailed analysis of the video on demand platforms different in OTT & VOD Streaming. Awesome list! Thanks for sharing with us.

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