In all its forms, video has become an increasingly popular way for businesses to communicate. However, it’s not all about Netflix, Disney, and Amazon Prime. Now anyone with a smartphone can create compelling video content.
With the democratization of video-capturing technologies and the proliferation of video platforms, video streaming is an accessible way for brands to connect with clients and customers, convey messages and strengthen their brands.
Two of the most popular forms of online video streaming are live streaming and video on demand. But how do they work, and what differentiates them from one another?
This guide will look at the features of both, assessing their pros and cons and the ideal way to use them. By the end, you’ll clearly understand when and how to effectively leverage these potent video streaming tools to achieve your business objectives.
Whether you’re aiming to captivate a live audience or provide on-demand video content for your viewers, this guide gives you the knowledge needed to make informed decisions in the ever-evolving world of online video streaming.
What is Live Streaming?
In simple terms, live streaming is the transmission of live video content over the internet for consumption by an end-user. Content is simultaneously recorded and broadcast using an over-the-top (OTT) streaming service.
Live streaming on OTT platforms is rapidly growing in popularity. It’s estimated that by 2028, the industry will have ballooned to be worth between $180-220 billion.
While this figure includes people streaming for pleasure and not just for business needs, it shows that it’s rapidly becoming one of the most effective forms of video communication. And, if used well, it can be a hugely beneficial tool for growing your brand.
What is VoD?
Video on demand, or VoD, is a form of video consumption whereby users select and stream pre-recorded videos as they please from a VoD platform. This extremely popular form of consumption allows users to dictate where, when and how they watch content and is possible on virtually any smart device, from TV services to smartphones.
VoD offers more control for both content creators and consumers, as it allows greater freedom of post-production, publishing and viewing.
You can learn more about VoD, and how it works, here.
Both live streaming and demand streaming have pros and cons depending on the type of content you wish to distribute.
How do Businesses Use Live Streaming Today?
Live streaming is an ideal way for businesses to interact with their audience in a more personal and engaging way than video on demand (VoD).
Live events such as conferences, product launches, and webinars can benefit greatly from the use of live streaming. It allows for more audience participation and interaction. People can ask questions, or answer polls for an improved user experience.
The interactivity of streaming can be its most powerful tool, and CDNetwork’s Media Acceleration Live Broadcast streaming solution offers ultra-low latency. These real-time streams contribute to a more interactive user experience overall.
Live streaming can also be used when the topic and the content are too broad to be covered using video on demand. If you have any in-depth subjects you wish to explore, llive streaming is more suitable than releasing lengthy hour-long videos that risk viewer disengagement. This is well beyond the optimum length for video on demand as viewers become disengaged.
Benefits of VoD for Businesses
As we’ve seen, perhaps the biggest benefit of video on demand is the convenience with which the content can be viewed. Unlike live streaming, viewers do not have to sit down at exactly the right time and place with a strong internet connection to view the video.
While live streaming can allow for a more engaging experience, it can also reduce your viewership, as the conditions needed to watch a live stream can be less accessible than those required for VoD.
CDNetwork’s Media Acceleration VoD streaming platform supplies high-quality video to any device using any operating system in any location, making it the ideal video streaming service for your business’s on-demand video requirements.
Due to the accessibility of VoD content, it’s also easier for it to be shared and distributed on a wider range of video and social media platforms, ultimately increasing the exposure and reach of your business.
As mentioned above, one of the key benefits of on-demand content is the control it gives businesses over variety, editing and publishing.
With VoD, you can edit and perfect a video after you’ve recorded it, allowing you to elevate its look and sound. You can even add personal and distinctive touches, like slogans or DRM watermarks.
Adding these aspects and eradicating errors that are more likely to arise during live broadcast makes your videos look more professional overall. You can also post preview clips of a video to generate increased interest and ultimately increase views when you release the whole package.
Live Streaming vs VoD – The Main Differences
Navigating through the dynamic world of video content, businesses are often faced with the pivotal decision of choosing between Live Streaming and Video on Demand (VoD). Both platforms offer distinct features and benefits, tailoring diverse experiences for viewers and creators alike.
One of the key differences between live streaming and VoD is the quality with which they’re able to operate.
In general, streaming content live requires greater bandwidth. As such, it can be more difficult for viewers to watch in high quality. With VoD, viewers can watch at the highest possible bitrate, depending on their capabilities, without risking lag or interruption.
Furthermore, with VoD, creators are able to make visual and audio adjustments and eradicate any errors that may have occurred during filming.
You can read our favorite tips on improving stream quality here.
Real-Time Audience Interaction
Despite reduced image quality, live streaming does offer greater audience interaction and participation, an aspect that needs improving with video on demand.
Allowing viewers to ask and answer questions and give feedback creates a less rigid and more personal experience. Giving viewers greater control over the content of the stream ultimately leads to a more satisfied and loyal viewership.
Whether you decide to implement a live stream or VoD service also depends on the depth of content you aim to cover.
As touched on, live streams can be a more appropriate way of communicating when you want to cover a wide range of topics in great depth. Attempting to pack all of the content into an on-demand video may not be feasible, and the video would be far too long.
Using Repurposed Content
VoD can make use of repurposed content to improve the viewing experience. Whereas live stream relies solely on immediate footage, VoD can incorporate archived footage to tell your story.
In addition, live content can be repurposed and used in tandem with on-demand video. An hour-long VoD video might exceed the optimal length, potentially causing user disengagement. Live streams, on the other hand, can be recorded and released as shorter, more consumable segments. Combined with Object Storage, CDNetworks Media Acceleration Live Broadcast helps record live streams into videos and lets viewers watch whenever they want. As a result, viewers can rewind and playback particular sections at will.
Streaming can be much more cost-effective than recording, editing, and releasing on-demand videos.
Due to its timeliness, a live stream is better suited to getting information across to large groups than a demand service. For example, a staff training session can be held over a single live stream and delivered to hundreds of staff simultaneously. At the most basic level, all that’s required is a camera, computer, and an internet connection.
VoD vs. Over-the-Top Services
To finish, let’s take a closer look at VoD vs OTT platforms. Both are different but closely related aspects of video streaming.
VoD is a content delivery network where users can select and watch videos at their convenience, often with the ability to pause, rewind, or fast forward. It allows viewers to access a vast on-demand content library of movies, TV shows, and other videos files, providing ultimate flexibility and control over what and when they watch.
On the other hand, OTT streaming covers a broader spectrum of content delivery. Typically, providers typically deliver video content directly to viewers over the internet, bypassing the need for traditional cable or satellite TV subscriptions.
While VoD is a close relative of OTT services, the key distinction lies in the variety of content and delivery options. OTT services can include live TV streaming, original programming, and a wide range of on-demand content, making them a comprehensive solution for consumers accessing content across multiple platforms.
Businesses frequently leverage OTT services to directly distribute promotional videos, product demos, and webinars to customers, thereby enhancing their marketing and advertising initiatives. Larger companies have created private channels for employee training and internal communication, like company-wide announcements.
Either way, the flexibility and reach of over-the-top services make them a valuable tool for businesses seeking to connect with internal or external audiences.