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Video on Demand (VOD) | Definition, History and Benefits

Learn more about the definition of Video on Demand (VoD), its history, its benefits and the options in the market if you need to set up one.
by Shahan Zafar & Ghufran Sheraz Updated on December 20, 2023

Video On Demand (VOD) platforms are replacing traditional over-the-air television programming in recent years.

For instance, YouTube is replacing TV broadcasts, and Netflix is replacing movie rental brick-and-mortar stores. These VOD platforms provide users with the freedom to watch, browse and access a range of video topics in a matter of seconds. 

You might be familiar with YouTube and Netflix but might not have heard of business-related platforms such as Brightcove, VIDIZMO, IBM Cloud Video etc.

What does VOD mean, and how did it evolve over time to make floods of heavy data (particularly videos) readily accessible? 

What is VOD? 

VOD stands for Video on Demand, where viewers can search through an online video library and access any content through keyword searches.

What is intriguing about video on demand is that people are not restricted to the broadcasting schedules, which means they can watch their videos whenever and wherever they wish.



Learn More

Britannica defines Video on Demand as, “a technology for delivering video content, such as movies and television shows, directly to individual customers for immediate viewing, regardless of broadcast schedules.  

WhilTechopedia defines VoD as a system, “that allows users to select and watch video content of their choice on their TVs or computers. VoD provides users with a menu of available videos from which to choose.  

Dictionary.com in its definition of VOD, too includes an important phrase "select content and view it at a time of his or her own choosing".


Fundamental to VOD, is the viewer's ability to watch a video at his or her time time.


VOD is not restricted to internet-based video streaming over the internet. However, in the modern era the term VOD has been synonymous with internet streaming due to the popularity of Netflix and YouTube. 

History of VoD 

Since 1990s, developments in compression technology such as DCT and ADSL paved the way to practically introduce VOD services.  

In 1994, The Cambridge Digital Interactive Television trial included a major VOD service, supplying access to 250 homes and schools connected to the Cambridge Cable network. The trial ran at the speed of 2Mbps which was later increased to 25 Mbps. BBC and Anglia Television offered content. Although it proved to be practical, the project concluded in 1996 due to great difficulty in sourcing content.

Virgin Media (formerly Cable TV providers Telewest and NTL) introduced VoD services in 2005 by the name of Sky by broadband (Later renamed to SkyAnytime on PC). It used peer-2-peer approach which means that video content comes from multiple system users who already downloaded the content.  

The European Audiovisual Observatory reported 142 VoD paying services in 2006 across Europe, which rose to 650 by 2009.  

Laterbusinesses began to look for alternatives because platforms at the time had limited features like lack of customization, loss of content ownership once it was publicly shared, and secure sharing to internal stakeholders. To meet this gap, professional-grade VoD options became prominent in the marketplace such as VIDIZMOKaltura, Wistia, Vimeo and Muvi. 


History of VOD Infographic

Read Our Comparison of The Top VOD Platforms in 2021

As per the statistics from Statista: 

  • Revenue in the VoD segment is estimated to reach $85.8 billion in 2021. 
  • An annual growth rate (CAGR 2021-2025) of 10.17% is expected in the revenue of VOD segment. 
  • User penetration is expected to reach 29% by 2025 (up from 24.4% in 2021). 


Benefits of VOD 

Convenience: Through keyword searches, viewers can search through the video library and watch their choice of content whenever and wherever they pleasewithout being bound to any broadcast schedules.

Reach: Content creators can tap into any demographic segment without geographical and time restrictions due to the prevalent availability of screens in the internet space. 

Compatibility: Providing a high-quality viewing experience over broadband internet with quick start-up and minimum buffering time on various gadgets on the go like Tablets, PCs, phones, and Smart TVs.

Viewership metrics: You can easily gauge measurements of viewer activity through figures from analytics.

Interactivity: Modern VOD platforms like VIDIZMO include various features to enable viewers to interact with each other. These include likes, comments, timed comments, and in-video files such as quizzes, surveys, or file attachments. 

While YouTube and Netflix are great platforms for consumer entertainment, they may not be suitable for enterprise purposes such as video content management, branding and customization, monetization, and security compliance. VIDIZMO can offer these features through its VoD portal that enables you to customize communication for both internal and external audiences. 


VIDIZMO as a VoD Platform 

By Uploading Videos on YouTube, You No Longer Own Your Content. You Can't Stream Confidential Videos Internally As Well. You Can't Define Policies - For Compliance Purposes on PII.

For businesses with large video archives dealing with both publicly accessible and confidential information, it can be overwhelming to securely share, manage and customizefit for all target audiences. This is where VIDIZMO’s Gartner-recognized video on demand platform can help.

EnterpriseTube 1

Secure Video Hosting

in VIDIZMO, you have the option to restrict videos to internal signed-in users only. This way, only authorized viewers can access private videos on your secure video hosting platform.

You Decide Who Gets to Access Your Videos

For each video, you can define access on a user or group level, which are synced with your SSO (through SCIM). You can provide access to the entire organization or certain departments or choose to keep the video anonymous. You can also define policies such as restricted sharing, blocking downloads etc. You can also assign permissions to users such as certain users can only view, a few others can upload content, and an admin can define policies. 

The Experience is as Good as YouTube

VIDIZMO offers a YouTube-like video portal, which is as user-friendly as YouTube. Simply upload videos and there are streamed in a way that your viewers can watch them conveniently on any device, under varying bandwidth conditions as well. 

AI Can Make Your Lives Easier

To make video content accessible, and available to a large global audience, you don't need to manually transcribe videos. AI can help you transcribe videos and generate closed captions in more than 80 languages.

You Decide Where to Store Your Data

To fulfill compliances and organizational requirements, you can choose where to store your data. In our cloud as SaaS, or in your Azure or AWS account in the region of choice, or on your premises.

The Best Part - It's One Centralized System For Everything Video

VIDIZMO not only offers on-demand video streaming but complete end-to-end enterprise video platform, with live streaming, video sharing and management, data governance policies and more. Whether you need to carry out a live event, or share training videos as VOD, or share confidential recordings, you can do it all through one system. You can create multiple portals as well, one for each department. Each portal will have its content segregated from the other, its own billing, integrations and more. 

We Offer Much More!  Learn About All Features

Moreover, VOD is only one type of video streaming platform. Learn more about the different types of platforms here.


Posted by Shahan Zafar & Ghufran Sheraz

This article has been written by Shahan Zafar & Ghufran Sheeraz for VIDIZMO which is a Gartner recognized enterprise video content management system, to stream live/on-demand media to both internal and external audiences, on-premise, Azure or AWS cloud. VIDIZMO solutions are used by enterprises, government, local, state government, healthcare, law enforcement agencies, justice, public safety, manufacturing, financial & banking industry.

Tags: VoD Platform

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