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Why you need a headless cms to build a video on demand platform

Why a headless CMS is a game-changer for building a successful VOD platform.
Sabika Tasneem

Sabika Tasneem

Sep 19, 2023
Why you need a headless cms to build a video on demand platform

The world of digital entertainment is rapidly evolving, and one of the most significant changes is the explosive growth of video on demand (VOD) services.

In an era where streaming content rules supreme, VOD businesses are booming globally. According to Statista, the VOD market is currently standing at US$ 159.4 billion in revenue and is projected to grow by 9.71%, with an estimated worth of US$ 230.9 billion by 2027.

This substantial growth is driven by changing consumer preferences and the convenience of accessing content anytime, anywhere across the globe.

As audiences increasingly embrace on-demand content, the competition among VOD providers is fierce. To stand out and thrive in this dynamic landscape, it's crucial for businesses to understand not only the VOD industry's trends but also the technology that underpins it.

This blog will delve into the heart of VOD development, focusing on why a headless content management system (CMS) is a game-changer for building a successful VOD platform.

#What is video on demand?

Video on demand, commonly shortened up as VOD, is a type of streaming platform that allows users to select and watch multilingual video content at their convenience.

Unlike traditional television broadcasting, where viewers are restricted to fixed schedules with constant adverts popping up in the middle of the content, VOD platforms empower users to decide what, when, and where to watch, on the device of their choice.

This flexibility has catapulted VOD into a dominant force in the entertainment industry.

#How does a video on demand platform work?

At its core, VOD is about delivering video content over the internet. The process involves the following key steps:

Content acquisition

VOD platforms source content from various providers, including studios, independent filmmakers, and original content creators.

Content production

You don't always have to acquire content from external sources. It has never been easier to produce content internally within a reasonable budget.

Storage and management

The acquired content is uploaded, stored and organized in a digital video library. This library can contain a vast array of content, from movies and TV shows to documentaries and user-generated videos.

Content encoding

To ensure seamless streaming without buffering or disruptions, content is encoded into various formats and resolutions to accommodate different devices and network conditions.

Content delivery

When a user requests specific content, the VOD platform retrieves and streams the video to the user's device. This involves the use of content delivery networks (CDNs) for efficient and reliable content distribution globally.

On-demand video streaming

Users can interact with the platform's user interface to search, select, and watch content as and when they desire. Personalization algorithms can also be set up to recommend content based on user preferences and viewing history.

#How to build a video on demand website

Creating a successful VOD platform involves meticulous planning and execution. Here's a simplified overview of the process:

Plan and strategize

Begin by defining your goals. Who is your target audience? What type of content do you want to showcase? Decide on your business model and identify what sets your platform apart from the competition. This initial phase lays the foundation for your success.

Content sourcing or production

Now, it's time to gather or create the content that will resonate with your chosen audience and align with your platform's theme. High-quality content is the lifeblood of any VOD platform so it is critical to get this step right for its success.

Website development

You'll need a robust website architecture that can seamlessly deliver content to your users. Think of it as the backbone of your VOD platform.

To give you a clearer picture, here's a visual representation of what a video on demand platform's architecture typically looks like:

Video on demand platform architecture

Let us now dive deeper to understand each of architectural component of a VOD platform showcased above:

  • Video upload service: This essential microservice is responsible for accepting and storing video uploads from users onto a scalable and distributed storage solution. Moreover, it generates crucial video metadata, which is then persisted in a metadata store, such as Hygraph – a Headless CMS with the capability to collect data from multiple sources and distribute it via API to any frontend destination.

  • Video processing service: ensures your video content is playback-ready. This microservice handles tasks such as:

    • video filtering to flag offensive content
    • transcoding videos into various formats and resolutions to ensure compatibility across devices and network conditions
    • transferring finalized video content to the Content Delivery Network (CDN) servers. This ensures seamless global content delivery regardless of the viewer's location or the number of concurrent viewers
  • Video asset handling service: When viewers request to watch a video on your VOD platform, the Video asset handling service takes the lead. As soon as a viewer sends a request, a headless CMS like Hygraph communicates with this microservice, providing all the relevant metadata, including the unique video ID. Subsequently, the correct video is seamlessly streamed to the viewer with the assistance of the CDN.

  • External API(s): To enrich your VOD platform's content and user experience, you may integrate third-party APIs. These external APIs fetch video-related information from external sources, enhancing your platform's offerings. For instance, your VOD platform might leverage an external API to access movie ratings from IMDb.

  • Headless CMS: A next-generation headless CMS for the media and entertainment industry, like Hygraph, is a critical component of any VOD platform architecture. Not only does it store all the video metadata but also provides an API that allows other components of the architecture to access the video metadata. In the VOD platform architecture, - the headless CMS plays the following roles:

    • Metadata store: The headless CMS stores all of the metadata for the videos in the VOD platform, including the video title, description, ratings, genre, and other relevant information.
    • Orchestration layer: The headless CMS provides an API that allows other components of the architecture to access the video metadata. It also has the ability to interface with multiple sources and external APIs, this allows other components to get the information they need about the videos without having to directly access all the various sources seamlessly ensuring a better user experience.
    • Frontend connectivity: Through APIs, the Headless CMS ensures seamless connectivity between the backend and frontend of your VOD platform. It serves as the bridge that allows users to interact with your platform's content effortlessly.

With these steps and a well-structured architectural framework, you'll be well on your way to building a compelling VOD website that captivates your audience and keeps them coming back for more.

#Why a headless CMS is vital for your video on demand platform

In the complex architecture of a Video on Demand (VOD) platform, a headless CMS like Hygraph proves indispensable for several compelling reasons:

High-performance foundation

VOD platforms demand unwavering high-performance capabilities to deliver seamless streaming with minimal latency. Hygraph's robust API is tailor-made to meet these rigorous demands, ensuring your viewers enjoy a glitch-free streaming experience.

Streamlined metadata management

Managing metadata for an extensive video library can be a daunting task. Here's where Hygraph steps in, simplifying the process. It empowers content publishers to unify and structure metadata effortlessly, enabling efficient content categorization and retrieval.

Elevated user engagement

Viewer retention is the lifeblood of any VOD platform. Hygraph's structured data and GraphQL-first approach play a pivotal role in enhancing the user experience. This results in higher activation rates, improved content stickiness, and ultimately, stronger viewer loyalty.

Frictionless editorial workflow

Content creators need a frictionless environment to work efficiently. Hygraph steps up to the plate with its high-velocity workflow, making it easy to create, edit, and publish content without having to worry about the underlying technology. This means your team can simply focus on delivering captivating content without any unnecessary hurdles.

Ironclad content security

Protecting your content is paramount. Hygraph offers granular control over content access, bolstered by features like content staging, scheduling, and localization. With Hygraph, you can rest assured that your content will be delivered securely to the right audiences, safeguarding your intellectual property.

In essence, a Headless CMS like Hygraph isn't just an optional addition to your VOD platform; it's a fundamental pillar that works as a glue to hold your VOD platform together, ensuring it not only survives but thrives in the competitive world of digital content.

#Ready to dive in?

If you're looking to build your own video on demand platform, consider using Hygraph's headless CMS to streamline your content management and delivery.

Hygraph has successfully helped Telenor deliver a high-performance, engaging, and secure VOD platform that has helped them reach millions of viewers across the Nordics.

Wondering where to start from? Simply start building your VOD platform by creating a free-forever account. If you have any specific requirements or need a custom plan, don't hesitate to get in touch with us. We're here to help you succeed in the ever-growing world of video on demand.

Blog Author

Sabika Tasneem

Sabika Tasneem

Content Writer

Sabika is an experienced Product Marketing Professional passionate about crafting engaging content. Beyond her professional pursuits, Sabika loves immersing herself in the world of literature, exploring diverse cultures, and fueling her creativity through writing.

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