The Rise of Video on Demand

For nearly 100 years, the broadcast industry remained relatively unchanged. Television led the way, and viewers tuned in at certain times to catch certain shows, movies, or competitions. Since the advent of the internet and the rise of the internet of things (IoT), however, the landscape has shifted seismically.

Now, streaming is fast becoming king. The number of people streaming video on demand (VoD) content on smartphones jumped from 23% in 2019 to 30% in 2020, and that growth shows no sign of slowing. In the sports sector alone, revenue is expected to reach $85 billion by 2024.

VoD on the rise

VoD started with movies. Consumers took to streaming platforms like Netflix and VoD services connected to cable subscription accounts immediately. But video streaming content has expanded quickly beyond just movies. Now, customers look for television shows, sports broadcasts, and other content. This trend was already rising, but the COVID-19 pandemic put growth into overdrive.

According to a Rapid TV news prediction from 2020, global subscription video on demand (SVoD) users would grow by 5% to 949 million because of pandemic lockdowns. As people have adjusted to being at home more often, streaming and over the top (OTT) platforms reacted to the growing at-home media consumption.

To add to this increased demand, there has been a sharp increase in high-quality productions from around the globe, which is also partly due to more readily available technology. Many of these new productions, from movies to television series to documentaries to new sports leagues, are intended for and driven by OTT platforms exclusively.

VoD platforms and exclusive content

Big players in broadcast and in content creation have not failed to notice this trend. Every major broadcast or cable network now has its own OTT platform (eg: CBS, ABC, NBC, HBO, ESPN), and so do major studios such as Disney (Disney+) and Paramount (Paramount+). This in addition to streaming-only services like Netflix, Hulu, or Amazon Prime.

All of these players are putting out their own exclusive content. Netflix alone released over 370 original content titles in 2019 and has continued to ramp up speed since. Amazon Prime launched over 300 hours of original content in the same year. This while Disney has released the vast majority of its library on Disney+, ESPN+ (also owned by Disney) has offered a plethora of live and on-demand sports programming, and major franchises like the Star Trek franchise are available – with extras – from CBS All Access. These moves mark a major shift in where the best content is – and show just how important VoD has become.

VoD is still growing

Globally, the video on demand market was already at $53.96 billion in 2019. That number is projected to reach $159.62 billion by 2027, with a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 14.8%. TV and sports made up around half of that in 2019, with movies giving both a run for their money. With theaters closed during COVID-19 lockdown, movie makers adapted by releasing films to VoD first – and sometimes exclusively.

Exclusive content isn’t the only innovation, either. Providers like Netflix, Amazon Prime, and HBO are using artificial intelligence to personalize experiences, tightly target ads, and keep content in line with regulations like regional age-sensitive content restrictions. This kind of smart service continues to make VoD services valuable and has helped them outpace traditional broadcasting.

Video on demand is here to stay

VoD is not only growing – it has become the de-facto way to consume content, whether TV, movies, standup comedy, documentaries, or sports. OTT platforms in particular offer the kind of streamlined cost-to-revenue model that businesses dream of, and almost anyone can build an OTT service with the right platform like MAZ. Video on demand is certainly here to stay.