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Top five challenges faced by VOD platforms

“Did you watch the latest episode of Stranger Things?”, “How did you like that documentary on the Fyre Festival?” Whether you’re at a party or an official gathering, chances are, someone will start the conversation about a show on one of the OTT platforms.

This is not the era where the entire family would sit together and watch Jerry trying to dodge Tom on their television screens every Sunday. Or see Popeye show-off his magical muscles and convince their kids that eating spinach would give them considerable strength. Or when they could hear Chandler make a “funny” joke whenever he got uncomfortable.

Today, people are more likely to enjoy laughing at Joey’s silliness in solitude. Every member of the family prefers to watch different content on their individual phones or laptops or even the newer smart TVs. The demand for VoD is increasing.

Forecast of video on demand users by segment worldwide from 2017 – 2024
(in million)

Forecast of video on demand users by segment worldwide from 2017 – 2024

                                                                    Source: Statista Digital Market Outlook

VoD is thriving and slowly taking over the traditional Pay-TV sector, but not without challenges. While it has taken a lead, maintaining it is difficult and various obstacles need to be overcome to reach that finish line as a winner.

Here are the top 5 challenges faced by VoD platforms:

1.Access to the Right Content

Content is king. Back when TV shows were the only option, we would watch Tulsi and Parvati sulk because we had no choice. Even if we flipped the channel, some other lead protagonist would be shedding crocodile tears.

Today, with no dearth of available options and multiple OTT platforms, the switching cost for customers is low. No matter what marketing and targeting techniques you use, if your content is not good, you will not be able to retain customers.

This is probably the biggest challenge faced by VoD platforms, access to the right content. Apart from acquiring rights to popular shows and movies, these platforms have now started producing original content. Netflix originals, Prime originals, Hotstar specials have proved to be game-changers. We now sit on our subscriptions waiting for the next season of Narcos despite the plethora of other shows out there.

1. Access to the Right Content

                                                                     Photo Credit –  ELH Express on Unsplash

If you are streaming content that is not so popular with the audience, you are bearing the costs for storage space on your servers without any returns. It is important to use analytics to infer what content is doing well and look at alternatives for content that is just sitting there waiting to be picked up by some viewer.


Advertisements are a major revenue source, be it the traditional Pay-TV sector or VoD platforms. In the case of the Television content provided by cable operators, the advertisements are not in the control of the viewer. Since all the channels air them almost simultaneously, there is no other option but to watch them.

In the case of VoD platforms, the user almost always has an option of skipping the ads. Platforms like youtube have increasingly been disabling the skipping option. This has not gone down too well with the viewers and they would always prefer the option to skip.

Moreover, a lot of these platforms now show ads mid content as well, further agitating the subscribers. They have not been able to figure out a standardized way of displaying advertisements while causing minimum disruption to the user’s viewing experience.

Advertisements are a major revenue source

                                                            Photo Credit – Austin Distel on Unsplash

3.Engagement with subscribers

Subscribers might often get lost in the large pool of content that is available online. Sometimes, they need a little guidance. If they have selected a genre, it is important to recommend to them a few series or movies to watch based on their preferences.

Users often subscribe to a VoD for a particular show. If that show is at its climax, it is important for the platform to engage with the user and suggest a similar to show to watch, else risk losing him or her.

It is important to constantly monitor and analyze user data to keep engaging with them and avoid a high churn rate. This can prove to be challenging. Netflix has one of the best recommendation engines from among all the VoD platforms and experiences a relatively lower churn rate. Their push notifications based on user choices have also proven to quite effective as a form of customer engagement.

4.User Experience

New job postings pop up every day for the role of Product Manager. Why is it so necessary for your organization to have someone constantly work on your already launched product and incur additional costs?

Users are all about customer experience. VoD platforms must be intuitive, fast, and easy to navigate. Competitors are constantly launching new features. It is important to address the feedback your customers are giving you. A seamless design and bug-free software are vital for the success of your product.

In addition, no one wants to spare the time to create a login account these days. There must be integrations with Facebook and Google to enable one-click login. Users often want to get in touch with the support team. Email responses and chatbots should be implemented to solve all user issues. Good customer service goes a long way in customer retention.


Accessibility is one of the major requirements that users have when it comes to VoD platforms. We see so many people all around us, engrossed in their phones with a pair of earphones on. Everyone is watching content everywhere, be it during a commute or on the toilet seat. Imagine having to carry your laptop to each of these places?

Accessibility is one of the major requirement

                                            Photo Credit – JC Gellidon on Unsplash

Most people consume data on their phones. It is important for your platform to be mobile responsive. You may have the best web design, but poor performance on mobile devices will quickly result in a drop in your subscribers.

With smart TVs and Amazon firestick like devices, a lot of people have also started watching OTT content on their televisions. But your platform needs to be well equipped to cater to these users. If the best VoD platform performs poorly on even one device, word spreads and customers leave.

VoD platforms are not going anywhere. They are here to stay. Producers and directors who previously made shows and movies only for TV and the big screens are now capitalizing on the vast opportunity that VoD platforms provide. While the scope is huge, it is imperative to overcome these basic challenges that might forfend more subscribers from joining your platform.

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