Video-On-Demand and Streaming: The Difference

So, with an interest in the OTT/IPTV market, you may have a bit of trouble understanding the difference between video on demand (VOD) streaming and live streaming.

What defining features draw the lines? Also, what would make a streaming platform advantageous? On the other hand, what makes a live streaming platform advantageous? 

Video On-Demand And Streaming

This is the practice of watching on-demand videos. This is a more traditional system where a video clip is made, uploaded to one of many free for viewers tune in to watch it.

These services used to be much less popular than they are today. However, there has been a paradigm shift in the way that people choose to consume content. Therefore, it’s not uncommon to hear that someone doesn’t have cable TV but instead spends time consuming content.

There is much greater viewing time convenience here. A live stream occurs at a certain time. If a viewer cannot be present at that time for any reason, it means that the stream is simply missed. Depending on the platform being used, a video of the stream may be available in format, but it defeats the purpose of watching a live stream in that case.

The NPAW Video Streaming Industry Report for the first half of 2023 provides a compelling insight into the evolving landscape of online streaming services. One of the most striking findings in the report is the reversal of a downward trend in daily engagement per user, which had been plaguing the industry since 2021. This upswing in user engagement per service, signified by an impressive 4% increase in the number of Video on Demand (VoD) minutes watched per day, per streaming service globally, suggests that consumers may be honing in on a select few online video platforms. This phenomenon hints at potential market consolidation, where viewers are concentrating their streaming habits. On the flip side, it could also be attributed to an overall surge in streaming consumption, reflecting the insatiable appetite for on-demand content.

In parallel, the report underscores the escalating interest in live sports streaming. Major sporting events like Wimbledon and the NBA Finals witnessed substantial year-over-year growth in terms of total plays, playtime, and unique users. This growth reinforces the trend of sports enthusiasts migrating to online video platforms, gradually phasing out traditional broadcast and satellite channels. It’s a testament to the compelling appeal and engagement potential of live sports events in the digital age.

With streaming services showing promising signs of increased user engagement and the persistent growth of sports streaming, the video streaming industry seems poised for a transformative phase. As Ferran G. Vilaró, CEO and Co-Founder of NPAW, aptly noted, “The first half of 2023 marked a potential turning point for the global video streaming industry as daily user engagement per streaming service began to increase for the first time since 2021.” These findings underscore the need for data-driven insights to navigate the ever-evolving streaming landscape effectively.

A pure upload can be viewed at any time convenient to the viewer. Therefore, those with unpredictable schedules or who would prefer to have a dedicated time for content viewing can have the experience at whatever time is suited to them.

Greater production in time is present here, which means the finished product is usually way more polished than that of a live stream. Additionally, this means that mistakes are eliminated, and the viewer ends up with a free-flowing content piece to enjoy.

Post-production gives the rise to the editing tools that are used to prepare content for their respective video streaming solutions. Creators can add a lot of value to their uploads by embracing effects and other visual/audio elements.

Live Streaming

Live streaming is newer than VOD. It provides a very interactive way of reaching audiences and providing content. Its user base continues to grow, which is no surprise if considering the innate human desire for interaction.

You may find that many businesses capitalize effectively on live streaming platforms, allowing them to meet business needs in a fun way to their viewers. Of course, there needs to be a strategic aspect to it, as the way the streaming is done must meet the business’s objectives.

That is why business owners are looking more in the direction of own creating a live streaming app, since it is very popular today, and it also allows you to gather a large community and potential clients,”.

Real-time interaction is the biggest benefit here. While this would allow for comments in many cases, the video would have been produced and released well before the viewer comments. With live streams, the broadcaster can see what viewers have to say when the stream is running and communicate with their audiences.

Additionally, live streaming often does not require a very big budget. Yes, there are some businesses and individuals who go very over the top to ensure that they get the best production value possible. However, the actual requirements are never anything too difficult. After all, a video monetization platform could leverage either and some platforms, such as YouTube, offer both.


Arguably more popular than its live streaming counterpart, and much of this is attributed to the quality and the convenience alluded to earlier. People simply prefer a polished product that they can consume at their leisure.

Additionally, comparing the number of platforms to the number of live streaming platforms that have made waves in the industry also tells the story. Netflix, YouTube, and Hulu are three of the most popular content sources available. These are all streaming platforms, two of which require a mandatory subscription.

While YouTube does allow live streaming, that is not its primary business model, so it still counts here.

The opportunities are vast, and with this kind of popularity, a business can either attempt to develop its own platform or leverage one of the existing ones.


Take a look at dacast alternative live streaming platforms, and live video monetization that offer a seamless video stream service.

On the matter of preparation, less should theoretically be required to get a live stream going. For the most part, there may be an outline of where things are supposed to be going, but the interaction with the viewers tends to heavily supplement this outline and even move their stream along.

This makes sense, as you would expect a business to put its best foot forward when it has the advantage of preparation time to work with. 

On the other hand, you find that there are resolution or quality requirements before uploads are accepted. This also means that those consuming the content tend to be a lot more forgiving with live streams than they are with the content they consume on their free AVOD platforms (advertising-based video-on-demand.

What Is a Video Monetization Platform?

The video monetization platform is the final piece of the puzzle. If this whole thing is meant to be a business strategy, then there needs to be a consideration for compensation. A video monetization platform allows the creators of video content to earn some level of revenue from their productions.

This can be done in a transactional form where a single pay-per-view is purchased, or viewers can buy permanent access to a piece of content.

Alternatively. These platforms, which are incredibly common, lean on recurring subscriptions as their business model. Viewers have unlimited access to a sea of content if they maintain their subscription. Of course, Netflix is an excellent example of this kind of video monetization platform.

Final Remarks

At this point, you should have a working understanding of video streaming solutions, whether they are live or on-demand. Additionally, you should also understand what a video monetization platform is and how it works.

With all this information, you should now be able to make the appropriate decisions on which direction you want to go in with your business.

Author Profile

Adam Regan
Adam Regan
Deputy Editor

Features and account management. 3 years media experience. Previously covered features for online and print editions.


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