A Tell-All Guide to Video Content Distribution Platforms

By Kelly Messori on July 12, 2023

Building a profitable video business comes with several challenges. You have to consistently create content that resonates with your audience. At the same time, you have to find ways to generate revenue from your content.

Bonus tip: learn everything about video monetization in our in-depth guide.

But these efforts would be in vain if your videos fail to grab eyeballs. And that's where video content distribution platforms step into the picture.

While publishing videos on a YouTube channel can help you reach viewers, you must do more in today's competitive landscape. As more content publishers try their hands at video production, you need a concrete distribution strategy to stand out.

The good news is that various ways to distribute video content to your target audience exist. 

You can choose from numerous video content distribution platforms, including:

  • Owned and operated (O&O) streaming apps you create and run, much like Netflix and Disney+.
  • Social media channels like Instagram and Facebook allow you to distribute your content for free.
  • OTT content aggregators, like Amazon Prime Video, enable you to distribute your content to their audience. 
  • Virtual Multichannel Video Programming Distributors (vMVPDs) that let you distribute your linear TV content.

While O&O apps are ideal for brand-building, social media platforms might be a more cost-effective choice for building your audience. Similarly, content aggregators help boost visibility without increasing customer acquisition costs. vMVPDs, on the other hand, diversify your audience and let you attract new cord-cutters who still enjoy the traditional TV experience.

The right distribution strategy can even help you find additional revenue streams.

In this article, we'll look at different ways to distribute your videos and reach a wider audience. Let's get started.

Launch an Owned and Operated Streaming Service

An owned and operated streaming service is where you host and deliver live and on-demand video content to your audience, all on your own platform. This platform could be your web or smartphone app, much like how prominent OTT platforms like Netflix work. That makes it an effective way of building your identity as a content creator and publisher.

If you're unsure about starting an O&O streaming service, here's an eye-opening statistic: the worldwide OTT (over-the-top) video market has a user penetration rate of 45.7%. That figure is projected to reach 53% by 2027.

Given these numbers, it makes sense to distribute your content through your own OTT service. While third-party platforms like Netflix and Disney+ can help you reach viewers, they don't give you any control over the viewing experience. Nor do they offer access to in-depth user or content analytics and insights.

If you want to harness the full potential of your video content, it's wiser to develop and launch a proprietary streaming service. An owned and operated (O&O) streaming app will help you build your brand as a content publisher with direct access to a loyal and devoted audience. 

It allows you to customize and align the user experience with your brand image. Also, you can modify the platform to suit your target audience's needs and preferences to improve their experience. 

Creating O&O OTT Apps with SaaS Platforms

With SaaS-based OTT app development platforms, starting an O&O streaming service has become straightforward. These platforms can offer a drag-and-drop app builder to let you add different features and functionalities to your streaming platform. They often provide additional services like video hosting and customer relationship management (CRM).

You can also deploy different video monetization models, such as subscriptions or ad breaks. The platforms may also let you implement paywalls to generate additional revenues from a live stream or new release. 

With an O&O OTT app, you can access a goldmine of first-party user data. App development platforms can provide advanced user-level and device-level analytics. You can then collect and analyze this data to identify consumer behavior patterns and monitor content performance to build a smarter DTC video business.

Publish Video Content on Social Media

Social media channels like Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter serve as excellent video content distribution platforms. With over 4.26 billion social media users worldwide, you can rest assured that your target audience already uses one or more of these platforms.

Image via Statista

The best part is that uploading and sharing videos on social networking sites is a cakewalk. And if your content strikes the right chord with viewers, it can even go viral.

Some of the most popular social media video campaigns which went viral include the Ice Bucket Challenge, Apple's #ShotoniPhone campaign, and Redbull's #GivesYouWings campaign.

Image via Instagram

Social media platforms let viewers engage with your content through reactions and comments. This enables you to build a strong bond with your audience and turn them into loyal viewers. You can even run paid advertising campaigns to maximize your reach.

It's also worth noting that distributing videos on social media lets you explore various content formats. Examples include Facebook Live, Instagram Reels, and Snapchat Stories.

Most social media platforms give you access to basic audience data, including their age group, location, gender, and online activity. You can leverage third-party analytics tools to get more in-depth data. Also, you can use audience engagement data to identify your best-performing content and double down on it.

Leverage OTT Content Aggregators

OTT content aggregators give viewers access to multiple streaming platforms. They're primarily of two types: subscription video on demand (SVOD) and advertising video on demand (AVOD). 

  • SVOD aggregators either include content from other platforms in their subscription plans (Peacock) or offer add-on subscriptions for each service the users want to access (YouTube). 
  • AVOD aggregators allow users to watch content from various sources for free in exchange for watching ads. The fresh content builds their audience, driving up their ad revenues.

It eliminates users needing to download several OTT apps and manage multiple subscriptions. Popular examples include Prime Video Channels, The Roku Channel, and Apple TV.

With third-party content aggregators, it becomes easier to reach a broad audience. You don't have to spend a ton on marketing or customer retention. The aggregator does that on your behalf.

For instance, when you publish your content on Prime Video Channels, any Amazon Prime Video subscriber can watch your videos. You don't have to worry about publishing and monitoring your content. It can be a beneficial way to distribute video content if you're trying to build credibility and trust as a new content creator.

Don't Ignore vMVPDs

Virtual Multichannel Video Programming Distributors, or vMVPDs, are OTT broadcast services that deliver TV channels via the Internet. In other words, with vMVPDs, users don't need a cable connection to access their favorite TV channels. They can watch them all on their smart TV.

vMVPDs are the preferred choice for new cord-cutters who want to retain the familiarity of watching cable TV, albeit at a lower price point. Also, they're a favorite among OTT service users plagued with choice paralysis and subscription fatigue. It's no surprise that the vMVPD subscriber base in the US will grow to 23 million by next year. 

And that makes vMVPDs like YouTube TV, Sling TV, fubo, and Hulu + Live TV excellent video content distribution platforms. They enable you to reach viewers beyond social media and streaming services. Many vMVPDs also support ad breaks, allowing you to generate additional revenue from advertising.

Comparing Different Ways to Distribute Video Content

Each video distribution technique we've discussed in this article offers unique benefits. An O&O streaming app lets you control the viewing experience and monetization options. But creating, launching, and promoting your app can take time and effort.

Social media platforms provide a more cost-effective and accessible way to distribute videos. But you only have a few options to monetize your content and you don’t get to decide how your videos are presented to users.

Besides, platforms like Instagram and TikTok may not be ideal for distributing long-form video content. A survey by TikTok revealed that nearly half of the platform's users didn't enjoy watching videos that were longer than a minute.

Video content distribution platforms like third-party aggregators and vMVPDs allow you to reach a vast audience without spending a fortune on marketing. You even get access to additional income streams without the rigorous process of starting a streaming service.

But these platforms lack the transparency of first-party user data that comes with an O&O app. They don't provide you with ample scope for brand building.

Choosing Your Distribution Method

You must consider the following factors to choose the right ways to distribute video content:

  • Target audience
  • Business goals
  • Marketing budget

For instance, if you're looking to attract traditional TV viewers, vMVPDs might be your right distribution channel. On the other hand, investing in an O&O streaming app would be the right choice if you want to build a thriving video business.

Additionally, combining different video content distribution platforms is a good idea. For instance, you could publish your content simultaneously on your branded OTT app and third-party aggregators to maximize traction. 

You could even turn long videos into short, snackable clips and upload them on Instagram or Facebook. These clips will give your audience a sneak peek into the content and compel them to watch the full video on your OTT app.

Maximize Reach and Revenue with Strategic Video Distribution

The landscape of video content distribution platforms is fast evolving. Third-party content aggregators, vMVPDs, O&O apps, and social networking sites are some of the best ways to distribute videos in 2023. However, staying on top of the latest trends and harnessing emerging platforms to reach your target viewers at the right time is crucial.

A well-planned content distribution strategy is critical to ensure you get the best results possible.

Looking to distribute videos through an owned and operated streaming service? Download our free guide to launching OTT apps to learn more.



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