Selling streaming video-on-demand (VOD) with Sellfy

In this article:

What is VOD?

Video on demand (VOD) means a video product that can be streamed. It allows your customer to watch a video without downloading it to a device, first. With the video streaming option, the content stays on the platform. Your customers can enjoy watching the video at any time by pressing the play button. Offering a video as a streaming file can be convenient and time-saving for your customers.
Offering streaming video may be a preferred option for several reasons:
  • It reduces the risk of piracy for your products
  • It allows the customer to watch the purchase immediately
  • It's easier for customers using mobile devices and tablets
  • It eliminates download issues and the need to save the file

Note: Video files are set as downloadable or available for download by default. If you want customers to have the option to stream the video too, you can select both options Downloadable and Streamable for your product. 

How do I make my videos streamable?

When uploading a new video product to your store, you will have the default choice of adding it as a downloadable product only, or you can include the additional option to allow the file to be streamable.
To offer video streaming for a product, you'll need to:
  1. Navigate to Products > Add new product OR choose an existing product
  2. Upload your video product file
  3. Choose from file options: Downloadable, Streamable, or both 
  4. Click Save product

Note: We recommend using the .mp4 format for video files.

What does the video streaming page look like?

The purchase process is the same for all customers. After placing an order on your site, customers will be directed to the order confirmation page, and they will also receive an email with the purchase page link. On the order confirmation page, they will see a play button and/or a download button. To stream the video, customers need to press the play button. 
The streaming video player will appear on the same page and begin to play. See a demonstration below.
Here is an example of a product that allows downloading and streaming.
In contrast, this is what the page looks like with the streaming only.

Important!  Each streaming video link will be active for 5 uses. This means the buyer can access the purchase link with the streaming video to watch it 5 times. After the access limit runs out the play button will be disabled. If you set the product to the download and stream option, the buyer will have a combined total of 5 downloads and streaming views per product. For example, buyers can watch the video 2 times and then have 3 attempts left to download it.

Can I use the streaming feature for audio, like audiobooks?

Yes, it is possible to offer your audio products through streaming, but it needs to be in a video file format.

So, if you have audio content that you'd like to offer through the streaming option, you'll need to convert it from an audio file to a video file. This would be a similar idea to adding a video to YouTube. You could create a nice thumbnail or visual to accompany the audio and save it as one of the supported "input codecs" (seen in the next article), such as an .mp4. 

Then, upload the file to your product, enable streaming and save!

Supported input codecs and containers

Container Video Codecs Supported with Container
No Container DV/DVCPRO, AVC (H.264), HEVC (H.265), MPEG-1, MPEG-2
3G2 AVC (H.264), H.263, MPEG-4 part 2
3GP AVC (H.264), H.263, MPEG-4 part 2
Audio Video Interleave (AVI) Uncompressed, Canopus HQ, DivX/Xvid, DV/DVCPRO
Adobe Flash AVC (H.264), Flash 9 File, H.263
Matroska AVC (H.264), PCM, MPEG-2, MPEG-4 part 2, VC-1
IMF Apple ProRes, JPEG 2000 (J2K)
MPEG Transport Streams AVC (H.264), HEVC (H.265), MPEG-2, VC-1
MPEG-1 System Streams MPEG-1, MPEG-2
MPEG-4 Uncompressed, AVC Intra 50/100, DivX/Xvid, H.261, H.262, H.263, AVC (H.264), HEVC (H.265), JPEG 2000, MPEG-2, MPEG-4 part 2, VC-1
MXF Uncompressed, Apple ProRes ( supported types), AVC Intra 50/100, DNxHD, DV/DVCPRO, DV25, DV50, DVCPro HD, AVC (H.264), JPEG 2000 (J2K), MPEG-2, Panasonic P2, SonyXDCam, SonyXDCam MPEG-4 Proxy
QuickTime Uncompressed, Apple ProRes ( supported types), AVC Intra 50/100, DivX/Xvid, DV/DVCPRO, H.261, H.262, H.263, AVC (H.264), HEVC (H.265), JPEG 2000 (J2K), MJPEG, MPEG-2, MPEG-4 part 2, QuickTime Animation (RLE)
WebM VP8, VP9

FAQs about VOD

Q: I already uploaded my video to Sellfy before the streaming option was available. Can my customers who had already purchased the video stream it now?
A: Yes! You can update any existing video file to offer the streaming option as well. See more here.
Q: Does the streaming feature support high-quality video?
A: Yes! The streaming capabilities will support high-quality video up to 720p. Just remember that large file sizes are more difficult for customers to download if you offer the product for download as well.
Q: Can I limit the number of times that someone can watch or stream their videos?
A: The number of views for your streaming product (if watched from different devices) is limited to 5, as with downloads. Then, if the customer uses the secure link reset process, they can get more views for their video. If the customer accesses the streaming option with the same device, their views are not limited.
Q: Can I offer live video streaming?
A: No, you'll upload an already created video file when making a streamable product. It's not possible to stream a live video.
Q: Is it possible to enable streaming for all video products with one click instead of having to manually add for each video?
A: You'll need to update and save each product individually. It's not possible to turn the feature on for all products. 
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