We have clients that require production and distribution of video content.  There are many providers and options for both manufacturing and distribution.

Having spent some time comparing some of the leaders in this area, here’s some of what we learned.

Comparison Grid

Terms

Manufacturing – A DVD / Bluray manufacturer may produce in bulk with minimum quantities, or on-demand with no minimums.  Typically, on-demand can cost 2-3 x bulk.  But, you do not need to order in large quantities.

Streaming – In this case, we are not considering freely accessible streaming like YouTube’s open service.  In this case, a streaming service will host the video file, but also ensure that the purchaser or renter is the only party able to view the video, and for only the agreed upon amount of time.

Subscriptions – Subscriptions are valuable if you have a channel of ongoing video content.  Subscriptions imply a promise of continuous content at or above the current level of quality.  Subscriptions typically only provide access during the subscription period.  Access is revoked after the subscription period is over.

Provides Store – Not all distributors provide the front-end customer experience for you.  If the distributor does not provide a store for you, you will need to set up your own purchasing mechanism to sell your product.  In this case, the distributor is a back-end delivery service only.

UPC Assigned – UPC codes are what makes the retail world go ’round.  If your manufacturer will assign a UPC code for your product, you can then place your product in traditional retail stores.  Target or Walmart will require a valid UPC code to integrate with their point of sale systems. UPC codes are not impossible to do yourself, but would be a major headache if done incorrectly.

Payments – If the distributor is taking money from customers on your behalf, you will need to know how often you get paid.  Some are monthly, some weekly, and some initiate a transfer nightly.  Transfers usually take 2 days to reach your own bank account.

Customer Service – Occasionally, when a distributor ships a product, it can be refused by the customer, a bad address, or there could be a damaged package.  Some distributors provide limited customer service, ensuring delivery and coordinating refunds.