Video Monetization

The Scariest VOD Recipe For Disaster – Halloween Edition

By Peri Elmokadem
8 Min Read
vod recipe for disaster halloween

Grab your cauldron.

Because in the spirit of Halloween, we’re about to whip up a crazy VOD recipe for disaster!

Today we are going to look at the common dangerous mistakes people make with their VOD businesses and how doing the same can send your business into total doom.

Let’s get into it…

1. Having A Super Slow Video Streaming Website

Slow VOD websites can cost you lots of money. 

People don’t like to wait around. They want their content and they want it now. So, the longer they spend looking at a loading screen, the less time and money they’ll spend on your site.

Reports suggest that a one-second loss in site speed can decrease your conversions by up to seven percent. Why?


Slowness is especially a problem if you have customers on mobile platforms. So much so that Google has created a tool to illustrate just how much money it can cost you. 

slow website google

If you feel like a slow website might be holding back your VOD website, you can learn more about how to optimize your video website for speed (and SEO) right here.

2. Not Having A Clear Niche

Niching down can be scary.

It feels counter-intuitive to say, “my business only does this!”. It’s as though you are closing the door to lots of potential future customers. 

But having a niche is exactly what earns you money and builds community.

Setting out your stall and saying…

“This is who we are. This is what we’re good at. This is who we’re doing it for. If you’re into it, we’d love to hear from you.”

… can set you apart from the competition and galvanize people around your cause.

Here’s a quick exercise. Think of your five favorite brands right now. They can be in video or clothing or tech or anything. Now, think about what that brand says to you.

There’s a good chance each of them:

  • Does something specific (reviews products, makes jeans, roasts coffee)
  • For a specific group of people (millennials, hipsters, punk-rockers)
  • Stands against something (poorly fitting clothes, the status-quo, exploitation of workers)
  • Offers an exact solution (buy our product and “_____” problem will go away)

To give you a more tangible example, let’s look at Foodable.


Foodable is made for food lovers and chefs by food lovers and chefs. If you are not in (or interested in) the industry, their brand isn’t for you.

By niching down to focus on a specific demographic, they can deeply explore the topics that matter to them, such as:

  • Restaurant-specific business tips
  • Relevant industry trends
  • Expert-level recipes and tutorials

This niching puts them at the opposite end of the spectrum to a brand like Tasty that appeals to casual cooks with no plans to open a restaurant.

You can learn more about niching down by checking out our niche brainstorming guide here. But, before you click to go there, read the second reason why your niche is so crucial.

3. Creating A “Nobody” Brand

VOD websites without a niche often create a “nobody” brand.

A nameless, faceless, generic brand that’s as sad as a weak Halloween costume that no one gets:

While “nobody” brands are okay for day-to-day items like salt, toilet roll, and bread, they can be damaging to a VOD business. Why?

Subscribers are looking for a brand that speaks to them. That says something. That makes them feel like they belong.

If nothing else it gives them a reason to choose you over every other content creator out there. It acts as a quasi-filter.

You can see the impact of this brand filter on your everyday life. If you like:

  • Spotify, you probably don’t spend much time worrying about where to get music
  • Levis, you don’t spend much time thinking about other brands of jeans
  • Starbucks, you don’t overthink where to buy your morning coffee

Creating this brand can feel daunting, but it needn’t be. We’ve got you covered with our in-depth guide to branding your VOD website right here.

4. Not Offering A Free Trial

When we examined our 1.1 million subscribers we found that free trials were a game-changer for your income.

VOD websites that offer a seven- to 14-day free trial:

  • Convert more users
  • Earn more money

For example, in the health and fitness niche, content creators who offer free trials earn at least 45% more than their non-free trial offering counterparts.

The increase is because 52% of users who sign up for a free trial convert into paying customers. It gives them a no-risk way to see just how brilliant your content is.

And, once they realize that, they’re going to stick around for a long time! 

You can learn more about why free content is effective, and how to use it yourself, by reading our free guide right here

5. Ignoring The Power Of Thumbnails

Thumbnails are the single most important part of your video content. Yeah, even more, important than the content itself. Why?

Because they work as a gateway to your content. People will judge whether your content is worth their time based on the thumbnail you present them with.

As such, your thumbnails need to be:

  • Enticing
  • Intriguing
  • Accurate
  • Emotionally-driven

One of the best ways to understand the power of thumbnails is to look through YouTube. Scroll through your feed and make a note of the videos you would and wouldn’t watch.

Rijkstube, from Amsterdam’s Rijksmuseum, does this expertly by using pop-culture images tied into their channels eternal question, “Is this art?”


To shed some more light on why thumbnails are so important, and how to create your own, I’m going to hand you over to resident YouTuber, Nick Nimmin:

6. Having An Unsecure Site And Payment Gateway

It’s almost 2020.

People happily pay for things over the internet. It’s as commonplace as in the supermarket, gas station, or department store.

But they are only willing to do so if they feel safe and secure in doing so. Nobody wants to get scammed or have their payment info in the hands of some guy on the dark web.

Is there anything scarier than that?

There are two types of security your VOD site needs to have:

  1. HTTPs: this shows your site is secure and verified
  2. Payment Gateway: this shows users can safely make purchases

You need both of these to have a successful online business. 

If you don’t have HTTPs, search engines will warn users about visiting your site with a message like this:

Privacy error

This will prompt many users to leave your site before they even see your homepage.

And, if you don’t have a protected payment gateway, potential customers are less likely to buy from you, because they cannot ensure their details will be kept safe. Few people take this risk.

That’s why we offer security as standard on our Uscreen platform. Learn more about that right here.

7. Not Having A Responsive Website

We are in an internet era called Post-Mobilegeddon.

It’s a time where more people use smartphones to access websites and content than their desktop or laptop computer. Crazy, right? 

Mobile usage is a trend that is not likely to go away. It’s become such an important part of the online world that Google has started to index websites based on their mobile versions.

Because of this, your website needs to have a responsive design that subscribers can view on:

  • Mobile
  • Tablet
  • Desktop

Without it, you risk getting left behind.

That is why we have worked with a team of forward-thinking developers to create a database of responsive website templates you can use to build your website.

8. Overwhelming Your Users With Content

When you launch your SVOD, there’s a feeling of pressure to always be creating and publishing new content. It sets in when you launch, and never really goes away.

But there’s good news. You don’t need to be! Creating too much content can lead (or contribute) to your subscribers experiencing content shock

Content shock is a state of overwhelm that subscribers experience when they have more content to consume than time to watch it. Its symptoms include:

  • Stress
  • Anxiety 
  • Indecisiveness
  • Unfulfillment

Instead, it’s better to find a “comfortable limit” of content. One that is manageable for your subscribers and doesn’t overwhelm them.

You can learn more about content shock and how to manage it in our guide right here.

9. Neglecting Your Community

As a VOD business owner, you’re always marketing. You want to figure out where your next subscribers will come from, to ensure you grow and thrive in the future.

But it’s just as important to take the time to nurture and interact with your existing audience. After all, it’s easier to keep a subscriber than it is to find a new one. 

Engaging with your community can also lead to marketing benefits. If your existing customers are satisfied and engaged, they are likely to:

  • Talk openly about why they bought
  • Provide word-of-mouth referrals
  • Write (or record) testimonials
  • Leave public reviews

All of which are priceless when it comes to gaining new customers.

Because we know how crucial this is, we’ve created an easy-to-follow guide on reaching, growing, and nurturing your community right here.

10: Not Offering Categories And Filters

The best VOD websites make content simple to find.

They have an easy-to-navigate structure that puts as little distance between you, and the content you want to watch, as possible.

Think about Netflix. Their content is really easy to find. They split it into lots of different categories, sub-categories, and filters.

vod categories

Here’s a simple example of how that might look:

  • Films:
    • Action & Adventure
    • Drama
    • Thriller
    • Investigation
    • Documentary
  • TV
    • Crime
      • Thriller
      • Real World Comedy
    • American TV
      • Comedies
      • Drama
      • Based On Books
    • International TV

You can apply this type of structure to any video website, no matter how much content you have or how many (or few) topics you discuss.

Not having these can make your website less user-friendly and cause people to cancel their subscriptions, simply because they can’t find the content they’re looking for.

You can learn more about how to create and set up filters and categories in this post here.

Wrapping This Up…

There you have it. The ten ingredient recipe for VOD disaster. Here’s each of them one more time:

  1. Having a super slow video streaming website
  2. Not offering a free trial
  3. Not having a clear niche
  4. Creating a “nobody” brand
  5. Ignoring the power of thumbnails
  6. Having an unsecured site and payment gateway
  7. Not having a responsive design
  8. Overwhelming your users with content
  9. Neglecting your community
  10. Not offering categories and filters

The OTT Digital Gold Rush

Why Now Is The Best Time To Launch OTT Apps

OTT apps digital gold fever