Platforms and case studies

You, the publisher, have full control over the price you charge for content on all the platforms listed below. The platforms also have their own built-in security to prevent users from downloading or recording videos. Most platforms will require you to set up a payment gateway, such as Stripe, but in most cases they provide tutorials on how to do this and all allow you to choose the currency.

Vimeo OTT

Vimeo OTT offers arts organisations a solution for creating their own video subscription service (SVOD) and/or pay-per-view model (TVOD). Arts organisations who have used Vimeo OTT include English National Ballet, the Royal Opera House and the National Theatre.

 

English National Ballet chose to use Vimeo OTT for ENB at Home, which was launched during the pandemic. Kamilah Downing, Head of Digital at ENB, said the organisation chose to use the platform “at a time when many new on-demand platforms were emerging online, so it was important for us to get to market quickly in a crowded marketplace with a product that was customisable to ENB’s brand, while offering the streaming functionality that customers expect. We were confident that the product would grow, underpinned by Vimeo’s technology and support.”

 

ENB at Home makes use of the SVOD and TVOD functions – using SVOD for BalletActive and TVOD for Ballet on Demand.

 

A bare chested male dancer holds out his arms. English National Ballet at Home
English National Ballet at Home

 

Vimeo OTT is a sophisticated, user-friendly solution that is typically suited to arts organisations that are able to make a significant investment in publishing and monetising their existing catalogues and new, livestreamed content. It currently offers several different pricing models, including a basic level – suited to first-time publishers – and an enterprise level – which includes a set-up fee plus a per transaction commission, or an annual subscription. Many factors, such as the quantity of content, will impact this.

Overture+

Overture+ offers a white label solution (where a third-party provider offers a platform that can be branded as your own) or pay-per-view (TVOD) and subscription (SVOD) models.

 

Derry Playhouse began using Overture+ after making the commitment to having all of their work livestreamed, as a result of changing audience habits during the pandemic. Áine McCarron, Communications Director at the Playhouse, said “due to the number of streams we were running, the investment in a good platform was important to us. The most important things to consider were having a team that was on hand to set-up the platform, and if anything went wrong – we’re a small team, so having extra help, or someone to talk in the run-up to a live broadcast takes the stress off. Price was a factor (it’s pay-as-you-go*, based on ticket sales) as was integration with our box office.”

 

The team also use the service to sell shows on others’ behalf, which is increasingly popular for receiving houses, and digital tours. “The Derry Feis recorded their final concert and wanted to charge people to watch online. All we needed was to set up the event in Spektrix as an online event, and audiences received a link to watch the show on Overture. Very handy.”

 

Spotlights shine through the dark. Text reads 'stream content securely'
Overture + streaming platform

 

Other arts organisations that have used Overture+ include the MAC in Belfast, and Theatre Royal Bury St Edmunds.

 

*Overture+ has a $500 set-up cost, redeemable against the first month’s bill. Once you have exceeded $500 in billable reservations, pricing becomes pay-as-you-go.

 

Streaming Video Provider is an example of another platform with similar functionality to Overture+. It is currently used by Ballet Black.

TicketCo

TicketCo is a pay-per-view (TVOD) platform, typically used by smaller or mid-scale arts organisations looking for a cost-effective solution for live-streamed content. It works on a commission model, so the company takes a percentage of each ticket sale – and it does not have rolling fees or set-up costs. If your tickets are free, the platform is free to use.

 

The Story Museum in Oxford uses TicketCo for its programme of livestreams. Sophie Hiscock, Director of Communications and Impact, said they chose the platform as it was important to them to have a competitively priced streaming provider that worked on a commission model (rather than set-up costs or rolling fees), that would integrate with their box office system (Spektrix) so that they could capture ticket buyer data.

 

TicketCo offers various support packages depending on the scale of your event, so it’s important to factor in and communicate the level of assistance your organisation will need in terms of technical support and customer service, if working for a small team.

 

Bespoke Platform via Web Developer

One option for self-publishing work is to create a bespoke website with a web developer. Dance company Rambert took this approach, after initially setting up with a white label system during the pandemic.

 

Jo Taylor, Director of Audiences, shared their experience. “We’re using WordPress to make a bespoke website and have hired HdK to build it.  This was an affordable option, HdK have applied our branding particularly successfully, we have a huge amount of content (a lot of it sits in Vimeo) and it links with our CRM^ system. It gives us all the flexibility we need.

 

We tested this concept with a bespoke tech stack which proved that there was a role for this to play in our strategy. But in order to scale it and exploit the opportunity we needed a much more responsive, easy to use backend that would also give users a beautiful brand experience and improved user experience.”

 

The company uses a mixed model (SVOD and TVOD); while anyone can join for free for much of the content, there are occasionally full livestreams and video on demand available as a one-off purchase, and for £8.99 per month subscription you can access hundreds of on-demand dance classes, many taught by Rambert’s dancers.

 

One of the benefits to this approach is flexibility. “Working with HdK on a Wordpress platform has given us a truly flexible site that we can adjust easily in no time at all (we constantly AB test and optimise). In particular, as we go into a phase of growing class subscription through paid digital we can create and turn on new landing pages (bespoke to campaigns), and as we learn how subscribers are using the service we can improve the classes section, improving labelling, filtering and functionality like “save for later” and favourites.”

 

This tailored approach can be a great fit for organisations making sizeable time investment to self-publishing, but upfront expectations around resource seem to be key. “The only downside is we’ve built a site that had so many ways we can improve the service, we might not have their capacity to exploit them all to the fullest. Great to have functionality we can use when there is time and grow into when we get better!”

 

Small windows of text and images of dance scenes
Rambert +

 

Price comparison

Vimeo OTT Overture+ TicketCo Bespoke
Price** £-£££ ££ £ £-£££
Embeddable video links x x ✓**
Dedicated microsite ✓**
Branding options ✓**
E-news sign up options x x ✓**
TVOD ✓**
SVOD x x ✓**
Live Streaming ✓**
CRM integration*** ✓**

 

**Pricing can depend on the scale of organisations’ needs. This guide has taken into account set-up costs, subscription fees, and rate of commission. It is best to contact the provider directly for up-to-date pricing tailored to your requirements.

 

*** A bespoke option will depend on what features your web developer/other provider is able to supply.

 

CRM – Customer Relationship Management system – for example, Tessitura or Spektrix. There are multiple levels of box office integration available, from importing new customer data back to your CRM, to adding upselling and donations and allowing the CRM to handle payments. Your CRM provider will be able to provide a (non-exhaustive) list of platforms that are compatible.