Why you should opt for an open source video CMS instead of a SaaS platform - Social Media Explorer
Why you should opt for an open source video CMS instead of a SaaS platform
Why you should opt for an open source video CMS instead of a SaaS platform

If you are reading this article, you probably want to integrate a video CMS for your organization or have an idea of launching a video streaming service. By this time, you might have come across many software solutions claiming to give a kick start to your cause. You might be wondering which one to choose. Is it better to use an Open Source video CMS, or should I go for a SaaS platform?

Is that what you are wondering?

If yes, keep reading because this article mainly aims at clearing the same dilemma. We will follow the best approach of clearing a dilemma that is, providing unbiased information about all the choices and let you lock the best fitting option according to your aims and objectives. So let’s start from the very basic.

What is a video CMS?

A video content management system, or simply call a video CMS is a ready-made videos sharing script, developed for managing the video content and its distribution across the web. A content management system (CMS) as an individual software lets a power user perform all the functionalities required for content creation, distribution, and organization. Similarly, a video CMS is an especially designed platform for performing the same set of actions for video content.

What’s the difference between a CMS and a video CMS?

There is a huge difference between the types of content being processed by the two types of software. A CMS, in general, is a tool for text and images based content management. However, as the name suggests, there is video attached to the term video sharing CMS. Both the solutions function in different ways and the way video and text-based content are distributed and browsed is also different.

For example, there are dissimilar tools for text and video content creation. There are different networks for text and video content distribution. And there are a different set of requirements for the web browsers and devices to load text and video-based content.  

What’s the difference between SaaS and Open source model?

The difference between a SaaS and Open source software can be seen as the differences in the ways different software vendors earn from their solutions. It can also be seen as the differences in the business models of different software vendors to handover software after getting paid for it.  

SaaS (software as a Service) is simply leasing software to a client for a specific period and bound the usage in terms of contracts and fair use policies. The client does not own the software but buys the rights to use it in return to the monthly, weekly, or yearly subscription charges. To prevent the software from getting copied or pirated vendors generally make the SaaS solutions close-source. That is, the client does not have access to the codes of the software.

On the other hand, an Open source software is mainly based on buy-to-own model, where the client gets access to the code. As you own the software, you do not need to subscribe to any recurring plan. Such open source solutions are generally distributed and regulated under a GNU General Public License. According to GNU GPL, you can use, share, and customize the software in any ways you like, as long as the original developer is getting the explicit credit.

Which is better- SaaS or an Open source video sharing script?

Video sharing CMS distributed on both models possess their own set of ups and downs. Depending on your business model, budget, manpower, and set of requirements, you can compare the pros and cons of both to select the best-suited option for your cause. Here is a list of the pros and cons of SaaS and open-source video content management systems for you to consider to create a video sharing website like YouTube.

Pros of SaaS-based video CMS

  • Innovative technology

SaaS solutions are generally developed by vendors with great infrastructure. They possess all the resources and manpower required to develop and distribute the solutions. With a great team, they can offer the best of the solutions made after years of research and development.

  • Easy to Manage

These solutions offer graphical UI for the Admins to customize and manage the platforms. As an admin, you don’t need to be an expert coder to upload and distribute videos. Just the basic computer skills and experience with general CMS (like WordPress) is enough to understand the technicalities.

  • Abundant Resources

The great infrastructure and men power also enables the SaaS vendors to deploy abundant resources on the cloud for assisting the clients. They possess all set of documentation, knowledge base and training assistance required from deployment to the maintenance phase.  

  • Pre-developed

You don’t require to play with the codes to add a new feature. The vendors regularly update their software and let all the clients’ benefits from them through a central location. In fact, you would find most of the required features already available in the base script or as a paid add-on.  

  • Integrated CRM

The SaaS vendors typically make their software compatible with all the popular third-party integrations. You would find add-ons developed for almost every popular CRM you wish to integrate into your video sharing platform.

  • Integrated tools

Comes pre-integrated with all the tools required for editing, sharing, and organization of video content. For example, you might find Google Analytics, or work-flow management tools in-built.  

  • Ready-made APIs

You don’t need to integrate any heavy code on your existing website to integrate a SaaS-based video CMS. They offer ready-made API, which you can integrate into your existing website, CMS, or ERP. After that, you can access a central dashboard on the web to manage your videos.

  • Faster deployment

Comparatively, SaaS-based solutions are easy and faster to deploy as you don’t have to waste your time and effort playing with the codes.

  • No in-house team required

As the vendors manage the codes, updates, and upgrades, you don’t require to hire an in-house team to manage the same. With minor training, your existing team can easily learn the software and its management skills.

  • Lower up-front cost

You don’t need paying higher upfront cost in buying software when you can rent one. This is a good option for start-ups as they might not possess enough assets to own expensive software and its management complexities (infrastructure and men power).  

Cons of SaaS-based video CMS

  • No ownership

You don’t own a SaaS-based video CMS, you just rent it. The ownership and rights to distribute it is still possessed by the vendor.

  • No portability

Generally, these solutions are developed on private frameworks, which are different from other vendors. As a result, due to any random reason, if you wish to port the existing platform to any other software, you cannot do that. You have to again start from scratch.

  • Higher cost in the long run

Though you might find the lower subscription rates affordable, they eventually become broad as the time passes. The vendor may increase the subscription cost or charge profoundly for the customizations. Moreover, if you pile up the subscription cost, it is actually much higher than what you can save and utilize to own software for good.  

  • No customization

You are dependent on the vendor for every sort of customization required. You cannot edit the codes as per your requirement. You have to deal with whatever features you are getting as in-built.

  • Over-dependence on vendor

This over-dependence on the vendors makes you paralyzed. You have to contact with the customer support for even the minor changes you wish for or for troubleshooting an error. In the meantime, you might lose a great deal of business due to this dependability.

  • Limited third-party integrations

You are bound to use the ready-made APIs and Add-ons being offered by the vendors. You cannot integrate any third-party tool of your choice.

  • Limited third-party experts

As these are closed-source, third-party developers don’t have knowledge about the frameworks being used for development. As a result, they cannot offer any assistance during the desperate times.

  • No white label

Most of the SaaS solutions do not allow the clients to re-brand the interface. You would have to use the platform under a brand different from your own brand.

  • Cannot choose the hosting server

They offer their own cloud hosting, CDN, and video streaming engines. You don’t get to choose your own preference for any of them.

  • Cannot choose payment gateways

They offer integrated payment gateways. You don’t get to choose your preferred payment gateway.

  • Cannot choose revenue models

They offer integrated revenue models. You don’t get to modify the same to match according to your custom business plan.

Pros of Open source video CMS

  • Complete access to codes

You get access to the codes and all the benefits coming through it.

  • Higher customizability

Access to the codes allows you and your in-house developers to customize your video sharing platform the way you want.

  • Modular approach

Open source video sharing scripts are developed on the popular frameworks and programming languages. They have enough online resources to let any developer learn the same and develop custom modules to be integrated into the existing system.

  • Affinity to third-party integrations

As you have the codes, you can always tweak it to integrate the video sharing platform with popular third-party solutions. For example, you might want to integrate a third-party payment gateway.  

  • Pay-to-own model

You don’t need to pay recurring charges. With one-time fixed cost, you can buy the software for your own and get all the rights to edit and distribute the software as long as you are complying with the fair use policies.

  • Abundant third-party developers

With open-source, open resources, and abundant documentation, any third-party developer can learn to code for your video sharing platform.

  • Complete Privacy  

You are not dependent on the vendors for every sort of modification or troubleshooting on your video streaming script. As a result, you don’t need to share your website private data like dashboard access with the developers. You can always maintain a replica of the existing site and get the developments done there. Later you can apply the same codes on the production site to commit the modifications.

  • White label

The complete access to codes let you customize the UI the way you want. As a result, you can remove the vendor’s branding and tweak the UI to match your own brand. Moreover, you get the power to choose your own hosting server, video streaming engine, CDN, Payment gateways and revenue generation models.  

Cons of Open source video CMS

  • Complex deployment

The access to code comes with a price. They deployment is comparatively complex and takes some time.

  • Technical skills required

The codes are exposed for general use. As a result, you don’t want a person with no coding skills to access the same. You would always need technical expertise to handle the codes on your own.

  • Higher upfront cost

It is costly to buy the software at once. Moreover, you have to pay to the in-house, third-party, or the vendor for every other customization you wish to make.

  • Risky for beginners

Not recommended for the entrepreneurs with no coding skill or who cannot afford to hire an in-house developer. At least you must possess the budget to outsource the development if you cannot hire an in-house developer.

A solution that falls in the middle- Turnkey model

What if I told you there is a way to avoid all the downsides of a SaaS-based solution and get the benefits of both in the third type of video sharing CMS?

Yes. There is a way called Turnkey open sources solution. Such solutions are ready-made software just like SaaS but are offered to the clients as Open-source. That means you get all the benefits coming with an open-source software with the simplicity and rapidness of the deployment at the same time. These are also called as clone scripts of popular video sharing platforms in the market.

For example, if you are impressed with Netflix’s UI, features, and revenue models, you can buy a Turnkey Netflix clone and start a similar video streaming platform on the go. If YouTube’s model is best fitting your requirement, you can go for YouTube clone script. The advantage of such solutions is that like SaaS, you can set up your website in few hours; like video CMS open source, you get the code accessibility to customize the UI, Payment gateways, revenue models and many more.

A turnkey video streaming script is indeed the solution you might want to go for. However, this article has already offered the information you need for making an informed choice. You can select any of the threes depending on your requirements, budget, team-size, skill-level, and business model you entice for.

About the Author

Adam is an owner at Nanohydr8. He really loves comedy and satire, and the written word in general.

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