What Is a Video Content Management System (CMS) and How to Choose One for Your Business?

We have come quite far in the landscape of video content creation and distribution. Today, videos comprise a majority of the internet and they are being appreciated by the content creators and consumers with the same intensity.

What is a Video Content Management System

Especially, when you are in the business of video production and distribution, or when videos represent a major proportion of all your efforts in digital marketing for business, it is a must to possess the best of bests solution to:

  • create,
  • store,
  • organize,
  • distribute, and
  • monetize your videos.

For instance, YouTube serves billions of hours of video content daily to billions of individuals. There are billions of users, millions of channels, thousands of complex features, monetization rules, legal aspects, digital rights management, and many more factors working in the background to make YouTube’s platforms so efficient.

To manage these important tasks, YouTube and thousands of much more businesses rely on video content management systems (video CMS). These solutions enable content broadcasters like YouTube and other businesses, who use videos in some of the other forms, not only to manage their content repositories efficiently but also to reach content distribution and monetization goals seamlessly.

This post will explain what is a video CMS, and how you can choose a suitable video CMS for yourself according to your needs and objectives. This information will also equip you with enough knowledge to figure out how to make a website like YouTube in case you looking to build a video CMS of your own.

Let’s start with the fundamentals

What is video content management?

Video content management is a process of storing, organizing, distributing, and monetizing your videos in the most seamless ways possible. It is done with the help of software solutions, which provide different ways of meeting your objectives. We call them video content management systems, or simply video CMS.

What makes a typical video CMS?

Depending on the features and available functionalities, video CMS is also called with the names like video hosting CMS and video streaming CMS. A typical video CMS is used for storing and organizing video content (and all other forms of associated content such as images, descriptions, keywords, tags, meta content), but the features can also extend to hosting, streaming, and monetization of video content.

For example:

  • Storage and Organization: Upload, bulk upload, indexing, searching, keywords, tags, and description, keywords, etc.
  • Distribution: Streaming, playback, embedding, social sharing, digital rights management, user management, engagement analytics, etc.
  • Monetization: Pay-per-view (TVOD), subscription video-on-demand (SVOD), pay-per-download, ads-based video-on-demand (AVOD), etc.

A video CMS is comparable to a Library. It’s a complete system that manages how you store the books, organize into groups, index and search certain books, lend books, manage library membership, track rented books, and maintain balance sheets, etc. Like a library management system, having a central video CMS makes managing all these tasks a lot easier for video management.

How does a video CMS work?

As explained earlier, the basic functionalities of a video CMS include storage, organization, and categorization of both your RAW and edited video content. However, due to extreme competition in the market, video CMS providers have now been increasing including video streaming and video monetization features as well in the solutions.

An efficient video CMS although focuses more on storage and organization, some solutions even store technical information such as the model of the camera using which a video was shot. In short, the most critical task of a video CMS is to organize the stored files in a manner that an authorized user can traverse the entire library to find precise content when needed.

For example, from a library of thousands of videos and hundreds of interview videos stored in your system, you may want to find a video interview that you recorded a year ago. If you have been managing your videos using a video CMS, the platform takes no time to fetch you the precise video based on the information you have provided while storing it in your system. The range of information may include, file name, camera model, date of upload, date of recording, meta tags, keywords, content description, featured people in the video, etc.

On the other hand, an advanced video CMS with streaming capabilities may possess consumer-facing features in addition to the explained above capabilities.

For example, if you have been watching the same video interview, the CMS may analyze your streaming behavior, and based on the metadata, it can suggest other similar videos to watch. Do you not wonder how Netflix analyses that you have been watching ‘Friends’, and gives you suggestions to also watch ‘The Big Bang Theory? It’s all due to Netflix’s cutting-edge video CMS.

It does not matter whether you are using videos for internal purposes within your organization, for running a video streaming business like Netflix, or for managing your business live streams, a video CMS is always a necessity for driving desired results.

What features to look for in a good video CMS?

We have already discussed several required features in this post, let’s organize some more information for a consolidated view. However, I would also like to clarify that not all video CMS is made with similar objectives. So, depending on the level of requirements, the complexity of the organization, and business objectives, each video CMS in the market is unique in its own way.

For example, some people may be looking for a solution to only store and organize the videos, while some people may want to also publish, distribute, and monetize their videos using the same solution. An enterprise-grade video CMS allows you to accommodate all these features based on your requirements. Besides, some basic features are non-negotiable. The following features are a must in all kinds of situations:

  • Bulk Upload: The ability to upload multiple videos at a time, but without compromising on the user experience that an uploader gets while uploading videos individually. For example, if the individual uploads option in a video CMS is equipped with the features to provide video title, SEO-friendly URL, tags, meta description, etc. the solution must offer the same features while uploading multiple videos in bulk, too.
  • Adaptive bitrate switching and transcoding: All users may not have the devices that support streaming in the same format and bitrate that a video was uploaded by the broadcaster. For example, streaming on a mobile phone requires a different file size, format, and bitrate than streaming on a desktop. That’s why a video CMS must possess the features to automatically transcode and uploaded files into different formats and adaptive bitrate supported by different streaming devices. 
  • Content Organization: We have discussed most of the aspects of video organization already. To summarize the same, look for the following features:
    • Video Categories and sub-categories
    • Video Metadata: Title, description, tags, etc.
    • Upload scheduling
    • Create Playlist
    • Recommended videos
  • Security: The security of a video CMS can be ensured by using a collection of features such as:
    • Support for SSL (HTTPS)
    • AES encryption
    • Digital Rights Management
    • Report abuse and spam
    • IP-blocking
    • Access control and management
  • Video Monetization: Not all but a few of you may want to earn money by selling videos. For example, for those who are looking for answers on how to how to make a website like YouTube, or launch a similar video streaming business, video monetization features are non-negotiable. In such a case, you may want to include the following monetization features in your video CMS:
    • TVOD: Transactional Video-On-Demand features allow you to charge users for accessing your individual videos. You can put a different price tag on each video. For example, Amazon Prime Video PPV content.
    • SVOD:  Subscription Video-On-Demand features are useful when you want your users to pay a monthly/yearly subscription fee to watch your videos. You can also create different subscription plans with different benefits. For example, Netflix.
    • AVOD: Advertising Video-On-Demand features are required when you don’t want to charge your users but advertisers. Here, users see Ads in between the videos but also get free access to the same. You make money from advertisers. For example, YouTube. The number of YouTube subscribers is of great importance and that’s why many businesses want to buy them.
    • Hybrid: You can combine more than one of the above-explained features to use a hybrid revenue model. For example, YouTube combines AVOD and SVOD to offer YouTube and YouTube premium. Amazon Prime Videos offers some content in Prime subscriptions, but it also asks you to pay-per-view or rent for accessing certain selected content in its library.


Video CMS is your ultimate solution if you want to enjoy full control over how you store, publish, distribute, and monetize your videos. However, don’t just choose any software because it offers all the features. Video CMS solutions could be pretty expensive. Especially if you are choosing a SaaS. They charge an additional monthly fee for adding every new feature.

Choose a solution that fits your needs, or you can also go for self-hosted video CMS. These solutions can be purchased by paying a one-time price and you need not pay any recurring fee. However, note that paying upfront could be an expensive undertaking. Purchase a self-hosted solution only when you test it thoroughly and are assured that it meets all your requirements.

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