Should I allow downloading of my videos?

At Skilljar, instructors often ask us whether they should allow downloads of their videos. And since almost all of our instructors include at least 1 video in a course, it’s a very popular question.

In general, we recommend that instructors offer streaming-only on their videos. This is a great experience for customers because they can easily access the videos from any web or mobile browser. Video services like Hulu, Netflix, and Amazon Instant Video have made streaming video the norm for video content delivery. Plus, this means that customers will be returning to your website again and again as they complete the course. This also provides the most security for your content.


Reasons to Allow Downloading

There are some cases, however, when you may want to consider allowing video downloads.

  1. Your target audience needs offline viewing. Customers with limited Internet access or available bandwidth may prefer to download videos in order to watch them offline. We see this often with customers outside of the United States.
  2. The concept of ‘ownership’ is important to your target audience. Customers occasionally want full access to the video file in exchange for their purchase. We see this most often with demographics that are less familiar with cloud-based technology.

When you decide to allow downloads of your video files, we recommend that instructors reduce file size as much as possible. This will result in a quicker download.

Weighing Your Options

In the streaming-only scenario, Skilljar has taken several security measures to prevent copying, including requiring authorized access to every content page and security tokens to access the content. With downloads, instructors do carry some risk that copies could be made without their consent.

The bottom line: Consider your target audience: their needs and motivations. And the risk of files being copied: how would this impact you?

What other considerations do you take into account when deciding whether or not to allow downloads of your videos? Leave us a comment!