• Learning and Development

The Complete Guide to Video Management System Pricing

From lecture capture to HyFlex classrooms, video has become an integral part of the higher education experience. Yet when it comes to the video management system (VMS) that powers these modalities, there are a variety of options on the market – often at radically different price points.

Why is this the case? What impacts VMS pricing? Which solution is right for your organization?    

Let’s delve into the nuances of VMS pricing structures so that you’re equipped with the knowledge needed to make informed decisions regarding your video learning investments. 

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In this guide, you will learn:

  • Which institutions need a VMS (and which don’t)?
  • Common Problems That Occur When Purchasing a VMS
    • What Potential Hidden Costs You May Encounter
  • What to Prioritize When Buying (and What Will Happen if You Don’t)
    • The VMS Buying Checklist You Need


Which Institutions Need a VMS (and Which Don’t)?

According to the 2023 Video Trends in Higher Education report, 83.8% of university leadership say that student learning outcomes were important or extremely important in their institution’s adoption of asynchronous video. However, with tightened budgets and increasing demands, finding cost-effective solutions has become paramount. How can this be done without compromising quality? 

First, identify whether your institution needs a VMS. 

For institutions looking to deliver innovative classroom modalities that support evolving pedagogy or expand their enrollment pool with more flexible learning opportunities, a VMS is an invaluable asset that justifies its pricing. If your institution values learner engagement and accessibility, aims to stay ahead in the ever-evolving education landscape, and is willing to allocate budget for long-term growth, then a VMS is crucial to your success. 

Whether you’re a forward-thinking K-12 school, a multi-campus university, or a community college focused on catering to diverse student requirements, the versatility of a VMS caters to a broad spectrum of educational needs, making it a worthwhile investment for those willing to embrace its potential.

Conversely, if your educational institution is very small, budget conscious, and heavily reliant on traditional, in-person teaching methods, a VMS might not be the most immediately necessary solution for you. While the transition may entail an initial investment, institutions that resist a move to the more flexible learning that students expect risk falling behind in enrollment and growth. 

However, for those open to transformative learning experiences and understanding the long-term benefits, a VMS empowers instructors to deliver more engaging content and allows learners to access materials at their own pace, potentially leading to improved learning outcomes and overall cost-efficiency.


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Common Problems That Occur When Purchasing a VMS (and How to Solve Them)

The pricing of a VMS for educational institutions can be significantly impacted by common challenges that arise during the purchasing process. Being aware of these challenges is essential for decision-makers to ensure a cost-effective investment:

1. Hidden Costs: The presence of hidden costs in VMS pricing can lead to budgetary surprises for educational institutions. When purchasing a VMS, it is crucial to thoroughly review the pricing structure and contract terms to identify any potential hidden fees, such as storage limits or professional services. These could be unexpected, but necessary add-ons that weren’t included in the quote price. By understanding the complete cost breakdown, institutions can avoid unexpected expenses and make a more informed decision on the overall affordability of the VMS.

Solution: Inquire about storage limits, professional services fees, and additional charges to unlock features. Choose a VMS with transparent pricing and clearly outlined contract terms to avoid unexpected expenses and make an informed decision about its affordability.

2. Compatibility Issues: Compatibility challenges can impact pricing indirectly, as resolving these issues may require additional investments in hardware, software, or integrations. To mitigate compatibility-related costs, institutions should thoroughly assess the VMS’s compatibility with existing systems and ensure seamless integration with other tools. Addressing compatibility concerns from the outset can save on potential expenses related to system modifications or replacements.

Solution: Determine whether the VMS integrates with your video conferencing platform, LMS, SSO, and third-party APIs. Opt for a VMS that offers robust compatibility with your current systems and seeks assistance from providers that offer seamless integration and support.

3. Lack of User Adoption: If a VMS proves challenging to use or lacks user-friendly features, it can hinder user adoption rates, ultimately affecting the value and return on investment. When considering VMS pricing, decision-makers should prioritize solutions that offer intuitive interfaces and comprehensive training to increase user adoption. Meeting the needs of modern learners and students can be complicated and requires dedicated effort, so choose a VMS that can play your content on any device, at any time, in any location. By investing in a VMS that is embraced by both educators and learners, institutions can optimize their investment and achieve higher returns in the long run.

Solution: Identify whether your VMS provider offers onboarding support for stakeholders and end users. Prioritize a user-friendly VMS and conduct thorough training sessions to ensure widespread adoption and maximize the benefits of your investment.

4. Limited Scalability: A VMS with limited scalability can become cost-inefficient over time as educational institutions expand their operations. Investing in a scalable VMS up front allows institutions to accommodate future growth without incurring additional expenses on system replacements or upgrades. By considering scalability as part of the pricing equation, decision-makers can make a cost-effective choice that aligns with their institution’s long-term goals.

Solution: Ask your prospective VMS how it supports storage, content hygiene, and user permissions as usage scales to understand the impact on your institution and avoid incurring unnecessary costs on system replacements.

Taking these common challenges into account while evaluating VMS options ensures that educational institutions make informed decisions that align with their budget and objectives. By addressing these factors, decision-makers can navigate the VMS market more effectively and secure a solution that not only fits their pricing requirements but also provides long-term value and optimal performance.


💡 Ease of use is the most important criteria contributing to VMS satisfaction, according to education leaders.


What Potential Hidden Costs You May Encounter

When purchasing a VMS, it’s essential to be aware of potential hidden costs that could impact your budget:

1. Data Storage Fees: Some VMS providers may charge additional fees based on the amount of data you store in their system, potentially leading to unexpected expenses.

2. Bandwidth Overages: High video usage can result in increased bandwidth consumption, incurring extra costs that may not be immediately evident.

3. Add-on Features: Certain advanced features, such as video analytics or automatic captioning, may come with additional costs beyond the base VMS package.

By carefully scrutinizing the pricing structure and contract terms, educational institutions can avoid unpleasant surprises and make a well-informed decision when investing in a VMS.

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What to Prioritize When Buying (and What Will Happen if You Don’t)

When it comes to selecting the right VMS for your educational institution, prioritizing the following key factors can make a world of difference in your learning and development initiatives:

1. Integrations: Ensure that the VMS you choose seamlessly integrates with your current communication technologies, such as video conferencing systems like Zoom and Learning Management Systems (LMS). This integration allows for a smooth flow of content, making it easy to upload and access all your communications through the video system. This streamlined process enhances collaboration and efficiency in your training programs.

Potential impact: If integration capabilities are not prioritized when buying a VMS, educational institutions may face disjointed communication channels. Content management becomes difficult, hindering collaboration and efficiency in training programs. The absence of seamless integration may lead to redundant manual processes, ultimately wasting valuable time and hindering the full potential of video-based learning.

2. Features: Look beyond basic video storage capabilities; seek a VMS that offers a range of features to enhance user engagement and accessibility. These features may include video analytics, enabling you to gather valuable insights into viewer behavior and performance. Additionally, search capabilities within the video library and individual videos empower learners to find specific content efficiently. Features like live video streaming, in-video quizzing, and automatic captioning further enrich the learning experience and accommodate diverse learning needs.

Potential impact: Neglecting to prioritize robust features can result in a lackluster learning experience. Without video analytics and search capabilities, institutions miss out on valuable insights into learner behavior and hinder efficient content discovery. The absence of engaging features like in-video quizzing and automatic captioning may lead to reduced learner engagement and limit the inclusivity of the learning environment.

3. User Experience: Both content creators and employees must have an intuitive and user-friendly experience with the VMS. Content creators should find it easy to view, upload, capture, and manage video content effortlessly. On the other hand, employees should benefit from features like video quizzing, searchable content, and broad device and file format compatibility. A positive user experience enhances engagement and promotes a culture of continuous learning.

Potential impact: Overlooking user experience may cause frustration among both faculty and students. Complicated interfaces restrict content creation and management, leading to subpar learning materials. Without user-friendly features like video quizzing and broad device compatibility, learner satisfaction and motivation may suffer, impeding the overall learning journey.

4. Scalability: As your institution grows, so will your training and development needs. Choose a VMS that can easily scale, allowing you to expand your learning programs easily based on demand. Leveraging asynchronous video delivery can be particularly effective in scaling your initiatives, offering employees greater flexibility in their learning journey and driving better learning outcomes.

Potential impact: A VMS lacking scalability can stifle institutional growth. As training and development needs expand, institutions may face limitations in accommodating larger user bases and increasing content libraries. Without a scalable VMS, future growth becomes hindered, potentially necessitating costly and disruptive system changes.

5. Company Reputation: Trust is crucial when selecting a VMS provider.  Refer to G2, Gartner, and Aragon for reliable company reviews to help you discover a company with a solid reputation, backed by positive customer reviews and a track record of reliability and innovation. Opt for a trusted brand that is already being used by top businesses worldwide, ensuring that you are partnering with a reputable and established VMS provider.

Potential impact: Choosing a VMS provider without considering their reputation can lead to subpar service and support. Poor customer service and unreliability may cause frustration and hamper the institution’s ability to effectively use the VMS. Aligning with a reputable and established provider ensures a smoother and more trustworthy partnership, instilling confidence in the VMS investment.

📣 “Every time we contact Panopto support it’s easy, it’s quick. We get our answers immediately.”

Lea-Ann Turner, Manager, Academic & Professional Excellence, Mid-State Technical College

Remember, investing time in evaluating and prioritizing these factors when selecting a VMS will pay off in the long run. By choosing a system that integrates seamlessly, offers advanced features, prioritizes user experience, enables scalability, and boasts a strong reputation, your educational institution can confidently embrace video-based learning and development while achieving exceptional results.

The 7-Step VMS Buying Checklist You Need

Navigate the world of VMS pricing like a pro and discover the perfect solution tailored to your institution’s needs. Maximize your investment and deliver captivating educational experiences with ease.

1. Transparent Pricing: Seek VMS providers with transparent pricing structures and comprehensive breakdowns to avoid hidden costs and budget surprises.

2. Compatibility Check: Assess compatibility with existing systems and tools to ensure seamless integration without costly modifications and expensive vendor lock in.

3. User-Friendly Interface: Prioritize a VMS with intuitive interfaces that offers comprehensive training to drive high user adoption rates.

4. Scalability Matters: Invest in a scalable VMS that grows with your institution’s needs while you are trying to reach a new cohort of students – both on and off campus – eliminating the need for costly system replacements.

5. Feature Exploration: Delve into available features, such as video analytics, video quizzing, in-video search, and automated captioning, to elevate the learning experience.

6. Support and Assistance: Look for VMS providers offering reliable customer support and technical assistance for a smooth implementation.

7. Integration Freedom: Choose a VMS that seamlessly integrates with essential tools like LMS and video conferencing platforms to streamline workflows.

By following this concise checklist, you’ll embark on a journey to find the perfect VMS that aligns with your institution’s needs, optimizes video learning, and delivers exceptional educational experiences for all.


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