Uscreen Review (2020) – Is It the Best VOD Platform for Creators?

Uscreen Review

If you’re a video creator looking for a platform to build your video on demand (VOD) business, then you’ll love this Uscreen review.

Uscreen is an all-in-one platform that allows you to host, distribute, and monetize your video content under your own brand.

It is pretty different from the more mainstream platforms like Teachable and Kajabi and a lot of creators find it difficult to understand where it fits in the whole spectrum of platforms for selling video-based digital products.

So, I decided to create an in-depth Uscreen review guide where I’ll explore the platform in detail and also discuss its strengths and weaknesses.

By the end, you’ll have a clear idea of what the platform has to offer and whether it is the right platform for your business or not.

Let’s get started.

Uscreen Review Summary

Uscreen Logo

Uscreen is the most feature-rich white label video platform that offers all the tools you need in order to host, deliver, and monetize your video content. It is the closest you can get to finding an all-in-one platform to build and run your subscription-based video on demand business.


Ease of Use

Features

Customer Support

Pricing

Pros of Uscreen

  • Lots of features and flexibility for organizing your video catalog.
  • Native live streaming feature with support for live chat.
  • Ability to have your own OTT apps for mobile devices and Smart TVs.
  • Has a feature for “Geo-Blocking”.
  • Supports multiple monetization models including subscriptions, one-time purchases, and rentals.
  • Ability to charge EU VAT.
  • Useful marketing tools for recovering abandoned carts and reducing churn.
  • Robust analytics & reporting tools.

Cons of Uscreen

  • Puts a limit on the number of videos you can store on Uscreen.
  • Limited site building and customization options.
  • Checkout process isn’t well-optimized from a conversion point of view.
  • No native feature for sending emails or affiliate marketing.
  • Pricing plans are steep.

(This is a super in-depth review and so, you can use this table of contents to navigate to different chapters in the guide.)

What is Uscreen and How It Works?

Uscreen is an all-in-one video monetization platform. As mentioned previously, it takes care of everything involved in the process right from video hosting to distribution to monetization.

The first thing you need to understand is that Uscreen isn’t another Youtube. Unlike Youtube, it doesn’t rely on ad-based monetization rather it lets you sell your videos from your own website through a subscription model or a pay-per-view model.

Basically, the idea is to provide you all the tools that you need to create your own video on demand (VOD) service. It allows you to upload & organize your videos, create your storefront, monetize your content, do live streaming, and distribute through the web as well as OTT apps.

The best examples of a VOD service are Netflix and Prime Video and so, if you want to create a Netflix of sorts for your videos, Uscreen can help.

What is Uscreen?

Another important thing you need to know is that Uscreen isn’t “course-based” like the typical online course platforms (e.g. Teachable).

Rather Uscreen is “video-based” and it gives you the flexibility to sell standalone videos as well as group them into chapters and playlists. and offer them as an online course.

So, obviously you can use the platform to create and sell video-based online courses as a lot of Uscreen users like Sqadia.com do.

But if you create videos in the entertainment niche or in any other niche where you don’t want your content to be delivered in the online course format, Uscreen will work great for that as well. In fact, Uscreen is more geared towards this use case.

For example, Stage is a streaming service dedicated to the world of theatre and music and it uses Uscreen to run its VOD business.

Stage Video Streaming

In fact, creators from all sorts of niches – health & fitness, yoga, spirituality, arts, entertainment or even professional niches, use Uscreen to build and run their VOD business.

With this in mind, let’s explore all the features that Uscreen has to offer video creators and I’ll start with their content management system.

1. Video Content Management System

One of the most important aspects of Uscreen is to let you host your videos and organize your video content library.

When you start with Uscreen, the first thing you need to do is upload your videos. The good thing is that Uscreen comes with inbuilt video hosting, so you don’t need another solution to house your videos.

Now, uploading your videos in Uscreen is pretty straightforward as well. You can simply select multiple videos and drag and drop them on the canvas inside Uscreen.

The uploading process is pretty fast and it works seamlessly every time I’ve tried it. Plus it has a feature that allows the uploading to continue where you left off’ in case you go offline or just close the upload page.

Moreover, you have the option to import videos directly from your Dropbox account (even though it doesn’t support other options like Google Drive). The cloud import is generally much faster and I personally prefer to use this option.

Uscreen Video Upload
Uscreen Video Upload Interface

Another handy feature that Uscreen offers for video uploading is its ability to sync directly with video hosting platforms – Vimeo and Wistia.

So, if you have your videos already inside either of these platforms, you can simply turn on the integration from settings and you will then be able to use those videos inside Uscreen without requiring to reupload, which is awesome.

Once you’re done with uploading, you can do a lot of settings and optimizations for your videos. To do that, you need to edit a specific video and then you’ll see a host of different options.

To start with, you can modify your video title, add descriptions that will appear in the frontend, add subtitles, and enable downloading.

Uscreen Video Settings
Uscreen Video Settings

You also have the ability to do basic SEO settings which includes things like SEO title, SEO description, URL slug and search tags.

Next, you can modify how the video appears in the frontend. So, you can upload a custom thumbnail for both the video player as well as the video catalog. Plus you can also add a trailer video if you want.

Video Appearance Settings
Modify Video Appearance Settings

Finally, you can attach additional resources, set a pricing and publish/unpublish your videos from here.

While it’s pretty easy to modify these settings for individual videos, Uscreen doesn’t let you do this for multiple videos together. 

For example, if you want to publish or unpublish multiple videos, you don’t have the option to bulk select them and do the action in a single go.

You’ll have to go into each video individually and publish (or unpublish) them one by one which can be an admin nightmare if you have a large number of videos.

When it comes to organizing and grouping your videos in the catalog, Uscreen gives you quite a few options and this is definitely one of the strengths on the platform.

First and foremost, you can create categories and assign videos to one or more of these categories. Categories are purely for organizational purposes and they make it easy for your users to navigate through your catalog.

Video Categories
Video Categories in Uscreen

Secondly, you can create custom filters for your video catalog which makes it easy for your users to find the right content to learn.

For example, you can create a filter called “Levels” and add filter options – Beginner, Intermediate and Advanced to it which can then be assigned to the videos.

Uscreen Custom Filters
Uscreen Custom Filters

Moreover, you have the ability to add tags to your videos which enables users to search your video catalog based on these tags.

Another important feature that Uscreen offers is Collections which allows you to group your videos together. You can break a collection into multiple chapters and you can even drip your content if you want.

So, if you want to create an online course with lessons and chapters or you just want to create a series with multiple episodes, you can do that with Collections.

Uscreen Collections
Organize Videos into Chapters/Playlists

Finally, Uscreen has native support for “Live Events”. It allows you to schedule Live Events, send notifications to your audience, do live streaming natively as well as engage your attendees with live chat.

You can also enable preregistration for your live events and even charge separately for access if you want. Once you create a live event,

After the event is over, the recording of your live event will automatically appear as a video inside Uscreen, so you can publish it to your video catalog.

Livestream Setup
Live Streaming Setup
Sample Live Event
Sample Live Event

Overall, Uscreen’s video CMS makes it easy to upload and organize your content. It gives you a lot of flexibility to organize your video content library, making it easy for your customers to find the content they need.

An important thing to keep in mind is that the primary content delivery format in Uscreen is videos. You can add additional files and resources (PDFs, images, etc.) to your videos but that’s pretty much it.

You can’t add some text alongside your videos or even include other content types like quizzes, assignments, etc. Plus Uscreen doesn’t offer course creation features like learning paths, certificates, etc.

So, if you need to create an online course with multimodal content delivery or interactive elements, Uscreen won’t work for you. It should be used only if your course is mostly video-based.

Having said that, Uscreen will work very well for other business models like video-based membership sites, also referred to as Subscription Video on Demand (SVOD) where you don’t need these features.

2. Video Delivery and End-User Experience

Nothing is as important for your VOD business as the end user experience and in this section, we’ll see how Uscreen platform performs.

To start with, Uscreen ensures a flawless video delivery experience to your customers. It has a HTML5 player that works on all devices, supports full HD videos and has features for captions, speed control, etc.

Moreover, Uscreen uses Akamai as its content delivery network, the same CDN that Netflix and Youtube use. This ensures enterprise level security for your platform while your customers will always get fast delivery irrespective of their physical location.

When your customers log in to your Uscreen website, they first see the catalog page. On the catalog page, they will find all your Collections and videos organized by categories. 

They can also filter the content based on categories and custom filters as well as search through the catalog, making it easy for them to find what they’re looking for. 

Sample Video Catalog
Sample Video Catalog

As far as the watching experience is concerned, when you click on a standalone video, it takes you to the video page which is very well designed.

At the top, you’ll see the video player and below that is the “Comments” tab where your users can ask questions or participate in discussions by leaving a comment.

If you have attached any resources with your video, your users will see a “Resources” just before the “Comments” tab and they can download the resource easily.

Uscreen Video Page
Individual Video Page in Uscreen

Now, the user experience is similar in the case of “Collections” as well. Just that you have a playlist that appears on the right of the video player by default. You can also set it to display below the video player if you want.

The player supports the “Autoplay” feature which is ideal for watching a video series with multiple episodes. It also lets users bookmark specific videos so that they can revisit them in the future.

Like with standalone videos, your users will see the comments and resources below the video and they can be easily accessed.

Collections Watching Experience
Collections Watching Experience in Uscreen

At the bottom of your video/Collection page, a list of related videos appear. The list is automatically generated by Uscreen based on their tags and categories and is useful for increasing the watch time on your platform.

If your users don’t have access to a video/Collection, they won’t be able to view the content. Rather they will see a prominent call to action which will take them to the checkout page to make payment in order to access the content.

Content Access Locked

Now, this whole watching experience is mobile responsive and so, your users should be able to watch your content without any issues in a mobile browser.

That being said, Uscreen also gives you the option to get your own OTT apps. Currently, it supports apps for iOS and Android devices as well as for smart TVs – Roku, Apple TV, Android TV, and Fire TV.

OTT Apps
OTT Apps Supported in Uscreen

The OTT apps provide a much better viewing experience to your users on these devices. Your customers can watch your videos, Collections and even your live streams on these apps.

Plus they support in-app purchases which means an additional sales channel for your VOD business.

Uscreen OTT Example

The apps are custom developed and the Uscreen team will do all the work required to launch and maintain these apps, allowing you to focus on what you do best i.e. creating and marketing your videos.

Since these are custom apps, you’ll have to pay separately for them. But for those looking to create a professional video streaming service, the OTT apps feature can be a game changer and is totally worth it.

Overall, Uscreen does an excellent job when it comes to end-user experience and in fact, no other VOD platform at this point delivers such experience out of the box.

3. Website Design and Customization

Uscreen is more than just a video hosting and delivery platform. It also lets you host and build a website for your VOD business.

It does all the heavy lifting for your site, right from hosting it to taking care of security and updates to backing it up. So in order to build a website, you don’t need to buy hosting separately or install any software.

Plus it lets you use your own custom domain for your website, even though your site by default uses a Uscreen subdomain (e.g. https://mysite.uscreen.io/).

Now, you can start by customizing the default homepage. Uscreen has a library of beautifully designed themes which you can apply to your homepage in a single click.

Uscreen Homepage Themes
Uscreen Homepage Themes

Moreover, you can further customize the text and colors on your homepage as well as select what content or categories you want the homepage to show using what it calls the “Theme Editor”.

The visual editor is pretty easy to use and you can make these modifications very quickly. 

However, the editor is very basic and you can’t even do the most essential things like adding new elements or removing existing ones from your homepage which is a bit limiting.

So, you can’t customize the look and feel and even the structure of your homepage beyond what the prebuilt themes offer.

Uscreen Homepage Editor

Moreover, Uscreen lets you create additional pages for your storefront and add content to them. However, it doesn’t really have a visual page builder which can be used for these pages.

You simply have a text editor and if you want anything beyond simple text and images for these pages, you’ll have to get them custom coded.

Create Additional Pages
Create Additional Pages

Apart from these, you can’t really customize the system generated pages like the catalog page or content pages.

What you can do is just modify the color theme, your branding and some specific elements on these pages. You don’t have much control over the layout of these pages.

However, there are a few useful features that Uscreen offers for site building and customization and let’s discuss them briefly.

The first one is the Code Editor which allows you to do advanced customization to your site. With the Code Editor, you can completely customize the homepage theme as well as the other important pages like the catalog page.

Uscreen Code Editor
Uscreen Code Editor

The second one is the 1-click translation feature for your storefront. So, you can select from one of the 25+ available languages and your site will be translated into that language immediately.

Another one is the “Maintenance Mode” feature which allows you to display a “under construction” message to your site visitors while you’re making changes to your site.

Finally, Uscreen has this unique feature called “Geo-Blocking”. With “Geo-Blocking”, you can restrict access to your content in certain countries.

The good thing is that you can restrict access to your entire site or just to specific videos or Collections which is awesome.

Geo Blocking
Geo-Blocking Feature

Overall, the site building capabilities of Uscreen are kind of limited. You can’t customize your homepage beyond what you get with the themes and it’s not easy to create any custom pages.

Having said that, Uscreen’s default designs are both clean and modern and look elegant. Plus they are optimized from a user engagement and conversion standpoint, making it ideal for anyone looking for a turnkey website for their VOD business.

4. Video Monetization Tools

What makes Uscreen stand out from some of the other popular video platforms is the features that it offers for video monetization.

It gives you a lot of flexibility when it comes to pricing and selling your videos and this is one of the strengths of the Uscreen platform.

To start with, you can sell individual videos or collections and you can either sell them for a one-time fixed price or offer rental options.

Plus you can select the currency for your store even though you don’t have the option to select currency at a product level.

You also have the option to create a site-wide subscription and can offer monthly, quarterly, half yearly and/or yearly subscriptions. Plus you can offer a free trial for your subscriptions which is awesome.

Create a Subscription in Uscreen
Create a Subscription in Uscreen

By default, all your videos and collections are included in your subscriptions, even though you can exclude specific content if you want.

Now, the only problem with creating a subscription in Uscreen is that while you can create multiple subscription plans, there is no easy way to assign different content to these plans. As a result, you can’t create multiple subscription tiers.

Another limitation related to pricing is that you can’t offer payment plan options to your customers. So, if you want to offer a 3-pay or a 6-pay option to your customers for buying your video course, you can’t do that in Uscreen.

When it comes to payment processing, Uscreen allows you to process credit cards through either Stripe or Authorize.net. You also have the option to offer a Paypal option for your customers.

There is one more option – Uscreen Payments. If for some reason you can’t use your own payment gateways, you can process payments through Uscreen’s native gateway which will collect payments on your behalf and pay you out every 30 days.

Uscreen Payment Gateways
Payment Gateways Supported in Uscreen

Now, let’s talk about the checkout process in Uscreen. The default checkout is a multiple-step one where your users are first required to create an account on your Uscreen storefront before they can make a payment. 

I am personally not a big fan of this style of checkout as this isn’t great from a conversion point of view. 

Apart from that, the checkout page is well designed. Your users can enter their payment information on the left while the pricing and the product details appear on the right.

Account Creation Page
Account Creation Page
Uscreen Checkout Page
Uscreen Checkout Page

If you’ve enabled EU VAT collection for your storefront, Uscreen will automatically add the correct EU VAT amount on the checkout page based on your customers’ location in Europe.

Apart from these core features, Uscreen offers quite a few other useful marketing tools. 

The first one is the ability to create coupons. So, you can create discount codes for your subscriptions or any other content that you might be selling on your site.

Another important feature is the support for gift cards. So, your users can purchase digital gift cards for their friends and family to redeem on your store.

Gift Cards in Uscreen
Offer Gift Cards

The next one is the ability to track abandoned carts and follow up with your users via email to encourage them to complete their order.

You can even automatically include a special discount in your emails which is great for improving conversions.

Uscreen Abandoned Cart
Track Abandoned Carts

However, my favorite marketing tool is the ability to send discount/free trial offers to your cancelled subscribers. 

So when your subscribers try to cancel their plan, they get a short survey and after that, you can show a custom discount offer to prevent them from cancelling their membership.

Plus they will receive two emails with the discount offer, one immediately after they cancel their plan and the second one on the last day of their subscription period.

Plus 30 days after their subscription is over, you can send automated emails to your canceled subscribers with an exclusive free trial offer.

Send a Free Trial Offer
Send a Free Trial Offer

These two Uscreen features together are really handy for winning back customers and will help you reduce your membership site churn significantly.

However, not everything is good about Uscreen’s marketing capabilities. It lacks two essential features.

The first one is the ability to send emails to your customers. Now, I am not talking about email automations but even if you want to send a simple broadcast email, you’ll have to rely on a third-party email service provider.

As far as integrations with email solutions are concerned, you can integrate all the popular ones. It has a native integration with MailChimp and Drip. For others, you’ll have to use Zapier.

The second one is the ability to create an affiliate program for your store. Uscreen doesn’t have any affiliate marketing tools and again, you’ll have to rely on third-party tools.

Fortunately, Uscreen has a direct integration with two of the popular affiliate solutions – Rewardful and Refersion which makes it possible to create an affiliate program for your Uscreen store.

In addition to email marketing and affiliate software, you can integrate with popular analytics and tracking tools like Google Analytics, FB Pixel, MixPanel, etc.

Uscreen Integrations
Third-Party Integrations

Plus any online tool (e.g. deadline funnel, chat tools, etc.) which require you to just add a code snippet to the head of your site can easily be integrated with Uscreen.

And then you obviously have Zapier which can be used to integrate Uscreen with literally any other online platform.

Overall, Uscreen has powerful sales and marketing tools that will work for all types of video creators especially for those planning to build a subscription-based video on demand business.

5. Reporting and Administration

Let’s start with the reporting and analytics tools that Uscreen has to offer. 

Under the analytics tab, you’ll find a lot of reports to help you understand your customers’ viewing activity and your content performance.

So, you can track the content watch time as well as content views for your site on a daily basis. You can also see this data by video and collections as well as by customer country and device.

Watch Time Report
Watch Time Report

One very useful report that you’ll find here is for author analytics. The report tracks watch time and views for videos assigned to each author. 

This report will help you quickly calculate what percentage of total watch time in minutes can be attributed to an author which can then be used to determine their royalty.

Author Analytics
Author Analytics in Uscreen

In addition, Uscreen has another set of reporting tools for your sales activity. Under the sales tab, you can find reports for your monthly sales as well as annual sales. You can also see all your sales invoices in one place here.

There is a dedicated report for coupons usage which is handy for tracking sales coming from various coupon codes.

And if you use PayPal or Uscreen Payments for accepting payments, you can use the Payouts report to track your upcoming and pending payouts.

Sales Reports
Sales Analytics in Uscreen

Now, let’s talk about customer management. Uscreen has a dedicated section called “People” inside your admin dashboard where you can locate all your customers and see their data and manage your relationship with them.

As soon as you go to the People tab, you’ll see a list of all your customers. You can either filter them based on date or use a pre-defined segment.

If you want to add new users to your storefront, you can add them here as well. When you click the “Invite People” button at the top, it will take you to a new page where you can invite users either one by one or invite multiple people by importing a csv file.

Uscreen Customer Management
Uscreen Customer Management

When you click on a specific customer, you’ll be able to see their entire history and even edit their details.

For example, you can see their activity log with their login, purchase details, etc. You can see what emails they have received as well as their past invoices.

From here, you can also manage what subscriptions or bundles, a customer has access to. So, you can grant them access to additional products, remove access to existing content, issue a refund, cancel their subscription or even change the next payment date.

Access management

Finally, when it comes to site management, Uscreen lets you add your team members to your site as well. It has two predefined roles that you can assign to your team members – Admins and Content Managers.

Admins have access to your whole site and they have the same privileges as the site owner except that they can’t remove the owner himself/herself. On the other hand, Content Managers can only access the ‘Content’ tab inside your Uscreen dashboard.

6. Customer Support and Training

One of the most important aspects of any SaaS platform is customer support and training and in this section, we’ll see how Uscreen performs at it.

To start with, Uscreen platform has a great user experience and is pretty intuitive to use, so you can set it up yourself quickly. 

They have a very detailed knowledge base with step-by-step articles and videos that will show you how to use various features in Uscreen and will come very handy while setting up your store.

Uscreen Knowledge Base
Uscreen’s Knowledge Base

If you prefer talking to a real person and get your questions answered, you’ll be glad to know that you’re also assigned an onboarding specialist when you sign up and you can reach out directly to him/her with any questions you might have.

Now for assistance on an ongoing basis, Uscreen has a dedicated support system. You can reach out to their customer service team via email and from what I’ve seen, you’ll receive a response from them very quickly, generally in less than an hour.

Uscreen Email Support

While their email support is great, what is disappointing is that there are no additional support channels available. So, Uscreen doesn’t offer either live chat support or phone support.

Moreover, Uscreen doesn’t have a Facebook Group or any other community for their platform users. I hope they realize how useful user communities can be and they start one in the near future.

Finally, Uscreen has a unique offering for end-user support whereby Uscreen will provide direct support to your end-users for billing and technical issues. 

As far as I know, none of Uscreen’s competitors offer this kind of support to the end-users and this can solve a big pain point for the creators.

7. Uscreen Pricing Review

Before we end this Uscreen review, let’s discuss the pricing. So, Uscreen has three different pricing tiers available for its users.

The lowest tier is called the Basic Plan and it costs $149/month. The good thing is that there is no transaction fee or revenue sharing on any of the plans.

On the Basic Plan, you get access to all the core features of the platform. So, you can host your videos, organize them into playlists and chapters, and sell them.

Now, Uscreen puts a limit on the amount of video you can store and the number of subscribers you can have. So, you can store up to 3,000 mins of video content and you can have only up to 300 active subscribers on the Basic Plan.

Uscreen Pricing

If you need additional features or increase these limits, you’ll need to upgrade to their Pro Plan which costs $299/month.

Apart from all the features available on the Basic Plan, you get a few additional features – Custom Filters, Advanced Theme Customization, Zapier integration and marketing tools for reducing churn on the Pro Plan.

Plus it also increases the limits, so you can store up to 7,500 minutes of video and have up to 1,000 subscribers on the Pro Plan.

The third tier is a custom plan which allows you to get your own native mobile and TV apps and you also get access to the live stream functionality. Plus you get access to the developer tools like API, Single Sign On and webhooks.

The pricing for the custom plan isn’t available publicly and you’ll have to get in touch with their support to get a quote.

The pricing will depend on what apps you want and the number of subscribers, however, it’s a fixed price that you have to pay every month.

Uscreen Custom Plan Price

Now if you’re an average video creator, you’ll find Uscreen pricing to be on the expensive side. But what you need to understand is that Uscreen isn’t your regular video hosting or even membership site platform.

It is a platform designed from scratch for professional creators to build a profitable video streaming business and is uniquely positioned in that sense.

If you were to get a custom platform designed with all the enterprise-level features (e.g. 99% uptime guarantee, high privacy and security level, OTT apps, etc.) Uscreen offers, it would cost you tens of thousands of dollars and when you consider that, the pricing will make sense to you.

Uscreen Review – Final Verdict

In this Uscreen review, we’ve discussed all the features that the platform has to offer and based on that, there is a lot to like about the platform.

Uscreen offers some powerful features for building a video catalog, delivering your content seamlessly on all devices including OTT apps, building a beautiful brand website as well as monetizing your content.

The only thing that you need to keep in mind is that the platform isn’t optimized for creating and selling online courses. In fact, the price itself will be prohibitive for most course creators. 

All the features that Uscreen has to offer are designed to help you build a subscription-based video on demand business under your brand.

So, if you want to build a professional video streaming business (like Netflix) but without actually creating a custom platform, Uscreen will work great for you irrespective of your niche.

If you want to give the platform a try, you can start a 14-day free trial of Uscreen by clicking the button below.

I hope this Uscreen review helped you figure out whether Uscreen is right for you or not. If you have any questions about the platform, please let me know in the comments below.

Disclaimer: We are using affiliate links within this post, so if you click on one of these links and buy through that, we may get a little commission. This is at no additional cost to you and helps us continue to offer free content on our site!

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