On demand refers to the trend towards consuming media whenever and whenever the person accessing the information requires it, usually used in relation to video clips, TV, film or radio.

“On demand is one of the key characteristics of media at the moment. Basically people want to be able to get what they want where they want on the device or platform they want it. Whether that’s a phone, video ipod whatever.”
On Demand is an important process from the point of view of sharing experiences and information in a truly democratic way by individuals and small organisations. Taking an On Demand approach is also useful for large information providers such as the NHS who are able to host highly engaging video content on their own websites which can be cost effectively accessed by very large numbers of people.


  • Experience sharing for patients or public around wellness, such as YouTube videos on weight loss diaries smoking cessation information on asthma
  • Experience sharing for staff and patients such as the patient voices website which features a number of wide ranging stories told by staff and patients about their experiences
  • Staff sharing knowledge such as this YouTube video about benzodiazepine withdrawal. YouTube also offers the facility to create specific ‘channels’ such as the MS Society and general channels such as dramatic health
  • Dipex is an information sharing portal which helps people share their experiences of medical care and illness in a personal way
  • Netmums website shows a screening of video from ITV on postnatal depression bringing mass media programming style to the web
  • Podcasting of information enables sound or video files to be downloaded onto an iPod or other compatible device
  • Children First for Health website has a section called GOSH TV (Great Ormond Street Hospital TV) including videos of young people’s experience of the hospital care received

Benefits and advantages

  • Anybody with access to the technology can now broadcast and share video information, and that access and knowledge base is increasing
  • Can be used by individuals to share personal experiences that are difficult to capture and share by other means
  • Can be used by organisations to share specialist information

Risks and disadvantages

  • Quality depends entirely on the maker of the film
  • Barriers around people not being able to use technology such as recording and editing equipment where required for more complex projects



Armchair Involvement Guide 2009 

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