Top 5 OTT Platforms for Business Over-The-Top Video Content [2020 Update]

OTT platforms

In the past few years, the number of people turning to the internet for the news, entertainment, education, and more has skyrocketed. 

Over-the-top (OTT) video consumption is consistently rising, valuing the OTT video market at over $33 billion in 2020 with projections to reach nearly $36 billion within the next year.

Many businesses are hopping on this trend to build brand awareness, provide value to their audience, and monetize their OTT services. 

Today, we’re going to discuss the role that OTT video content is serving, and we’ll compare five of the top OTT platforms with over-the-top streaming capabilities. We’ll cover Dacast, IBM Cloud Video, JW Player, Vimeo Live, and Wowza.

Please note that this post has been updated to reflect the latest information on the top 5 OTT platforms as of July 2020.

Table of Contents: 

  • OTT Video Platforms: A Booming Industry
  • Comparing Top OTT Platforms for Business
  • Conclusion

OTT Video Platforms: A Booming Industry

OTT video streaming platforms
An over-the-top media (OTT) service is a streaming media service offered directly to viewers via the Internet.

We are entering a future in which OTT platforms distribute all TV. IP networks are distributing more and more media these days. In fact, some industry leaders advocate that we stop differentiating between OTT and broadcast TV entirely. 

The OTT media service industry is growing at an outrageous rate. Almost no industry grows that fast. In fact, over-the-top (OTT) media revenue is expected to reach $158.84 billion dollars by 2024, which is more than double the $67.8 billion it generated in 2020. Within only a decade, we’ve seen a massive shift in how people are consuming entertainment. It all hinges on OTT video and delivering content online.

In order to keep up with current trends in the OTT video industry, your best bet is investing in a professional OTT platform. OTT platforms—also known as video streaming platforms or online video platforms (OVPs)—allow you to host, manage, and stream live video efficiently. 

OTT platforms typically allow you to use an IaaS (Infrastructure as a Service) model, which keeps your costs low and ensures maximum efficiency.

Comparing Top OTT Platforms for Business

ott platforms for business
Comparing OTT video providers is essential to help you choose the right video platform for your business.

Now, let’s shift gears and take a look at some of the top OTT video platforms on the market today.

We’re going to compare these platforms based primarily on a few different features, including content delivery, live streaming features, VOD hosting capabilities, video monetization, video API, and pricing.

Content delivery is an important aspect to consider as it contributes to what audience you can reach in the highest quality. You’ll want to choose an OTT platform that works with a reliable, global content delivery network.

Whether the OTT platform includes live streaming functions, on-demand video hosting, or both should also have a heavy impact on your ultimate decisions. If your goal is to live stream, you’ll need to select a platform that supports live streaming.

Next on our key features list is an API. A video API, as the name suggests, provides programmatic access to video platform functionality. Broadcasters use video APIs in many different ways. You should choose a platform that has the video API that you need to customize your video content management system to your liking.

Monetization is another major feature of broadcasters. There are three main ways to monetize content: ads, pay-per-view, and subscriptions. One-time events like sports are perfect for pay-per-view monetization. Subscriptions are perfect for recurring content. Ads are a great option for content that is designed to build brand awareness.

Lastly, we’ll take a look at live streaming pricing.

With those features in mind, let’s take a look at five of the best OTT platforms.

1. Dacast

Dacast OTT platform for live streaming
Many professional broadcasters turn to Dacast as their OTT platform of choice since it offers both live streaming and VOD hosting.

Dacast is a unified streaming platform that offers both live streaming and advanced VOD hosting. It comes with a widespread of powerful features that are well suited for professional broadcasters.

Content Delivery

Dacast uses top-tier content delivery networks (CDNs) to distribute content to clients around the world. Limelight Networks is one of the multiple powerful CDNs that Dacast uses to deliver the content.

It is important to note that Dacast is one of the very few OTT platforms that broadcasts to China.

Live Streaming Software

Originally known as a live streaming solution, Dacast is feature-packed live streaming software and has all the tools you need to put on a professional live stream

Video Hosting

As we mentioned, Dacast has become a unified platform that also offers advanced video hosting. These video hosting tools are perfect for building an OTT video-on-demand platform.

Monetization Options

Dacast has robust video monetization tools with a built-in paywall that supports subscriptions and pay-per-view streaming with various configuration options. However, it also supports external paywall providers such as Cleeng and InPlayer. Dacast also supports advertising monetization via the player API.

Video CMS and Video API

Dacast’s video API provides full, programmatic access to every feature of the service. A well-documented API, it also adheres to REST standards.

Pricing

Dacast’s live streaming pricing plans begin at $21 per month for 100 GB of bandwidth and 20 GB of storage. The “Event” plan starts at $63 per month billed annually. It offers 6,000 GB of bandwidth and 10 GB of storage. The mid-tier “Scale” plan starts at $188 per month. This plan includes 2 TB of bandwidth, 1000 GB of storage, API access, full monetization options, and phone support. That plan offers more bandwidth and storage suitable for OTT users. Finally, unlike many other OTT platforms, Dacast now offers an advanced video hosting plan with China video hosting for VOD content.

However, Event and Scale users can also purchase custom plans for greater bandwidth needs.

2. IBM Cloud Video

ibm cloud video OTT platform
IBM Cloud Video’s biggest setback is its lack of monetization features.

IBM Cloud Video is another competitor worth mentioning in our OTT platforms comparison. Their cloud video services include the following functionality.

Content Delivery

With IBM Cloud Video, video content streams via IBM servers, which are located worldwide and provide good performance.

Live Streaming Software

IBM Cloud offers live video streaming with features like HD streaming, webcasting, automated closed captioning, and more.

Video Hosting

IBM Cloud Video supports video hosting via Watson Media.

Monetization Options

IBM Cloud Video supports monetization through ad integration.

Video CMS and Video API

The IBM Cloud Video OTT platform is equipped with content management services. This content management system is customizable with “Channel API.” This provides full programmatic access to the platform via a RESTful API.

Pricing

Something notable about IBM Cloud Video is that they offer a wide range of pricing options and packages. These range from free to custom priced packages that reportedly cost more than $1000 per month. 

It’s also worth noting that IBM Cloud Video offers payment plans.

3. JW Player Live

jw player OTT platform
JW player is a veteran in the video streaming game.

JW Player is most well-known for its popular video player. The code for this video player was used as part of the first YouTube video player code. 

However, they recently launched a live streaming service as well. While capable, this platform may not be suitable for OTT media broadcasting.

Content Delivery

JW Player delivers content via its internal network of servers, rather than via a CDN. For some users, this can pose limitations

Live Streaming Software

JW Player provides the tools you need for professional live streaming. 

Video Hosting

JW Player supports on-demand video hosting.

Monetization Options

JW integrates advertising monetization tools but does not support subscriptions or pay-per-view.

Video CMS and Video API

The JW Player platform includes a number of different APIs. These include the Platform Management API, so you can customize your video content management system.

Pricing

JW Player pricing comes in three tiers, including a free version. The second is the Starter plan ($10/month), geared toward small businesses and agencies. The Starter plan does not include live streaming access.

For serious broadcasters, publishers, and those who need live streaming capabilities, custom priced Enterprise plans are available.

4. Vimeo Live

vimeo OTT platform
Vimeo Live offers both VOD and live hosting.

After many years as a streaming service, Livestream was acquired by Vimeo in late 2017. Today, both businesses operate streaming services. 

Vimeo Live has integrated an OTT branch into its services. Let’s take a closer look at Vimeo’s OTT services.

Content Delivery

Vimeo Live uses an internal server network for content delivery. As we mentioned in the JW Player overview, the internal server delivery method may pose a limitation on some users.

Live Streaming Software

Vimeo Live offers the live streaming tools you need to broadcast like a pro.

Video Hosting

It is possible to host video for on-demand streaming on the Vimeo Live video player.

Monetization Options

Vimeo Live supports subscription-based monetization on its OTT platform.

Video CMS and Video API

Vimeo offers a video API to users on the higher-priced custom plans which allows you to customize your content management system. One of the most notable parts of their video CMS is its powerful analytics tools.

Pricing

Vimeo Live has a few different plans for OTT video streaming. The starter plan costs $1/subscriber and the Growth plan costs $500/month. They also have an Enterprise option that is priced on a case-by-case basis.

5. Wowza

wowza ott live streaming platform
Wowza is more than an OTT video platform. They offer streaming-related hardware, as well.

The final option in our review of OTT platforms is Wowza, a streaming-focused company that began operation in 2007. Today, Wowza provides services that the streaming video industry widely uses.

Content Delivery

Wowza uses its own content delivery network. This CDN is a reliable network that reaches all around the globe. It is both secure and scalable. 

Live Streaming Software

Wowza supports interactive and OTT live streaming.

Video Hosting

Wowza supports VOD video hosting.

Monetization Options

Wowza doesn’t have any built-in monetization features for pay-per-view, subscriptions, or advertising. To monetize your video content, you’ll need to use an external service.

Video CMS and Video API

Wowza’s platform includes a RESTful API that provides programmatic access to its service. The Streaming Engine APIs enable users to develop custom applications to manage the media server via HTTP.

Pricing

Wowza offers services, software, and hardware, so prices vary. To see pricing, please check out their website.

Conclusion

subscription-based OTT video platforms
Are you ready to choose an OTT platform for your streaming needs?

Watching subscription-based OTT video services was already a daily habit for 60 percent of adults in the US. Given the size of this industry, how fast it is growing, and how important it is to people’s lives, now is a great time to involve yourself in this trend. However, you don’t have to go at it alone! We hope this article has helped to introduce you to the world of OTT video and some of the OTT platforms making it possible.

If you are still deciding between OTT platforms and are interested in giving Dacast a try, we recommend signing up for our 30-day free trial. That way you can test out all of our features for yourself before you commit.

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Lastly, did you find this article helpful, or do you have other comments or feedback? Let us know what you think in the comment section below. We love to hear from our readers! For exclusive offers and regular live streaming tips, you can also join our LinkedIn group.

Thanks for reading and, as always, good luck with your broadcasts!

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