What Are the Best OTT Solution Providers in 2020?

Nearly half of U.S. homes have multiple subscriptions to Over The Top (OTT) services. This has doubled since 2014 according to a study by streaming media tracker Parks Associates. The study found that customers weren’t able to find all their interests in one OTT solution provider, that’s why they’re subscribing to many. 

In this article, we’ll explain what OTT services are, and we’ll compare the key features of the five most popular OTT solution providers. By the end of this article, you’ll know the best OTT solution for your business based on security, organization, monetization, video APIs, and technical support.

Table of Contents

  • What Are OTT Solution Providers?
  • How Does OTT Work? 
  • Live Streaming vs Streaming vs VOD
  • OTT Power with VOD and Live Streaming
  • Comparison Between 5 major OTT Solution Providers 
  • Final Thoughts

What Are OTT Solution Providers?

OTT stands for “Over-the-Top” and it refers to the productized practice of streaming content over the web. Initially named in reference to devices going “over the top” of the cable box to give users access to content. An OTT streaming platform is an online content provider that offers live and on demand content. OTT allows content creators to deliver their digital video content to their audiences through the use of this solution.

How Does OTT Work?

OTT bypasses cable and broadcast platforms that traditionally act as a controller for this type of video content but now uses the internet. As a business professional, you have probably heard this term used synonymously with subscription-based video-on-demand services like Amazon Prime and Disney+.

OTT solution providers are typically accessed via websites on desktop computers or through apps on mobile devices. It’s important to know that OTT and video are intertwined, but they are not the same thing. OTT is a channel through which video content is delivered to end-users.

Live Streaming vs Streaming vs VOD

live streaming solution
What type of video content are you hoping to specialize in? Choose between live streaming, streaming or VOD.

Now that we’ve talked about OTT solution providers and VOD, it’s dive into the differences between the major three types of content that are on the internet. 

Streaming Media: 

Video streaming may seem like a new term in the past 10-15 years, but we’ve actually been streaming for a really love time. You’ve been watching video streams for the past 50 plus years on your television. Video and audio that come from television are streamed media over the air. It reaches an antenna or is streamed through a cable that’s connected to your TV.

Live streaming: 

The term live streaming is most used when describing a video feed that is coming from an event that is happening in real-time. Watching a basketball game, a church service or the local news are all examples of live streaming. 

Video-on-Demand: 

Video-on-demand (VOD) is a system that allows users to select a video to watch online through their TV, computer or phone. The video data is transmitted via real-time-streaming protocol (RTSP), which ensures the end-user experiences great-quality video. While it’s not live streaming, it can be viewed at any time from anywhere with a simple internet connection. 

VOD Versus OTT

video on demand (VOD)
Video on Demand (VOD) is a video media system that allows people to watch videos any time on one single platform.

Telling VOD and OTT solution providers apart can be pretty tough. Both of these models look similar, but there is a difference between the two. VOD can exist without OTT, and vice verse. 

  • VOD allows you to play-back content whenever you want
  • OTT uses the internet to transmit instead of satellite or cable

VOD examples include YouTube, Facebook videos, In-flight entertainment systems. OTT examples include WhatsApp, Skype, and Netflix. All of the OTT examples once depended on cable to exist, but now use the internet instead.

How Does OTT Power VOD and Live Streaming?

Many OTT services offer access to shows via two methods. Content can be watched “live” as it airs on TV or video can be watched on-demand. If people prefer to watch after the fact, content is always available on-demand for viewing at any time.

For VOD, content is typically longer which makes the process more efficient with the use of OTT. While it’s being viewed, viewers can cache large chunks of content far enough ahead to possibly download the entire movie or episode. 

For live-streaming, content is minimized to shorten the delay between the actual event and the remote viewing. The viewer pulls content upon request and is able to watch a live video with minimal lag with the help of OTT.

5 Key Elements of the Best OTT Solution Providers

Research indicates that the video streaming market will be worth $70.5 billion by 2021. To get a foothold in that market, you need a powerful OTT solution platform with the following features:

  1. Enhanced security
  2. Powerful CMS for organizing content
  3. Advanced monetization tools
  4. Video APIs
  5. Superior technical support
  6. Pricing

With that list in mind, let’s expand on each feature in more detail.

1. Enhanced Security Features

cyber security
Web security is something that you don’t want to forget about when it comes to OTT systems. Ensure that the platform you choose has a security feature included.

The costs of cyber-crime could reach $6 trillion by the year 2021. That makes security features an absolute necessity for OTT businesses that rely on video revenue.

Access to a secure online video platform can help mitigate these issues. 

2. Content CMS

OTT businesses quickly amass libraries with thousands of videos. This makes content organization essential.

Therefore, the best OTT solution providers include a powerful content management system. These systems should allow you to tag, title, and manage huge libraries with minimal effort.

3. Advanced Video Monetization Tools

video monetization tools
It all comes back to ROI. With the right system in place, you’re able to monetize videos. Not all video monetization tools are the same, so ask before you sign up.

Global OTT revenue is expected to rise to $83.4 billion by 2022Video monetization is driving the entire OTT solution provider industry. Having the proper tools to make money from your videos is essential. 

4. Well-documented and Complete Video APIs

Most businesses are migrating to API-based workflows for online video. Simply put, having API access to automate and integrate is critical for a modern OTT business.

5. Strong Customer Support

customer support
Customer support is something that should be available at all times. At Dacast, we offer 24/7 support to our users.

OTT businesses need a video hosting manager that is highly robust and constantly available technical support. When your business depends on fast, reliable video hosting, you need to solve any problems right away. Not in two hours. Not in two days. Right away.

6. Pricing

We can’t accurately compare OTT solution providers without comparing live streaming pricing as well. Pricing is the final important part of the decision process for a potential customer. 

JWPlayer

jw player ott streaming video hosting
Are you ready to dive into the world of online live streaming?

Overview and company history:

First conceptualized in 2005 as part of a student project, JW Player began as a small piece of open-source code to play audio and video files. This code became the basic video player for YouTube, which used JW Player until Google acquired the platform. 

Basic functionality:

JW Player is best known for its HTML5 JW video player for VOD content.  This player supports MPEG-DASH playback, CSS skinning, DRM, and other advanced features. The company also now offers JW Live, a full-service live streaming provider.

Key features:

In terms of JW Live, the platform supports HLS adaptive live streaming, multi-bitrate transcoding, simulcast to FB Live, and real-time analytics. The service advertises itself as simple-to-use, with a four-step process for beginning a live stream. Overall, JW Live is designed for users with a large budget and/or a large business enterprise.

Detailed features:

  • Multi-bitrate and adaptive streaming
  • Global content delivery, but China’s delivery is blocked by the Great Firewall
  • Tech support, but only in the form email support through the $100/month plan level
  • Video API access on all plans
  • Security features are basic but functional. Only custom-priced Enterprise plans offer DRM
  • Monetization, but only via advertising

Pros / Cons:

  • Great video player
  • Simple, easy-to-use platform
  • Good advertising tools
  • Live streaming limited to custom-priced plans, with a 6-hour duration
  • ONLY ad-based monetization
  • NO China delivery

Enhanced security:

JW Player includes options for password protection and DRM.

CMS for organizing content: 

JW Player includes a CMS with the ability to upload videos or add via URL, tag content, add descriptions, etc. 

Advanced monetization tools:

JW Player includes advanced advertising monetization tools, but nothing for TVOD (transactional or pay-per-view) or SVOD (subscriptions).

Video APIs:

Full API, SDKs, and documentation are available with JW Player (limited to the most expensive plans)

Technical support:

“VIP” support is available to high-end Enterprise clients.

Pricing:

Wowza pricing plans at with the “Starter” plan at $12/month, most features limited to custom priced Enterprise plans

Vimeo Live

vimeo ott live streaming & video hosting
Vimeo is known for both its OTT live streaming and its video hosting capabilities.

Overview and company history:

In 2017, Vimeo acquired the Livestream platform. Originally founded in 2007 as “Mogulus,” Livestream represented one of the largest live streaming companies in the world. Since the acquisition, the two platforms have merged their services. Today, the Vimeo platform powers some 10 million events per year and focuses on an integrated system of hardware, software, and cloud services.

Basic functionality:

Vimeo offers both streaming and video hosting services. This basic functionality includes analytics, a video management platform, privacy controls, and more. To access basic live streaming functionality, users must purchase a Premium plan.

Vimeo provides tech support via email for video hosting plans. For live support, users must purchase a Premium or Vimeo OTT custom plan.

Key Features:

Vimeo sets itself apart by offering a range of proprietary hardware and software for live streaming. These offerings integrate smoothly with their platform, minimizing the fuss of implementing a live streaming program from the hardware on up. It also offers unlimited events and viewers, which can be a helpful feature.

Detailed features: 

  • Live streaming with any bandwidth.
  • Fully customized player
  • Professional graphics without the need for an encoder.
  • Live engagement tools

Pros/Cons:

  • Used by more than 240 million people
  • Password protection
  • Enterprise plan needed for many of the features

Enhanced security: 

Video OTT solutions include options for password protection, domain fencing, and DRM (starting with Enterprise plans, priced at well over $500 per month plus fees).

CMS for organizing content:

Vimeo OTT solutions include a video CMS that “Supports ingestion, transcoding, and metadata, all in one place.”

Advanced monetization tools:

Vimeo supports TVOD and SVOD but includes significant fees.

Video APIs:

Full API, SDKs, and documentation are available (limited to the most expensive plans)

Technical support:

SLA, phone support available during EST business hours.

Pricing:

OTT pricing plans start at $7 per subscriber per month, plus transaction fees. Advanced OTT plans at $75 per month. Enterprise plans (required for many advanced features) require custom pricing.

Brightcove

brightcove ott over-the-top solution
One of Brightcove’s best features is its multi-bitrate and adaptive streaming capabilities.

Overview and company history:

Founded in 2004, Boston-based Brightcove is one of the oldest online video platforms in operation. Its product offerings focus on cloud encoding, live streaming, and VOD (video on demand) hosting. In 2019, Brightcove acquired streaming platform Ooyala, known for its cloud video technology. Since the acquisition, Brightcove has announced end-of-life plans for the Ooyala OVP.

Basic functionality:

Brightcove offers a number of modular products, including Video Cloud hosting, the Lift video player, Once for server-side ad insertion, Live for streaming video, OTT flow for internet TV, Zencoder for cloud transcoding, and tools for monetization.

Key features:

The Brightcove service differentiates itself with its complex analytics and video marketing tools. These tools are ideal for capturing leads and understanding the audience, for example.

Detailed features:

  • Multi-bitrate and adaptive streaming
  • Global content delivery
  • Tech support, but only at a basic level with slow ticket-based responses (unless you upgrade to a paid support plan)
  • Video API access, but only on custom-priced plans
  • Security features, but with high-end features only available on custom plans
  • Monetization options, but only on custom-priced plans

Pros / Cons:

  • Good analytics
  • Includes custom video portals
  • CRM integration
  • High price point
  • NO live streaming until $499/mo. and up
  • Monetization limited to custom-priced plans

Enhanced security: 

Includes options for AES encryption, IP address and domain fencing, tokenized security, watermarking, HTTPS video delivery, and DRM.

CMS for organizing content:

Brightcove includes a CMS with batch editing, drag-and-drop playlists, and other features to easily work with large libraries.

Advanced monetization tools:

Brightcove includes advanced advertising monetization tools, but nothing for TVOD (transactional or pay-per-view) or SVOD (subscriptions).

Video APIs:

Full API, SDKs, and documentation are available.

Technical support:

SLA, phone support available for additional fees.

Pricing:

All Brightcove pricing plans are custom-tailored and aimed at the high-end of the market.

Wowza

wowza ott live streaming player
Starting out as a small start-up, Wowza has become one of the most well known OTT live streaming platforms.

Overview and company history: 

Wowza is a full-service video streaming platform. It delivers reliable, flexible and scalable solutions for any industry. The company was founded in 2005 and started as a bootstrap startup with a goal to simplify media streaming.

Basic functionality: 

Wowza offers a number of different options including live video, low latency streaming, live-video apps and services, video on demand and audio.

Key features:

Wowza’s key features include cloud streaming services, streaming server software, live encoding appliance, and professional services.

Detailed features:

  • Any device can power high-quality live and VOD services.
  • Free GoCoder SDK
  • Extended content protection with high-level security. 
  • Integration of closed captioning.

Pros/Cons:

  • High levels of security measures
  • No data included in starter packages
  • No monetization available
  • Complex pricing

Enhanced security: 

Wowza includes options for AES encryption, IP address fencing, tokenized security, HTTPS video delivery, and DRM.

CMS for organizing content:

Wowza Streaming Cloud platform does not describe CMS features on their website.

Advanced monetization tools:

No monetization features are available with Wowza.

Video APIs:

Full API, SDKs, and documentation are available.

Technical support:

Premium support is available for an additional fee. Thirty-minute minimum response time. Live event support for an additional fee.

Pricing:

Streaming Cloud pricing starts at $49 per month and ranges up to more than $1000 per month. Most features are included on all plans, but no data is included on the Starter plan. Pricing can be complex.

Dacast 

dacast ott live streaming html5 player
Dacast offers businesses a video streaming and hosting solution. With 24/7 support, Dacast users can always speak to someone about the growth of their accounts.

Overview and company history:

Let’s review our own streaming service, Dacast. With offices in Paris and San Francisco, Dacast is a competitive offering in a crowded marketplace. Our own video platform offering is a full-featured, self-service solution for both live streaming and VOD hosting.  Last year Dacast acquired the vzaar platform, expanding its comprehensive OTT solution. And, the year before that, Dacast earned the Streaming Media Readers’ Choice Award for Best Small/Medium Business Video Platform.

Basic functionality:

Dacast provides comprehensive live streaming and online video hosting services. Users can embed videos anywhere while maintaining 100% control of their own content. Among other features, Dacast offers features an integrated paywall, password protection, referrer restriction, and an analytics dashboard.

Key features:

Dacast distinguishes itself by offering high-end features with competitive live streaming pricing plans. These include ad-free broadcasting, white-label service on all plans, and Akamai CDN delivery. 24/7 phone support is also available for Premium and Enterprise plans.

Additionally, the Dacast platform stands out from other OVPs with its ease-of-use and accessibility. Even new broadcasters can provision a new live channel and start a new live stream in just a few minutes.

Detailed features:

  • Multi-bitrate and adaptive streaming with all plans
  • Global content delivery, including industry-best enterprise video hosting starting at $289/mo.
  • 24/7 tech support with plans, including email and live chat
  • 24/7 phone support with premium plans
  • Video & online player API access
  • Security features on all plans, including password protection and encryption
  • Ad-based Monetization on all plans with support for subscriptions and pay-per-view

Pros / Cons:

  • Integrated calls-to-action (CTAs) and email capture
  • Live video streaming via a customizable HTML5 video player with white label options
  • Positive customer reviews: “Every streaming and hosting service should run as smoothly as Dacast.”
  • VOD video-on-demand is in the works (coming soon)
  • Only ad-based monetization (more options forthcoming)

Enhanced security features:

Includes options for AES encryption, password protection, IP address, and domain fencing. SSL payment security, tokenized security, watermarking and HTTPS video delivery. 

CMS for organizing content: 

The video hosting platform includes advanced categorization and labeling functionality. Bulk uploading, Dropbox integration is also available as well as managing large content libraries. 

Advanced monetization tools:

Dacast includes tools for AVOD, TVOD, and SVOD. It also includes a powerful white-label paywall for monetizing live streams, VOD, and playlists. 

Video APIs:

Video APIs, SDKs, and documentation are available at Dacast.

Technical support:

Dacast has 24/7 support for all its customers and 24/7 phone support on all Premium plans and above.

Pricing:

Dacast offers broadcasters a variety of live streaming pricing plans. A basic plan starts at $19 per month. All advanced features are available at $125/month. Custom Enterprise plans are also available, which lower per-GB bandwidth costs.

What OTT Platform Provider Best Suits your Business Needs?

Online Video Platform Provider comparison
What are you looking for in an OTT solution provider?

We hope this comparison has helped you understand the OTT solution providers market. Each platform provides different options for different businesses. We suggest you put payment, security and tech support at the forefront of your personal comparison list. In case something crashed, 24/7 tech support will be your lifesaver. And finally, security. You will want to keep your users happy and safe. If they feel secure, they’ll stay and you’ll have loyal viewers. 

If you’re interested in Dacast, we provide a 30-day free trial with no credit card required. Test out all the features for yourself free of charge. Just click the button below to start streaming live in a matter of minutes.

 
Lastly, did you find this article helpful? Let us know what you think in the comment section below. We love to hear from our readers. For exclusive offers and regular tips on how to stream live video, you can also join our LinkedIn group. Thanks for reading, and please contact us if we can help you with your OTT needs.

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