Broadcasters Guide to Cloud Video Streaming In 2020

Cloud Video Streaming

Cloud video streaming is ideal for most modern marketers that need a straightforward and scalable video infrastructure. That way, brands can focus on putting out good video content without dealing with a lot of technical challenges.

Let’s take a deep dive into cloud video streaming and the most important features to look for in video streaming software. We’ll also look at the top 12 platforms currently on the market.

Table of Contents

  • Cloud Video Streaming Explained
  • Essential Video Streaming Features
  • Top 12 Online Video Platforms 
  • Conclusion

Cloud Video Streaming Explained

Cloud Video Streaming
Cloud video streaming is more straightforward and scalable for broadcasters.

In the past, broadcasters needed complex on-premise servers and other hardware to stream videos to their audiences. This infrastructure had high upfront costs, was complicated to maintain, and wasn’t a core competency for many brands.

That’s why many broadcasters are moving to cloud video platforms that provide a straightforward video streaming and hosting solution that’s scalable.

How Does Cloud Streaming Work?

Cloud streaming relies on a network of cloud servers that are dedicated to hosting video files and efficiently deliver this content to viewers. Once broadcasters upload files, they’re encoded and transcoded into a variety of formats that are ready for playback.

Video transcoding in the cloud is an efficient way of creating multiple renditions of a single video file without taking resources away from the initial encoding process. That way, broadcasters ensure their content can be shared with nearly any device their audience wants to use.

With cloud-based video streaming, broadcasters can host their content in the cloud for on-demand consumption or live stream events to their viewers.

Essential Video Streaming Features

cloud video streaming features
There are some key features every video streaming platform should have.

For broadcasters looking to start streaming video in the cloud, here are some key features to look for.

1. Video Transcoding

Video transcoding is crucial for reaching a large audience. There’s no telling what devices viewers will be using, so a platform that can transcode video content into multiple formats is ideal for universal compatibility.

2. Live Recording

Live streams can be just as valuable after the event is over if your platform offers live stream recording. With a record feature, broadcasters can capture their live events for VOD purposes without impacting the quality of the stream itself.

3. Video Player

HTML5 Video Player
An all-device video player can maximize a brand’s audience.

While supporting many video formats is important, an HTML5 video player that’s compatible with nearly every device can further maximize a brand’s audience. HTML5 players can be easily embedded wherever viewers might be, whether it’s social media posts or websites.

4. Monetization

Beyond saving on infrastructure costs, a platform should have options for monetizing video content. Some common monetization methods include subscriptions, ad-based video monetization, and pay-per-view.

5. Video Analytics

Video Analytics
Video streaming analytics can help businesses make better decisions.

Video analytics is a key part of optimization content viewership. A professional-grade broadcasting platform should provide viewership insights such as track video plays, consumption time, and other fine-grained details about audiences to fuel business decisions. 

6. Video API Access

Along with monetization, broadcasters can make the most of their video content if it’s easy to integrate the cloud-based solutions with other business applications. That’s why a well-documented video API that can access video content and advanced features is a necessity.

7. Content Delivery Network (CDN)

Not every platform is created equal, and only companies with cloud servers distributed where audiences are geographically dispersed can achieve high-performance. Platforms that leverage top-tier global live streaming CDN networks, therefore, can reduce buffering and latency issues associated with delivering video over long distances.

8. Security

Dacast New Platform - Private Video Sharing
Security enhancements such as AES video encryption are essential features needed to keep broadcasters’ data safe and secure.

Broadcasters need confidence that their data will be safe in the cloud. That’s why a video streaming platform that complies with security standards and privacy regulations is a requirement. An enterprise-grade platform helps brands mitigate the risks of piracy, hacking, or other issues.

9. 24/7 Support

When using a cloud video platform, broadcasters will have less control over the underlying infrastructure. That means it’s crucial to have reliable and fast support if any technical issues arise.

Top 12 Online Video Platforms

Let’s take a brief look at some of the most popular cloud-based online video platforms on the market today.

1. Dacast

Dacast Cloud Video Streaming Platform
Dacast’s cloud-based platform enables live streaming and video on demand.

Company Background:

Dacast offers a video streaming platform that’s straightforward for users of all experience levels. The platform has enterprise-grade hosting and streaming capabilities that can meet a diverse set of business requirements.

Once users get up to speed with Dacast’s robust set of features, they’ll have an affordable cloud solution for delivering video content to their audience.

Basic Functionality:

Dacast is an enterprise-grade video platform for broadcasters.

Key Features: 

Pros:

Cons:

  • A slight learning curve to fully utilize all the robust features

Pricing:

Dacast has live streaming pricing plans starting at $21/month, as well as special event pricing and custom enterprise plans.

Best Use Cases:

2. Brightcove

brightcove online video platform
Brightcove offers an industry-leading solution for live streaming at scale.

Company Background:

Brightcove offers a streaming solution that specializes in marketing and monetization. Its users around the world have the ability to integrate the cloud platform with their existing marketing, advertising, and communication apps to achieve more with their video content.

Basic Functionality:

Brightcove provides an enterprise-level video cloud solution for broadcasters.

Key Features:

  • Live streaming through Video Cloud
  • Over-the-top (OTT) streaming
  • Advertising and monetization
  • Numerous cloud app integrations

Pros:

  • Straightforward cloud interface
  • Privacy and security for enterprises
  • Pre-built integrates for cloud apps

Cons:

  • Lack of fine-grain analytic or reporting
  • No China video delivery
  • 24/7 support isn’t free

Pricing:

Brightcove has individual pricing for each customer.

Best Use Cases:

  • Enterprise and marketing cloud video hosting
  • Brand awareness through video for marketing and sales professionals
  • Video marketing solutions for publishers and broadcasters 

3. IBM Video Cloud

ibm cloud video streaming platform
The IBM Video Cloud offers reliable streaming for broadcasters.

Company Background:

IBM Video Cloud is a video streaming platform and a leading provider of live streaming and VOD capabilities.

Basic Functionality:

IBM Video Cloud offers live streaming and VOD through the cloud.

Key Features:

  • Live and on-demand video streaming
  • Secure sharing of online content

Pros:

  • Reliable cloud streaming
  • Enterprise-grade video capabilities
  • Responsive customer support
  • Hong Kong (China) video hosting

Cons:

  • Lack of monetization options
  • Doesn’t use a CDN
  • General plans don’t offer APIs

Pricing:

IBM Video Cloud has pricing plans starting at $99/month up to $999/month. Enterprise customers can also request custom plans.

Best Use Cases:

  • Cloud video hosting for marketing and enterprises
  • Virtual conference streaming
  • Media & entertainment video management

4. Kaltura

 

kaltura cloud-based video platform
Kaltura is a video streaming solution geared towards large institutions.

Company Background:

Kaltura is an Israeli company that offers a Software as a Service (SaaS) video solution. Their video platform has live and VOD capabilities for large institutions.

Basic Functionality:

Kaltura specializes in video streaming features for employers and universities that want to deliver educational content to their employees and students.

Key Features:

  • Cloud video hosting & streaming
  • Cloud TV service
  • Advanced Security in the Cloud

Pros:

  • Great features for education and enterprise uses
  • Variety of monetization options
  • Simple SaaS solution

Cons:

  • Slow uploads to the cloud
  • No China video delivery

Pricing:

Kaltura charges based on bandwidth and feature usage, but there are free trials available as well.

Best Use Cases:

  • Cloud video hosting for Education and Enterprises
  • Video streaming for sales
  • Live event streaming

5. Wistia

Wistia video marketing software
Wistia offers TV-quality video delivery solutions and marketing software.

Company Background:

Wistia offers a video platform for broadcasters. The platform includes TV-quality streaming and a video player with features like annotation links, CTAs, and custom branding.

Basic Functionality:

Wistia allows broadcasters to upload, manage, and stream videos in the cloud.

Key Features:

  • Channels & other playback options
  • Interactive cloud tooling
  • Integration with CRM and other business applications
  • Cloud video hosting & streaming

Pros:

  • Custom branding options
  • Video organization in the cloud
  • Advanced analytics
  • Customer support

Cons:

  • Some issues with customization options
  • No China cloud video delivery

Pricing:

Wistia has multiple pricing options, including plans that are free, $99/month, and custom priced.

Best Use Cases:

  • Video streaming for businesses
  • Virtual classroom streaming in the cloud
  • Video content management

6. Vidyard

vidyard online video hosting for business
Vidyard’s video platform is built for marketing, sales, and corporate communications.

Company Background:

Vidyard is a streaming solution for sharing professional video content. The platform is geared towards marketing, sales, and corporate communications.

Basic Functionality:

Vidyard is a comprehensive cloud video solution for turning viewers into customers.

Key Features:

  • Cloud video hosting and streaming
  • Secure cloud platform

Pros:

  • Cloud integration options
  • An active community of users
  • Customer service available

Cons:

  • Complicated backend
  • Consistency issues
  • No China video delivery

Pricing:

Vidyard prices its platform based on use-case. The marketing and sales packages have both free and paid options, while the corporate communications packages are custom priced.

Best Use Cases:

  • Video hosting and streaming for marketing
  • Enterprise hosting and streaming solutions
  • Video streaming for sales

7. DailyMotion

daily motion video streaming and hosting
DailyMotion is a popular live video streaming and hosting service.

Company Background:

DailyMotion offers video services for businesses and consumers alike.

Basic Functionality:

DailyMotion makes it straightforward to manage and share on-demand or live video content in the cloud.

Key Features:

  • Infrastructure for video streaming
  • Integrates with many gaming platforms
  • Localized for 35 countries and 18 languages

Pros:

  • Unlimited cloud storage and streaming bandwidth
  • Support for a global audience
  • China video delivery with Huawei partnership

Cons:

  • No support for private cloud video hosting
  • Limit for file size and length of videos

Pricing:

DailyMotion is free for most users but offers premium plans for greater video exposure.

Best Use Cases:

8. JWPlayer

jw player flexible and powerful cloud video platform
JWPlayer is a low-budget video streaming platform.

Company Background:

JW Player is a cloud video streaming option for companies with a limited budget. The platform has basic live streaming and VOD capabilities.

Basic Functionality:

JW Player provides streaming services at a low price.

Key Features:

  • Streaming to any device
  • Suitable for companies of all sizes
  • Video management in the cloud

Pros:

  • Affordable
  • Great sales support and customer service

Cons:

  • Limits live events to 5 hours
  • No API support for live streaming
  • No China video delivery

Pricing:

JW Player has paid plans starting at $10/month and custom plans for enterprises. There is also a free trial available.

Best Use Cases:

9. Livestream

Vimeo’s Livestream live streaming solutions
Vimeo’s Livestream has marketing features for large organizations.

Company Background:

Livestream is a streaming solution that provides large organizations with live event streaming and advanced marketing capabilities.

Basic Functionality:

Livestream is an all-in-one cloud video platform for streaming, hosting, and marketing videos.

Key Features:

  • Cloud video streaming and management
  • Live streaming through the cloud
  • Advanced marketing features

Pros:

  • Easy for broadcasters and viewers to use
  • Works directly with YouTube
  • Useful analytics

Cons:

  • Frequent software updates during live streams
  • Limited CDN support
  • No China video delivery

Pricing:

Livestream has plans starting at $75/month, but enterprise customers can request individual plans through their sales team.

Best Use Cases:

10. Panopto

Panopto video cloud for education and business
Panopto’s video cloud is packed with features aimed at solutions for universities and large enterprises.

Company Background:

Panopto is a cloud video streaming solution with over 5 million users around the world. The platform is geared towards businesses and universities in the online learning space.

Basic Functionality:

Panoptos’ platform is best for internal use which integrates with learning management systems (LMSs).

Key Features:

  • Video cloud video solutions
  • Live streaming and recording
  • Video content management
  • Mobile-ready solution

Pros:

  • Regional cloud infrastructure
  • Branding options
  • China video hosting

Cons:

  • No version control
  • No SEO management

Pricing:

Panopto has pricing based on the number of users or students. The plans include unlimited streaming and storage for internal use.

Best Use Cases:

11. SproutVideo

SproutVideo video hosting and live streaming
SproutVideo’s video hosting and live streaming platform is geared for companies and organizations of any size.

Company Background:

SproutVideo is a cloud video platform for live streaming and VOD, which has plans for basic features through to a fully-featured solution.

Basic Functionality:

SproutVideo has cloud-based live streaming and VOD capabilities.

Key Features:

  • Cloud video streaming and hosting
  • Advanced privacy and security options
  • Every plan includes live chat support

Pros:

  • Plan options for every budget 
  • Advanced analytics

Cons:

  • Limited storage for basic plans
  • Some buffering issues
  • No China cloud video delivery

Pricing:

SproutVideo has multiple plans: Seed ($24.99/month), Sprout ($54.99/month), Tree ($199.99/month) and Forest ($499.99/month). There’s also a 30-day trial available.

Best Use Cases:

  • Live video streaming
  • Video on demand (VOD) hosting
  • Cloud-based enterprise video streaming 

12. Vimeo Live

Vimeo professional cloud-based live streaming platform
Vimeo Live is a comprehensive cloud platform for video hosting and live streaming.

Company Background:

Vimeo Live is a reliable cloud platform for live streaming events, which includes professional-grade features for broadcasters.

Basic Functionality:

Vimeo Live is a cloud video streaming platform with comprehensive video hosting and live streaming functionality.

Key Features:

  • Cloud-based video hosting
  • Live streaming in the cloud
  • Advanced distribution and marketing tools

Pros:

  • Easy to get started
  • Professional interface
  • Unlimited events and viewers

Cons:

  • Some issues with connection to an internal server
  • No China video delivery

Pricing:

Vimeo Live has plans from $7/month for basic features through to $75/month for unlimited live streaming.

Best Use Cases:

Conclusion

As you can see, there is a multitude of cloud streaming platforms available. That’s why it’s crucial for broadcasters to understand the features they need for their business before choosing a video solution.

For small/medium businesses, Dacast is a great option because it offers everything brands need to deliver video content at an affordable price. In fact, the platform was recently nominated by voters in the 2019 Streaming Media Readers’ Choice Awards.

We hope that this article has helped you to understand the cloud-based streaming space as well as the top platforms available today. Our goal is to provide the most up-to-date information as possible to our readers. However, we firmly believe that when assessing features and pricing against the competition, Dacast’s comprehensive solution for hosting, live streaming, and VOD is one of the best live streaming platform choices for professionals in 2020 and beyond.

If you haven’t decided firmly on which streaming solution is for you, why not try our streaming solutions for yourself? We offer a 30-day free trial, with no credit card required. Click here to sign up for our free trial and start streaming live today:

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