Top 5 Online Video Platforms for 2019

top 5 comparison

As you’re likely aware, mass media is in the midst of a revolution. A key element in this is the proliferation of the online video platform.

Starting in 2015, millennials ages 14-25 began watching more digital video than television. In recent years, these trends have only accelerated. Today, almost two-thirds of people ages 18-34 watch live streaming regularly. As compared to previous media transitions–such as print to radio, and then radio to televsion–these recent changes in how we access mass media have rocked the market more quickly and more profoundly.

In this post, we’re going to talk about online video platforms and compare some top OVP contenders. Specifically, we’ll look at the following topics:

Table of Contents

  • Introduction to Online Video Platforms (OVPs)
  • Free vs. Professional-Grade Online Video Platforms
  • Comparison of 5 Top Online Video Platforms
  • Conclusion

Introduction to Online Video Platforms (OVPs)

First of all, what is an online video platform? Simply put, an OVP is a tool for hosting, managing, and delivering online video. A good OVP should provide you with basic live streaming and video hosting. Additionally, it should provide tools to deliver your videos rapidly to a global audience. Finally, a professional OVP should allow to secure, monetize, and customize your video model, as well as analyze the results.

Now, let’s consider a few of the important features of OVPs in more detail.

1. Multi-Bitrate & Adaptive Streaming

online video platformWith multi-bitrate and adaptive streaming, you can encode multiple renditions of your uploaded video. For example, you can provide viewers with access to low definition, standard definition, and high definition content. Then, your OVP will automatically stream the best possible version for each viewer’s device and internet connection. In other words, viewers with fast internet connections can access crystal clear ultra-HD quality video. At the same time, those with slower connections (e.g., shared public wifi, 3G cell phone signal, etc.) can still access buffer-free viewing.

2. Global Content Delivery Network

Your chosen streaming platform should have servers all over the world. That way, your video content can stream from whichever server is closest to the viewer. As a result, you can guarantee much speedier delivery of your broadcasts. Also, note that if you’re trying to reach viewers in China, the Great Firewall can make this difficult. Make sure to double-check that this firewall hasn’t blocked your chosen OVP.

3. 24/7 Tech Support

As with all things, problems can arise when it comes to streaming video. How can you solve them? Not surprisingly, with good tech support. Whenever possible, you want to choose an OVP that guarantees 24/7 support via phone, live chat, or email.

4. Video API

video APIWhen you sign up to any online video platform, your team needs to learn a completely new piece of software.  Even when you become confident in using that software, you should still expect an overhead to switching between different systems.

A video API bypasses much of this challenge by allowing you to incorporate the platform directly into your existing systems. As a result, a video API eliminates the need for staff to learn how to use a new product or switch up normal workflow. Preferably, look for a video API with fast setup, full documentation, support for multiple languages, and capable of handling thousands of requests.

5. Secure, Encrypted Streaming

Modern video businesses are built on monetization. When it comes to monetized video, you need to protect your content from piracy. In fact, security firms are seeing increases in piracy, hacking, and digital attacks every single year. Given this reality, secure video delivery is an essential component of a modern video platform.

Free vs. Professional-Grade Online Video Platforms

When it comes to choosing the right streaming solutions, there are many free video hosting platforms out there. Most notably, of course, is YouTube. However, for businesses and serious broadcasters, these free products have many significant drawbacks. Some key downsides include:

  1. Invasive advertising. You never know exactly what will appear over your content.
  2. Automatic recommendations. Your video may provide a direct link to competitor sites and products.
  3. No customer support. If you encounter a technical problem, you’ll have to figure it out on your own.
  4. Limited monetization. You don’t have many options, and they aren’t very lucrative.

In contrast, a professional-grade online video platform will eliminate these potential issues. Plus, it should offer all the features we’ve listed above–and more! Today, many different types of businesses effectively use live streaming and VOD. Not surprisingly, most of these choose a professional-grade OVP, like those we’ll review below.

Comparing 5 Top Online Video Platforms

5. Brightcove

Founded in 2004, the Brightcove OVP offers at video hosting for larger clients. In terms of pricing plans, Brightcove offers various options starting at $199/mo. The platform includes the following features:

Features

  • online video platform Multi-bitrate and adaptive streaming.
  • Global content delivery, but without reliable delivery to China.
  • 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.

Pricing Plans

Brightcove pricing starts at $199/month (paid annually) for a marketing plan. This plan includes up to 100,000 video plays and basic video access. To access live streaming, video API, or monetization, you need to upgrade to a $499+ plan.

Pros / Cons

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

4. Wistia

The second video platform we’ll highlight is here Wistia, which was founded in 2008. The Massachusetts-based platform focuses primarily on marketing. Note that this OVP does not offer live streaming functionality. Wistia offers some quality features, including:

Features

  • Multi-bitrate and adaptive streaming.
  • Global content delivery, but no support for in-China access.
  • Tech support, but premium support is only available on custom-priced plans.
  • Video API access, with six different APIs available.
  • Security features, including password protection, email gating, and domain restriction.
  • NO Monetization options.

Pricing Plans

For a basic plan, Wistia pricing starts at $99 per month. This includes hosting for up to 10 videos, and additional videos cost $0.25 per month. For larger customers, there are custom-priced plan options.

Pros / Cons

  • Great analytics
  • Mostly unlimited bandwidth
  • Integrations with various CRMs
  • NO live streaming
  • NO monetization
  • Extra videos add to cost
  • NO China delivery

3. JW Player

Next in our online video platform comparison, let’s review JW Player. As the name implies, JW Player was originally a video player—and a highly successful one at that. Following that early success, JW Player expanded into video hosting. More recently, they have added limited live streaming functionality. Key features of the JW Player platform include:

Features

  • online video platformMulti-bitrate and adaptive streaming.
  • Global content delivery, but China 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.

Pricing Plans

JW Player pricing starts at $25/mo. This includes access to the JW Player platform, 50,000 video plays, and basic password protection. At $100/month, you get more plays and a few more features. Custom plans are also available, and these include monetization, DRM, and more.

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

2. Kaltura

Next up on in our comparison is Kaltura. Originally founded as a software company for on-site video management, Kaltura has since evolved into a multi-faceted business. Today, Kaltura services also include cloud video hosting and delivery. This feature-packed platform is complex to set up and use, but it does offer a range of options. These features include:

Features

  • Multi-bitrate and adaptive streaming are included.
  • Global content delivery via a combined CDN approach, with the option to bring your own CDN.
  • Tech support via a ticket-based system, which is slower than chat or phone.
  • Video API access.
  • Security features, including a range of authentication and encryption options.
  • Monetization, including all major models (subscription, advertising, PPV).

Pricing Plans

Kaltura cloud video pricing is relatively complex. In essence, this OVP bills via an ongoing usage model. For example, outbound bandwidth costs $0.17 per GB. Content storage costs $0.25 per GB. Transcoding costs $2.25 per GB. Also, plays are priced at $0.001 each. However, there are many other costs as well. Each month, Kaltura calculates your usage and bill based on this complex model.

Pros / Cons

  • Many available features
  • Good monetization options
  • Robust security
  • NO phone or chat support
  • Highly complex
  • NO China delivery

1. vzaar (now DaCast)

Finally, we have vzaar, the DaCast advanced video platform, which is available in addition to DaCast’s video hosting and live streaming solutions. Originally built as a way for eBay sellers to share videos of their products, vzaar by DaCast has since expanded into a full service online video platform. This platform is ideal for publishers who wants advanced video hosting features. Highlights of this platform include robust in-China delivery, solid live streaming functionality, and regular additions of new features. Other features include:

Features

  • online video platformMulti-bitrate and adaptive streaming with all plans.
  • Global content delivery, including the industry-best in-China delivery starting at $419/mo.
  • Tech support with all plans, including phone and chat support.
  • Video API access on all plans.
  • Security features on all plans, including password protection and encryption.
  • Ad-based Monetization on all plans. Support for subscriptions and pay-per-view coming soon!

Pricing Plans

The cost of vzaar starts at $209/month for 1 TB of bandwidth per month and 1 TB of storage. For $419/month, you can upgrade to 4 TB of monthly bandwidth and 2 TB storage. This plan also includes China delivery and live streaming. Custom plans are also available. Additionally, if you currently use DaCast live streaming solutions, you can contact DaCast 24/7 for special pricing options.

Pros / Cons

  • Integrated calls-to-action (CTAs) and email capture
  • Industry-best in-China video streaming
  • Positive customers reviews: “Every streaming and hosting service should run as smoothly as vzaar.”
  • Only ad-based monetization (additional options coming soon!)

Conclusion

If video is your core product, it’s vital that you choose the best online video platform for your needs and budget. After all, if your OVP fails, so too do your business endeavors.

You want to grow & engage your audience, increase video ROI, create a great online reputation and boost productivity. As you compare online video platforms, make sure you access all the features we’ve discussed above.

And if you’re interested in getting access to a powerful video hosting solution–with scalable live streaming delivery as well–you can contact us here:

Thanks for reading, and good luck with your video streaming!

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