As you may know already, social networks are the biggest platforms for sharing video. However, these platforms are not very professional. For that reason, more and more businesses and other professional users are choosing dedicated video hosting solutions for their content. In this article, we’ll provide an introduction to these professional video hosting services, along with a review of key factors and features to consider when comparing streaming solutions.
First, keep in mind that the video streaming market is predicted to be worth $70.5 billion by 2021. Within that market, live streaming makes up the majority of the growth. In fact, 63% of people ages 18-34 are watching live streaming content regularly. Given that trend, it’s no wonder that many different industries are investing heavily in video.
In order to capitalize on this trend for your business, you first need to find the right video hosting solution for you. Overall, the best video hosting platforms video hosting, live streaming, monetization, advanced analytics, and more. With that in mind, let’s consider what defines these video hosting solutions in more detail.
What distinguishes professional video hosting solutions?
As mentioned above, there are many professional video hosting solutions on the market today. So, what defines professional solutions as opposed to inadequate and free consumer-grade platforms?
First of all, professional “SaaS” online video platforms (OVPs) not only host your video content. In fact, these OVPs also offer a variety of other functionality. Of course, pro-level OVPs do charge for their services. Generally, you pay a monthly or yearly amount for access to the platform. In return, however, you gain access to video hosting and live streaming functionality, as well as a variety of other features.
These features may include detailed analytics for your video, support for multiple simultaneous live streaming channels, and more. Dedicated video hosting solutions also provide for higher quality, which is very important in attracting and retaining viewers. One survey, for example, found that 62 percent of viewers are likely to view a brand more negatively if it publishes a poor quality video.
Live streaming vs. VOD
Let’s look first at the most important of these pro OVP features: the video hosting and streaming solutions themselves. In the modern world, there are two main types of digital video. The first is called video-on-demand, or VOD. Your audience can access pre-recorded VODs on their own time, rather than tuning in live. In fact, VODs today represent the most common type of online video.
The second type of digital video is live streaming, which has been skyrocketing in popularity as the technology has matured. The industry publication MarketingWeek describes live streaming as “key to building authenticity.” To put numbers to this statement, 82 percent of viewers say they prefer seeing a live stream over a brand’s social media posts.
In today’s world, good professional video hosting solutions should include both VOD hosting and live streaming functionality.
Key features of professional video hosting solutions
Next, let’s dive into some of the other key features of professional-grade video hosting solutions. We’ll present these features in no particular order. Remember, the most important features for any business or organization depend upon its unique strategy and needs.
All-device feature-rich video player
- Adaptive player for delivering video at multiple bitrates
- Support for captions and subtitles
- Scalable, HTML5 design to support all devices (By 2023, three-quarters of all mobile traffic will be video)
- Customizable design and colors to match your brand
Professional video hosting solutions also include monetization tools to generate revenue from video content. Ideally, a pro video host should offer a built-in paywall for monetizing content and securely accepting payments.
Some estimates indicate that over one-third of professional broadcasters monetize their content via subscription models. In 2016, analysts estimated that mobile ad revenue represented a $16 billion revenue opportunity in the US alone. These trends have only grown since then and will continue to grow in the coming years.
An API is a must for many businesses and professional video platform users. API stands for Application Programming Interface. An API allows you to easily write custom code and applications that integrate with your video platform. This makes it easy to build apps, web portals, and custom workflows. In short, an API helps automate common tasks and can truly power a business.
As Louis Columbus describes, “[t]he greatest revenue potential [that APIs] provide is removing barriers to growing revenue by integrating platforms and apps so organizations can quickly launch new business models and scale fast.”
Security firms are measuring an increase in piracy, hacking, and other digital attacks every year. These attacks target video sites and businesses as well. That’s why it’s important that video hosting solutions offer integrated security tools. These can include:
- IP Restrictions (a tool to blacklist/whitelist certain geographic regions from accessing content)
- Referrer restrictions (to prevent embedding your streams on any unauthorized websites)
- HTTPS delivery (to prevent interception of your streams in-transit)
- SSL protection (bank-grade payment protection)
- Password protection (self-explanatory!)
White-label video hosting solutions offer broadcasters the ability to customize branding. This way, your logo/colors define the viewing experience. This feature helps to keep your viewers focused on your content since only your name and branding are visible to your audience. This is a significant distinguishing factor for professional streaming solutions over consumer-grade services.
The final critical professional feature we’ll cover here is CDN delivery. CDN stands for Content Delivery Network. Simply put, a CDN is a network of servers located around the world. These servers distribute the content of different types to internet users via their network and sophisticated load-balancing software.
A reliable, global CDN ensures that viewers get content quickly and reliably. Ideally, look for video hosting solutions that use a large, robust service like Akamai CDN. This will ensure the best possible viewing experience for your audience, no matter where they are.
How businesses, governments, and organizations are using streaming video
Let’s shift now and look at a few concrete examples of how businesses, governments, and other organizations are using video hosting solutions.
Sharing information is the best way of keeping your customers updated with your business. For this reason, marketers love live video. Companies using video are likely to have 41% more web traffic from search than non-users. And 51.9% of marketing professionals worldwide name video as the type of content with the best ROI.
Video is also very popular in the entertainment industry. For example, more than 30 percent of fans now stream sports to their phones or tablets. Global OTT subscriptions are expected to hit 473 million in 2018, an 18 percent growth from 2017.
Educational video is huge and growing as well. In 2016, 52 percent of universities surveyed used a video streaming service. Those numbers continue to rise.
Finally, businesses also widely use video hosting solutions. Executives also love watching videos. In fact, 59% of executives would rather watch a video than reading text, according to VideoBrewery. Microsoft estimates that it successfully cut annual costs of $13.9 million by investing in a video training platform. That amounts to an ROI of 569% on their initial investment in the system.
How to compare video hosting solutions
In this article, we’ve already looked at some of the key necessary features for video hosting solutions. However, there are other elements to take into account. These include, for example, cost.
To recap, there are many streaming platforms on the market. By comparing key features and costs, you can more easily narrow down your list to the best platforms for you. Overall, you want to look for a platform that offers all the key features you need within your budget.
Additionally, you can check out our other blog posts on this topic. In those posts, we offer head-to-head comparisons of the top video hosting solutions on the market today.
We hope this article has educated you about the video hosting solutions available on the market today. Our goal is to empower you to make informed business decisions.
We think Dacast is the right platform for professional streamers. And we’re willing to back that up! We offer a 30-day free trial with full access to our platform so you can test it for yourself. There is no commitment and no credit card required. Just click the button below to start streaming live in a matter of minutes.
Do you have further questions or comments? We’d love to hear from you in the comment section below. We will get back to you. For regular live streaming tips and exclusive offers, you can join the Dacast LinkedIn group. We’d love to connect with you there as well!
Thanks for reading, and good luck with your video hosting solutions!