2018 Online Video Platform Comparison

2018 Online Video Platform Comparison

Remember the early days of Google Video and YouTube? Today, more than a decade later, so much has changed. YouTube is a multi-billion dollar business, and the majority of people in the US stream live video on their phones. We’ve also seen a proliferation of hosting services. To that end, this article this article introduces you online video platform comparison, and then compares in more detail several available options.

First, we’ll take a look at the popular consumer-grade (B2C) video streaming solutions such as YouTube and Facebook. Then, we’ll explain the difference between these services and professional-grade online video platforms (B2B). Finally, after explaining our methodology, we’ll offer an online video platform comparison of six of the most popular video platforms: IBM Cloud Video, DaCast, Livestream, Kaltura, Ooyala, and Brightcove.

The rise of consumer video platforms and live streaming

online video platform comparison

The most popular platforms in use for video sharing and hosting today are consumer-focused platforms. For example, YouTube Live and Facebook Live are the heavy-hitters. Billions of people around the world use these services.

Therefore, they make great platforms for B2C marketing and outreach. These platforms help you reach massive audiences and are completely free to use, even for the biggest corporations.

Technology is also evolving in this realm. YouTube and Facebook now both offer live streaming services. However, they don’t offer a lot of features that businesses need. They also present some limitations, including the fact that these social media-based platforms are the most blocked by schools, businesses, and other settings. And that’s where professional live streaming solutions come in.

Professional business-grade OVP

Businesses require features that YouTube and Facebook can’t deliver. There are many differences between pro platforms and consumer level.

For example, professional video hosts offer advanced security features, enable complex monetization schemes, and include tools to ease integration with existing workflows. Those features suit the needs of B2B live streaming more effectively than what consumer platforms can provide.

Dedicated professional platforms, including DaCast, also offer on-the-spot tech support. B2C platforms like YouTube don’t offer such support.

2018 Online Video Platform Comparison

online video platform comparisonIt’s easy to find information about all these platforms on the internet, but often it’s quite outdated. In light of that challenge, we present our updated guide for 2018. It contains the latest and most accurate online video platform comparison found anywhere.

Our methodology

The data in this online video platform comparison comes from a number of different sources. These include the company websites, user reviews, and trial accounts of the software in question. However, it’s difficult to keep up with every detail, as platforms change services, pricing plans, and features often. If you’re with one of these companies or have a correction, send us an email or leave us a comment below, and we’ll get it fixed!

IBM Cloud Video (UStream)

Overview and company history
The first OVP we’ll look at is IBM Cloud Video (formally UStream). Founded in 2007 to connect military service members with family, IBM purchased UStream in 2016.

online video platform comparisonBasic functionality
IBM Live Video is a live streaming company first and foremost. It also hosts VOD (Video On Demand) files for previous live streams.

Basic streaming accounts are free, with advertising supporting IBM Cloud Video. Paid accounts remove advertising and grant access to advanced features. Enterprise accounts allow for full custom branding and offer analytics, multiple live channels, content syndication, and more.

IBM offers phone support for Pro and Enterprise users, and forum-based support for free users.

Headline features
IBM Cloud Video provides both a customer-grade and an Enterprise streaming solution. They also offer a unique Enterprise Content Delivery Network.

Cost
Pro accounts range from $99 to $999 per month, but only stream up to 720p resolution—enough for most users, but not all. Enterprise plans allow for full HD streaming, but the prices are based on custom contracts.

DaCast

Overview and company history
With offices in Paris and San Francisco, DaCast is a disruptive offering in a crowded marketplace. Our own video platform offering is a full-featured, self-service platform for both live streaming and VOD hosting.

Online Video Platform Comparison Best Video Hosting Services 2017 - marketingBasic functionality
DaCast provides comprehensive live streaming services, as well as VOD hosting. Videos can be embedded anywhere while maintaining 100% control of your content. Additionally, DaCast offers features such as an integrated paywall, password protection, referrer restriction, and analytics dashboard.

Headline features
DaCast distinguishes itself from other video platforms 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. Phone support is also available for Premium and Enterprise plans via in-house employees. Read more here about our pricing plans.

Note: until the end of August 2018, the Premium Plan is available for a discounted $79/month price! Click through to our pricing page for more details.

As far as usability, the DaCast platform has been optimized for the greatest ease of use. New broadcasters can provision a new live channel and start a new live stream in just a few minutes.

online video platform comparisonCost
Monthly service with DaCast comes at three levels. The starter plan is ideal for newcomers, at just $19 per month.

However, business users will likely want to use the popular Premium plan. This plan adds support for monetization, API access, and VOD chapter markers. It includes phone support and 2 TB of bandwidth for $125 per month. The Enterprise plan includes 5 TB for $289 per month. Additional bandwidth is available upon request for monthly plans.

However, if you’d rather not sign a contract, you can purchase bandwidth separately via “event pricing” for one-time broadcasts. You can use this bandwidth for up to one year after purchase.

Livestream

Overview and company history
Originally founded in 2007 as “Mogulus,” Livestream is now one of the largest live streaming companies around. Livestream powers some 10 million events per year and focuses on an integrated system of hardware, software, and cloud services.

online video platform comparisonBasic functionality
Livestream offers streaming and video hosting services. This basic function is supported by analytics, a video management platform, privacy controls, and more.

Livestream provides tech support via email for Basic account holders, and by phone for Premium and Enterprise users. Enterprise plans can also request assistance with training, event support, and account management.

Headline features
Livestream 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 bandwidth usage, which is an unusual feature for the industry.

online video platform comparisonCost
Service via Livestream is split into two main pricing tiers.

The Premium plan costs $199 per month ($900 billed annually), and includes ad-free live streaming, integrated chat, and unlimited storage archive for streams and VOD. It also includes support for streaming to Facebook Live or YouTube, embedding live streams, and phone based customer support. However, this plan doesn’t include white label service, monetization, video APIs, or 24/7 streaming. These features are included with the $999/month and up Enterprise plan.

Kaltura

Overview and company history
With a video management foundation in its open-source software, Kaltura has a unique focus. Historically, this company has worked most extensively with educational institutions.

Online Video Platform Comparison Best Video Hosting Services 2017 - monetizationBasic functionality
While the Kaltura software is free, it requires an infrastructure of servers for hosting and distribution. As an alternative to the self-hosted model (e.g., DaCast), Kaltura offers cloud-based video hosting and distribution services for both VOD and live streams.

Headline features
Kaltura shines when it comes to extensibility. The open source nature of their software means that a community of users create and share countless add-ons and integrations.

The downside of Kaltura’s extensibility is that the platform can be confusing to use. With so many different features, it can be overwhelming for beginner users.

Cost
While Kaltura doesn’t publish pricing information on their website, industry chatter posits that plans start at about $1000 per month and go up from there.

Ooyala

Overview and company history
Founded in 2007, Ooyala is an online video platform that targets mostly large enterprises seeking to monetize and analyze video. They work with some of the world’s largest broadcasters and media companies.

online video platform comparisonBasic functionality
The Ooyala platform allows users to post video on demand, manage content, monetize, and analyze. It also offers live streaming services. Ooyala’s roots are in applying computer vision technology to create clickable video. Since then, that focus has taken the company in the direction of advertising and interactions.

Headline features
Ooyala is built around a number of tools. Its headline platform allows for management and delivery of live and on-demand video, monetization, and content recommendations. Ooyala Flex is a media logistics product for automation and management, Ooyala Pulse is a video advertising service package, and Ooyala IQ is a complex video analytics tool.

Cost
Ooyala does not publish pricing information. Contracts are customized for each client.

Brightcove

Overview and company history
We’ve come to the last service in our online video platform comparison. Boston-based Brightcove, founded in 2004, is one of the oldest online video platforms in operation. Its product offerings focus on cloud encoding, live streaming, and video on-demand hosting.

online video platform comparisonBasic 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.

Headline features
The Brightcove service differentiates itself with their complex analytics and video marketing tools. These tools are optimized for capturing leads and understanding the audience.

Cost
As a company mainly targeting major clients, Brightcove doesn’t publish pricing information on their website. However, you can contact their sales department to receive a quote or sign up for a 30-day free trial.

Conclusion

The online video platform market is complicated and crowded. It can be challenging to assess features and make a smart decision, even after you do an online video platform comparison.

Whether you want to stream live video on your website occasionally, do regular business-related broadcasts, or anything in between, we’re here to help! We hope that this online video platform comparison has helped you to narrow down the options on the market according to your specific needs. Also remember that when comparing OVPs, we highly recommend taking advantage of free trials when available.

Meanwhile if you haven’t already, you can try out our online video platform free for 30-days (no credit card required). What have you got to lose?

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Finally, if you haven’t already, we invite you to join our LinkedIn group for regular live streaming tips and exclusive offers!

Thanks for reading, and let us know what you think in the comment section below. We love to hear from our readers, and we’ll respond as soon as we can.

 

*Note to our readers: We have updated this article to reflect the latest comparison information as of 2018.