2017 Online Video Platform Comparison

2017 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 everyone and their mother is live streaming on their phones. We’ve also seen a proliferation of hosting services. In this article, we’ll conduct an online video platform comparison for 2017.

First, we’ll take a look at the popular consumer-grade video platforms such as YouTube and Facebook. Then, we’ll explain the difference between these services and professional online video platforms. Finally, after explaining our methodology, we’ll dive into six of the most popular video platforms: UStream, DaCast, Livestream, Kaltura, Ooyala, and Brightcove.

The rise of consumer video platforms and live streaming

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. That’s where professional live streaming platforms 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.

2017 online video platform comparison

It’s easy to find information about all these platforms on the internet, but often it’s quite outdated. To that end, we present our updated guide for 2017. 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. If you’re with one of these companies or have a correction, shoot us an email or leave us a comment and we’ll get it fixed!

UStream (IBM Cloud Video)

Online Video Platform Comparison Best Video Hosting Services 2017 - multi-device streamingOverview and company history
The first OVP we’ll look at is UStream. Founded in 2007 to connect military service members with family, UStream was purchased by IBM in 2016 and is now becoming IBM Cloud Video.

Basic functionality
UStream is a live streaming company first and foremost, but also hosts VOD (Video On Demand) files for previous live streams.

Basic streaming accounts are free, with advertising supporting UStream. 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.

UStream 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. Their video offering is a full-featured, self-service platform for both live streaming and VOD hosting.

Basic functionality
DaCast provides comprehensive live streaming services, as well as video-on-demand 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 at competitive prices. These include ad-free broadcasting, white label service on all plans, and Akamai CDN delivery. Phone support is also available 24/7 for Pro and Premium plans via in-house employees.

As far as usability, the DaCast platform has been optimized for the greatest ease of use. Provisioning a new live channel and starting a new live stream is possible in just a few minutes.

CostOnline Video Platform Comparison Best Video Hosting Services 2017 - marketing
Monthly service with DaCast is priced at three levels. The starter plan is ideal for newcomers at $19 per month.

However, business users will likely want to use the popular Pro plan. It includes phone support and 2 TB of bandwidth for $165 per month. The Premium plan includes 5 TB for $390 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. This bandwidth is usable 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.

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

Technical support is provided 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. They also offer unlimited bandwidth usage, which is an unusual feature for the industry.

Cost
Service via Livestream is split into three main pricing tiers.

The Basic plan costs $42 per month, and includes ad-free live streaming, integrated chat, and unlimited storage archive for streams and VOD. The Premium plan, at $249 per month, adds support for streaming to Facebook Live or YouTube, embedding live streams, and phone based customer support. Finally, the Enterprise plan is available on a custom contract basis for larger clients. This plan adds total white label support, monetization options, and APIs.

There is also a free plan available, but most of the features are missing.

Kaltura

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

Basic 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, Kaltura offers cloud-based video hosting and distribution services for both VOD and live streams.

Headline featuresOnline Video Platform Comparison Best Video Hosting Services 2017 - monetization
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.

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

Headline features
Ooyala is built around a number of tools. Their 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
Boston-based Brightcove, founded in 2004, is one of the oldest online video platforms in operation. Their product offerings focus on cloud encoding, live streaming, and video on-demand hosting.

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.

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. However, this online video platform comparison should help you narrow down the options on the market according to your specific needs. Also remember that when comparing OVPs, you can always test them out via their free trial. Meanwhile if you haven’t already, test out our online video platform for 30 free days and see if it suits your business needs.

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