Streaming Solutions Comparison 2019: Pricing and Features
The video streaming market is predicted to be worth $70.5 billion by 2021. Live streaming is likely to make up the majority of that growth. To get in on that action requires hosting and delivering online videos. This article aims to help you with that challenge by sharing a streaming solutions comparison for 2019.
Did you know you can access high-quality professional broadcasting from $39 a month?
Specifically, this article will dive into the topic of live streaming pricing. How are streaming platforms priced, and why? Then, we’ll share information about a special Dacast promotion that is available for a limited time. Finally, we’ll explore the features of the Dacast platform and how that compares to other services.
Live streaming pricing
Live streaming platforms are priced in different ways depending on the features and bandwidth available. We can look, for example, at Dacast. Dacast offers two types of pricing: annual or monthly plans, or event pricing.
Annual plans offer more affordable pricing and convenient billing and start at just $39 per month. Monthly pricing offers a zero-commitment service if you’re not prepared to pay for a whole year of service upfront.
The Premium plan includes all Dacast platform features: API access, monetization tools, phone support, and more. These features are suitable for many professionals and business users, including OTT media businesses, educational institutions, sports leagues, TV stations, and so on. For even larger users, Enterprise pricing and custom plans are available that further reduce costs.
If you only stream occasionally, check out Dacast’s event pricing. In this model, you pay a one-time fee for a given amount of bandwidth (which is valid for one year) and access to the platform.
What can you get with Dacast
White label (custom branding)
One important feature to examine in a streaming solutions comparison is white-label service, or the ability to custom brand your videos. White label service allows you to include your own branding on all your videos and live streams. It’s essential for professional businesses, and it’s one reason why marketers who are using video are seeing 49% faster growth in revenue.
DaCast includes this feature at all plan levels. In contrast, IBM Cloud Video only offers true white-label service with the $999/month or higher premium plan. That’s a steep price to pay for white label streaming. Livestream, similarly, only includes white label branding control with $999/month and up Enterprise plans.
Dacast’s Premium Plan (and higher plans) includes full support for advertising, pay-per-view, and subscription monetization. Pay-per-view and subscriptions are handled via a built-in paywall. This paywall allows you to securely accept payments anywhere in the world with just a few moments of setup.
Advertising support with Dacast allows you to directly integrate advertising in your Dacast account. Our built-in video player now supports pre-roll ads using any VAST 2, VAST 3, VPAID, VMAP, or Double Click ad network or ad server. Ads can be inserted easily simply by using your account dashboard and inserting an ad URL.
Compared to Livestream: the Livestream streaming solution does include monetization tools. However, they aren’t available unless you purchase the $999 per month and up Enterprise plan, compared with $188 for Dacast.
Compared to IBM Cloud Video: the IBM Cloud video platform includes advertising monetization support but doesn’t include any built-in tools for subscriptions or pay-per-view. They are compatible with video monetization platforms such as Cleeng and InPlayer, which Dacast is also compatible with.
API access streaming solutions comparison
An API, or Application Programming Interface, allows you to easily integrate a video platform into existing systems/workflows, or to build custom web, mobile, or desktop applications. In short, an API makes software developers’ life much, much easier.
APIs are essential for many professional users of online video platforms. Therefore, when conducting any streaming solutions comparison, it’s important to look at whether APIs are available. Also, assess how much money you to have to pay to access an API.
With Dacast, our video content management API is available on the Premium Plan and above. This means you can access the API for $188 per month. The Dacast video player API and mobile SDKs are available at all plan levels.
In contrast, Livestream only provides a video API to users on Enterprise Plans, which (once again) start at $999 per month. IBM Cloud Video is even more expensive, and only offers API access to users on custom-priced Enterprise plans (>$999).
Another important part of a streaming solutions comparison is analytics. Analytics gathers data and statistics about your viewers and your content. This data can be essential in making good business decisions.
Dacast includes a complete analytics dashboard at all plan levels, from $39 a month. The Premium plan and above also include real-time analytics. This allows you to track viewers, playback sessions, data use, and geographic whereabouts of viewers in real-time.
Both Livestream and IBM Cloud Video include analytics tools as well. However, IBM Cloud Video restricts advanced analytics to the $499/month Gold plan and up.
You can’t play video without a video player. Dacast recently upgraded all accounts to a new HTML5, all-device compatible video player. This video player features:
- Better performance
- Improved responsiveness and auto-resizing
- Better audio-only streaming support
- Broader HLS support
- Chapter markers (see below for more details)
- Support or multiple audio tracks
- Countdown timer until the beginning of live stream
Both IBM Cloud Video and Livestream have built-in HTML5 video players with various features as well.
Another critical feature to look at for an online video platform comparison is content delivery. A “Content Delivery Network” (CDN) is the standard solution for delivering live streaming on on-demand video. Using a high-quality CDN reduces buffering and video start-up times, reduces the load on servers and thus reduces the risk of hardware failure, and provides redundancy.
When they watch a poor quality stream, viewers get upset before they even know they’re upset. Their happiness falls and they’re much more likely to leave—and to view your brand negatively.
At Dacast, we use the Akamai CDN—the world’s largest content delivery network. Akamai is made up of a network of more than 240,000 servers located in more than 130 countries worldwide. All Dacast content is delivered via the Akamai CDN, at all plan levels.
Both Livestream and IBM Cloud Video use internal server networks to deliver live streams and also mention “eCDNs,” which can help partially mask the effects of using smaller content delivery networks.
We mentioned earlier a new feature with Dacast’s video player, which is chapterization. This feature allows you to easily demarcate a longer video-on-demand into discrete sections. This makes it easier for viewers to navigate around the video, preview what is coming in later sections, and find a section they watched earlier.
It’s easy to add chapter markers to your VOD files with Dacast.
IBM Cloud Video includes a chapter marker feature, but Livestream does not include this functionality.
So how does Dacast fare in a streaming solutions comparison? From what we can tell, Dacast fares well when compared to our major competitors. We offer equivalent or better functionality (white label, API access, chapter markers, monetization tools, etc.) at lower prices.
Hopefully, this article has helped you to better understand streaming solutions in 2019. Any questions or comments? Let us know what you think! We love hearing from readers. For regular tips and exclusive offers, you can also join our LinkedIn group.
After reading this article, are you interested to learn more about our own professional streaming platform? If so, you can take advantage of our 14-day free trial (no credit card required) to test out the Dacast features for yourself. Just click the button below to sign up and start streaming today.
Thanks for reading and, as always, good luck with your live broadcasts!