So, you’re a professional and you’re looking for video hosting platforms. Good news! You’ve come to the right place. In this article, we’ll examine four top video hosting platforms for pro users. We’ll look at a variety of features, as well as pricing plans, for each platform.
Specifically, this post will review online video platforms Brightcove, Dacast, Vimeo, and Wistia. Relatedly, we’ll discuss why free, consumer-grade (B2C) platforms like YouTube generally aren’t suitable for most professional users.
No matter what type of professional you are, online video has something to offer. One survey, for example, found that 51.9% of marketing professionals worldwide name video as the type of content with the best ROI. Similarly, eighty percent of people in another poll would rather watch live video from a brand than read their blog.
These amazing numbers can–and likely will!–continue in the coming years. Only a few years ago, in 2016, analysts estimated that mobile ad revenue represented a $16 billion revenue opportunity in the US alone. And that trend only continues today!
With that context in mind, let’s first discuss how to compare streaming solutions, before turning to the specifics of our picks.
How to compare video hosting platforms
There are dozens of different video streaming platforms out there on the market. So, how can you compare them and find the best? To narrow things down a bit, we recommend looking at three areas: features, price, and support.
Professional users need certain features. We’ll dive into this in more detail in a moment. As far as pricing, different platforms have dramatically different pricing schemes. Some are much more expensive than others. Do the features justify that difference? In some cases, no.
Finally, support is also critical. Professionals need to diagnose and solve problems quickly. The availability of well-trained, rapid 24/7 customer support is essential in professional video hosting platforms.
The features professionals need
Pros need different features from their video hosting platforms. Cost is less of an issue. Functionality is more important. Professionals generally look for features such as:
- Detailed video analytics dashboard
- Powerful delivery via a “CDN” or Content Distribution Network
- Monetization options for advertising, subscriptions, or pay-per-view
- White-label service (completely custom branding)
- Security and privacy settings
- China video hosting, which is becoming increasingly key in our globalized world.
More and more media is being distributed via IP networks. In fact, some industry leaders are advocating that we stop differentiating between OTT and broadcast TV entirely. Today, we’re facing a future in which all TV is distributed via OTT. It’s a new video world, and to take advantage, you need a video hosting platform.
Top 4 video hosting platforms
First up in our video hosting platforms comparison is Brightcove.
Brightcove is a video hosting platform focused specifically on marketing and business communications. Their video streaming solution includes a range of features. This includes support for both on-demand video hosting, and live streaming (starting at $499/month, annually).
Other features include MAP/CRM integrations, analytics tools, security controls, video portals, and advertising monetization support. However, you might want to know that full OTT solutions and video monetization via ads insertion are only available on custom plans.
Brightcove pricing starts at $199/month and up for their “Marketing” (no live streaming) plan. This includes video portal, social sharing, CRM integrations, and basic analytics. It limits you to 50 videos and doesn’t include API access. However, live streaming is available with the Enterprise Communications plan (starting at $499/month). This plan also adds support for SSO (Single Sign-On) and security tools. However, it only supports 50 videos and 8 hours per year of SD live streaming. HD live streaming costs substantially more.
Finally, Enterprise plans are available for users with larger needs.
Phone support is not available for users on the Marketing or Enterprise Communications plan. The Marketing plan comes with a basic Silver support plan, and the Enterprise plan includes Gold support. Platinum support is available for an additional fee.
Dacast is a live streaming solution and video hosting platform that has worked with more than 110,000 broadcasters. These include The New York Times, Nokia, and Red Bull.
Features of Dacast online video platform include many staples for pros, as well as our new advanced video hosting capabilities. A built-in paywall allows for simple monetization. An API provides full access to the platform. Comprehensive documentation and code samples make it easy to use. Analytics allow you to track how you’re doing.
Dacast is also fully white-label, meaning no 3rd party ads or content detracting from your video. Custom branding is available on all plan levels. To top it all off, Dacast content is delivered via the Akamai Content Delivery Network (CDN), the largest in the world. That ensures rapid, high-quality delivery with minimal buffering issues.
Dacast is also proud to offer an advanced video hosting platform to our broadcasters as well. This includes secure video uploads and reliable China video hosting, two exciting features not common with pro many OVPs.
Dacast pricing starts at just $19 per month for an introductory plan. The first plan level gives access to pretty much the entire Dacast platform; professional broadcasters tend to choose the Premium plan ($125/month) or Enterprise plan ($289/month). These plans include more bandwidth as well as affordable API access, direct m3u8 links for mobile app, monetization tools, and multi-level access.
Custom pricing is available for larger users. Additionally, Dacast offers “event” pricing which is ideal for users streaming a single event or a short series. Pricing in these plans goes as low as 6 cents per GB.
You can read more about Dacast’s new video hosting and live OTT service in this post as well.
If you encounter problems, Dacast includes 24/7 support with all plan levels. Phone support is available for Pro and Premium plans. All support is provided by trained, in-house Dacast employees, rather than by a call center.
Next up is Vimeo, an online video platform that launched in 2004.
For most of its existence, Vimeo has catered to the creative market as a video-sharing platform. Since its 2017 acquisition of Livestream, however, Vimeo has shifted toward the B2B (business to business) sector.
Today, Vimeo offers OTT video hosting solutions, as well as live streaming functionality through Vimeo Live. Note that this newer “Vimeo Live” service is priced separately from the on-demand video service. Vimeo Live does offer unlimited viewers, but it does not currently include unlimited live channels. Broadcasters seeking 24/7 continuous streaming should be aware that this service reserves this feature for its highest-priced custom plan.
Compared to other streaming solutions, Vimeo takes a high-end premium approach to its live-streaming offerings. Again, VOD and live streaming services are priced differently with this service. For example, live streaming comes with plans starting at $500 per month. Prices can rise rapidly from here. Full API access starts at $1000+ per month. Full monetization tools aren’t included until the same pricing level. Finally, note that Vimeo’s OTT plans are typically based on multi-year contracts.
In terms of tech support (a must-have for live streaming), there is no 24/7 customer support option with Vimeo Live. Higher-priced OTT plans, however, do include a greater degree of tech support.
Wistia supports video hosting with a focus on marketing and analytics. For example, one of their headline features is “heatmaps.” This allows you to determine which segments of your videos are the most popular (or most confusing), causing people to rewatch.
The Wistia video player supports custom branding. It also allows you to add a call to action or a lead capture form. The service also provides security features and several video SEO options. However, Wistia does not include live video streaming functionality.
Wistia plans start free, for a simple basic plan with Wistia branding at a 3-video limit. The Pro plan, at $99 per month, includes all standard features. It also includes custom branding and 10 free videos. Additional videos cost $0.25 per month. For users with larger needs, Advanced plans are available with custom pricing.
Most Wistia plans include only basic email support via a ticketing system. Responses can take some time. Advanced plans include priority support.
Why pros should avoid free video hosting platforms
As we’ve shown, professional video hosting platforms provide a great deal of functionality. Free services like YouTube aren’t aimed at the same market. In general, these services make money through advertising. Plus, they never support custom branding. Their business model is simply different.
The global enterprise video market is expected to reach $19.8 billion by 2023. Remember, if the product is free—YOU are the product. With this in mind, professionals should avoid free video hosting platforms and choose a cost-competitive, professional-grade host like those we’ve highlighted here.
And there you have it! In this review, as with all our blog posts, we strive to provide as accurate and up-to-date info as possible. Of course, after reading this video hosting platform comparison, we hope you’ll consider giving Dacast a try. We offer a 30-day free trial that allows you to test all our live streaming and video hosting capabilities. Ready to give it a try (no credit card required)?
We love to hear from our readers, so sound off in the comment section if you have any questions or comments. For regular tips on live streaming, feel free to join our LinkedIn group.
As always, thanks for ready and good luck with your decision-making!