When it comes to live video streaming, it can be a challenge to know where to start. Before going live, broadcasters need to consider which online video platform (OVP) suits their streaming needs.
With so many video streaming platforms on the market, it can be difficult to decide which is right for you.
To help you narrow down options, we’ve put together a comparison of the 5 top video streaming platforms today. We’ll review the basics of a streaming solution and discuss the importance of comparing features, particularly reliability and price. We’ll wrap things up with recommendations on how to choose the right platform for you.
With that outline in mind, let’s get to it.
Table of Contents:
- B2B Video Streaming: How Video has Broken into Business
- Why Use a B2B Video Streaming Platform?
- What to Consider When Comparing B2B Video Platforms
- Video Streaming Platform 2020 Comparison
- Why Choose the Dacast Live Streaming Platform?
B2B Video Streaming: How Video has Broken into Business
According to Statista, the number of digital video viewers in the United States will likely surpass 249 million by 2022.
In today’s digital world, live video streaming has become a primary way to engage with customers. Video content plays different roles in different industries, but the popularity of the medium is apparent across the board.
The demand for online video continues to grow exponentially. As a direct result, so do the number of business video hosting solutions designed to meet that demand.
There are several free, consumer-grade platforms that are available, but professional broadcasters need something that was specially designed to fit their needs. They need to use a B2B enterprise video platform.
Why Use a B2B Video Streaming Platform?
In order to understand the need for a professional streaming platform, you have to know the difference between B2C (business-to-consumer) and B2B (business-to-business) video streaming platforms.
Many amateur vloggers and content creators use B2C streaming services, such as Youtube, to broadcast their content. These platforms are typically free, but they come with a plethora of limitations. Free B2C streaming services typically acquire the rights to your video content and can monetize it themselves.
Most businesses and organizations won’t want to give up the distribution rights to their content if they don’t have to, which is the main reason professional broadcasters opt for a B2B video platform.
Free B2C video streaming platforms also typically display third-party ads and comments on your broadcasts, which serves as a distraction from your valuable video content. If you plan to stream live events like concerts, meetings, and religious events, you’ll want a B2B streaming platform that keeps the broadcasting process simple and professional. Likewise, if you want to stream live video on your website, you’ll need to choose a platform that supports that feature.
What to Consider When Comparing B2B Video Platforms
In order to effectively compare video streaming platforms on the market, you should start by narrowing down what exactly you want to achieve.
This process is not really about how to find the cheapest or the most popular platform. Instead, it’s about choosing the platform with the greatest number of beneficial attributes for you or your business.
Do you need monetization tools or password protection? Are marketing or sales tools useful to you? Perhaps you are looking for an easily embedded white-label video player.
The features that work well for you may not be necessary for other broadcasters. On the flip side, a feature that is really important to another broadcaster may be completely unnecessary for you.
Beyond features, it is important to consider reliability and price.
When comparing platforms for reliability, pay attention to the features that ensure smooth streaming every time. If you’re trying to live stream a major event, you can’t use a spotty streaming solution.
Look for a service that partners with a CDN (content delivery network) to deliver broadcasts to viewers.
CDN-powered live streaming services allow you to stream content globally without reaching a viewer limit.
In addition to the reliable solution, you should make sure the streaming service comes with 24/7 customer support.
Price is an equally important factor for many broadcasters. With close competition between live streaming platforms, broadcasters generally want the best quality and features for the lowest price.
The good news? This competition ultimately helps to keep prices lower, while maximizing the impact of your budget.
When users find high-quality video streaming platforms at a great price, they tend to commit right away. However, we recommend comparing pricing plans to narrow down your options.
Despite the relatively competitive prices, these investments are still hefty. We recommend shopping around or taking advantage of free trials.
Video Streaming Platforms 2021 Comparison
With those key features in mind, we’re ready to review the five top enterprise-grade video streaming platforms.
Take a moment to review the features that each of these platforms offers. Identify which features are most important for your streaming goals.
Which are the non-negotiables? Are there features you could afford to do without?
Let’s dive in.
This platform is designed for broadcasters from enterprises, schools, and other professional organizations
Dacast provides comprehensive live streaming and online video hosting services. Users can embed videos on their own websites while maintaining 100% control of their content. Among other features, Dacast offers an integrated paywall, password protection, referrer restriction, and an analytics dashboard.
- Secure, global content delivery, including industry-best video hosting
- 24/7 tech support with all plans, including email and live chat
- Video security features, including password protection and encryption
- Player API access for 3rd party player integration
- Video API access on premium plans (event and scale)
- Multi-bitrate streaming
- Annual transcoding data included
- Real-time analytics
- Ad-free streaming
- Live streaming and VOD packages on all pricing plans
- Unlimited viewers and live channels
- White label and branding control
- Embeddable HTML5 video player
- SVOD, AVOD, and pay-per-view TVOD monetization options
- Mobile device support
- Live stream recording
- China Video Hosting
- Plans for every budget
- Takes a little bit of time to learn all of the features
Streaming solution plans with Dacast come at three levels. The video streaming pricing plans include:
- Starter plan: ideal for newcomers with 1,000 TB of bandwidth and 50 GB of storage per month, at just $39 per month billed annually.
- Scale plan: includes 24 TB of bandwidth per year, with 1 TB of storage for $188 per month billed annually. These Scale pricing plans add phone support, monetization paywall, an M3U8 online player for live channels, ad insertion, white-label Cnames, and video API access.
- Event plan: for organizations who’d rather not sign a contract, and want to purchase bandwidth separately to live stream an event. It offers 6 TB of bandwidth upfront, 50 GB of storage, and costs just $63 per month (or $750/year). Additional data and storage can be added as needed.
- Custom plan: if your enterprise business has high volume streaming needs, you can contact Dacast for a custom plan tailored to your needs.
Read more here about live streaming pricing plans in more detail.
2. Vimeo Livestream
Although Vimeo Livestream now serves a professional clientele, it began as a B2C platform similar to YouTube.
Vimeo offers a variety of features that support live streaming and VOD hosting.
Vimeo is a video hosting platform built for everybody from beginners to professionals.
- Pay for what you use
- Editing tools included
- Ad-free streaming
- Pay-per-view and subscriptions
- Professional looking platform
- Easy-to-use API
- User friendly
- Monetization options
- Built-in transcoding
- Customizable video players
- VOD and live streaming
- Monetization costs up to 10% of revenue
- Gets expensive as you purchase add-ons
- No China video delivery
Vimeo Livestream offers three main pricing plans, including:
- Premium pricing: $75/month
- Their Premium plan includes both live streaming and VOD services. This plan is the way to go for professional broadcasting.
- Enterprise Pricing: Please contact Vimeo for custom pricing information
- The Enterprise plan includes white-label service, monetization, and video APIs. It also includes branding control and added security features.
- Starter Pricing: $1/subscriber per month
- Growth Pricing: starting at $500/month
- The OTT specific pricing packages come with the Vimeo.com relationship. These plans include all the basics for starting your web-based OTT channel, as well as growing your OTT business online.
For more details, check out our comprehensive guide to Vimeo Livestream pricing.
3. IBM Cloud Video
Once known as UStream, IBM Cloud Video is a reliable streaming video service, capable of both live streaming and VOD hosting. IBM Cloud Video is pretty expensive, making it best suited for enterprises and organizations with a large budget.
IBM Cloud Video is a hosting solution for both live streaming and video on demand.
- Reliable platform
- Stellar customer support.
- An internal content delivery server
- Built for enterprises and large organizations
- Professional platform
- Great for professional broadcasters
- Reliable technical support
- Equipped with powerful features for broadcasters
- Hong Kong (China) video hosting
- Only ad-based monetization
- Some limitations with internal content delivery server
- Some important features only available with high-ticket plans
IBM pricing plans range from $99 to $999 per month and include the following:
- Silver plan: $99+/month
- Gold plan: $499+/month
- Platinum plan: $999+/month
- Custom: Please contact IBM Cloud video for custom plan pricing.
Wowza is one of the oldest online video hosting platforms in the game. Although some of Wowza’s plans are more expensive, it is known for its budget-friendly options. This platform hosts both live streams and video on demand.
The top feature from Wowza is its amazing security features.
Wowza is a video hosting platform for broadcasters with a wide range of budgets.
- Video content management
- Supports high-definition streaming
- Robust security features
- Video API
- Simulcasting capabilities
- Powerful security
- Supports streaming on most devices
- Live streaming and video on demand
- Connects with Google Analytics
- China video delivery
- Monetization through integrations only
- Basic: $99/month and includes 20 hours of live streaming and 1,000 viewing hours based on video resolution of 720p
- One Month Event: $149 one-time purchase and includes 20 hours of live streaming and 1,000 viewing hours also at 720p
- Plus: $499/month and includes 150 hours of live streaming and 7,000 viewing hours based on video resolution of 720p
All of these Live Event plans include full brand control, multi-bitrate streaming, and HD and UHD streaming.
The Wowza Streaming Engine has its own pricing plan packages. These professional-grade streaming plans are billed annually and include:
- Basic: $125/month + $145/month for each additional instance and $125/month for each additional prepaid instance
- One Month Event: $245/month + $155/month for each additional instance and $95/month for each additional prepaid instance
- Enterprise: Please contact Wowza directly for access to their custom-tailored high volume enterprise solutions
Check out Wowza’s pricing page for alternative plans and packages.
Brightcove is a video hosting platform with a special emphasis on monetization and marketing. This platform has been around since 2004, and it has grown with the video streaming industry.
Brightcove is known as a luxury B2B video platform that is best suited for larger enterprises.
Brightcove is a video hosting platform specifically designed to help with marketing and monetization.
- Video monetization
- Marketing and advertising tools
- Live streaming
- Powerful app integrations for maximum customization
- Insightful video analytics
- Privacy and security tools
- Built-in editing features
- Many apps and integrations
- Reliable technical support
- Additional purchase required for 24/7 support
- Difficult for beginner broadcasters to use
Brightcove packages are all custom priced and are no longer posted.
The three pricing tiers include:
- Starter: includes 50 to 200 videos, up to 100,000 plays, and 2-5 users
- Professional: unlimited videos, 100,000+ plays, and no overages plays, with +10 users
- Enterprise: unlimited videos, 100,000+ plays, and no overages plays, with 10+ users, unlimited upload, and analytics-only users
For more information on Brightcove’s pricing, please contact them for a quote.
Why Choose the Dacast Live Streaming Platform?
Dacast is a professional and feature-packed live streaming video platform option for businesses and organizations that are looking to start broadcasting on a professional level.
Our use of an HTML5 video player means all Dacast streams are compatible with mobile, desktop, tablet, and any other device.
When you compare Dacast’s pricing plans to the video streaming platforms above, we remain the only service to offer so many features in its Starter plan at only $21/month.
If you need API access, monetization, and rapid phone support, we recommend the popular Dacast Scale Plan at $188/month, which includes 2000 GB of streaming data per month and 1000 GB of storage. Or if you need to stream events once, occasionally, or on an irregular schedule, we have the Event plan at $63/month; this plan includes 6000 GB of streaming data per month and 10 GB of storage.
Choosing Between Video Streaming Platforms
When choosing the B2B video platform for your business, you’ll want to check what types of plans are available and what level of commitment is required.
Ultimately you want to go with the platform that fits your budget and meets your needs in terms of features and capabilities.
No matter which direction you go for video streaming platforms, we hope this article has helped you to make a more informed decision.
And whatever your streaming goals, needs, and audience size, we’re here to help. Dacast offers an all-in-one professional streaming solution with no need to engage with intermediaries. In short, we guarantee our users an easy, seamless experience, backed by our 24/7 support service and a complete knowledge base.
Remember: take the time to compare price, reliability, and other important features you’ll need before committing to a streaming service. Also, take advantage of free trials whenever possible.
While we’re on the topic of free trials, be sure to check out Dacast’s 30-day risk-free trial. Give Dacast a try and explore all of our amazing features.
And finally, for regular tips and exclusive offers, you’re also invited to join our LinkedIn group. Thanks for reading, and good luck with your live broadcasts!
*Note to our readers: We’ve updated this article to reflect the latest comparison information as of January 2021.