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Top 10 Video Streaming Platforms: Everything You Need to Know [2021 Update]

By Emily Krings

26 Min Read

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Emily Krings

Emily is a strategic content writer and story teller. She specializes in helping businesses create blog content that connects with their audience.

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      When it comes to online video streaming, it can be a challenge to know where to start. Before going live, broadcasters need to consider which video delivery platform suits their streaming needs. 

      With so many video streaming platforms on the market, it can be difficult to decide which is right for you.

      When it comes to choosing a professional streaming solution, you should compare key features, including monetization options, video API access, storage, secure video uploading, analytics, and more.

      To help you narrow down options, we’ve put together a comparison of the 10 top video streaming platforms in the world. 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 Streaming Video Provider?
      • What to Consider When Comparing B2B Video Platforms
      • Top 10 Video Streaming Platform Comparison in 2021
      • Why Choose the Dacast Live Streaming Platform?
      • Conclusion

      B2B Video Streaming: How Video has Broken into Business

      video delivery platform
      In the past few years, video content delivery has played an increasingly important role in the professional world.

      According to streaming statistics, 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 Streaming Video Provider?

      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 streaming video providers 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 online 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. 

      1. Reliability:

      streaming video provider
      Choose a streaming service that is sturdy and secure with reliable support.

      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.

      2. Price:

      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 online 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.

      Comparison of the Top 10 Video Streaming Platform in 2021

      Video Streaming Platform Comparison
      Pay close attention to the features that you need to reach your broadcasting goals.

      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.

      1. Dacast

      Video Streaming Platform
      Dacast—equipped to host both live streaming and on-demand content—is one of the top B2B video streaming platforms on the market.

      Dacast is a unified streaming solution that offers a wide variety of professional features. We offer both live streaming and video on demand platforms

      This platform is designed for broadcasters from enterprises, schools, and other professional organizations 

      Basic Functionality:

      Dacast provides comprehensive live streaming and online video hosting solutions. 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.

      Key Features:

      Pros:

      Cons:

      • Takes a little bit of time to learn all of the features

      Pricing:

      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. Flowplayer

      Flowplayer has offices in the United States, Finland, and Sweden. Flowplayer was launched in 2013, but the site provides very little background information on the company’s history.

      Basic Functionality:

      Flowplayer is an online video platform that serves large media houses and small businesses. They are primarily known for their white-label streaming services and top-of-the-line monetization solutions.

      If you are looking for an online video platform that is simple and straightforward, Flowplayer could be an option for you.

      Key Features:

      • High-quality video player
      • Live streaming capabilities
      • Award-winning monetization solutions
      • Live streaming and VOD hosting
      • Real-time video analytics
      • Android and iOS SDK for mobile app development

      Pros:

      • Mobile streaming
      • Tools for marketing
      • Multiple options for video monetization
      • Dedicated customer support

      Cons:

      • No China Video Delivery
      • Very basic platform 

      Pricing:

      Flowplayer has three pricing plan packages: Standard, Professional, and Enterprise:

      • Standard – $25/month, includes 50,000 monthly plays, custom player, video management, playlists, and analytics
      • Professional – $100/month, includes 50,000 monthly plays, all standard features above, and adds video monetization and ad analytics
      • Enterprise – $500/month, includes a minimum of 500,000 monthly plays, and features above, and adds live streaming, live analytics, DRM, mobile SDKs, and dedicated support

      3. Vimeo Livestream

      Vimeo Livestream Video Streaming Platform
      The Vimeo Video Streaming Platform offers live broadcasting and video hosting solutions for businesses of all sizes. Source: Vimeo

      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.

      Basic Functionality:

      Vimeo is a video hosting platform built for everybody from beginners to professionals.

      Key Features:

      • Pay for what you use
      • Editing tools included
      • Ad-free streaming
      • Pay-per-view and subscriptions
      • Professional looking platform
      • Easy-to-use API
      • Analytics 

      Pros:

      • User friendly
      • Monetization options 
      • Built-in transcoding
      • Customizable video players
      • VOD and live streaming

      Cons:

      • Monetization costs up to 10% of revenue 
      • Gets expensive as you purchase add-ons
      • No China video delivery

      Pricing:

      Vimeo Livestream offers three main pricing plans, including:

      Vimeo Premium:

      • Premium pricing: $75/month
      • Their Premium plan includes both live streaming and VOD services. This plan is the way to go for professional broadcasting.

      Vimeo Enterprise:

      • 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.

      Vimeo OTT:

      • 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.

      4. Youtube Live

      YouTube is probably the most popular video streaming platform on the market. It was one of the first platforms to make online video streaming popular.

      Basic Functionality:

      This Google-owned website is one of the best options for consumer-grade broadcasting, but many businesses use it as a means to dip their toes in the world of video broadcasting.

      As we mentioned, YouTube is not ideal for business hosting since the platform has limits on monetization and it does not give users full ownership of their content.

      The biggest perk of using Youtube? It is completely free to use and is pretty easy to navigate.

      Key Features:

      • Ad-based monetization limited to users with large followings and watch times
      • No notable security features
      • Popular among consumers
      • Powered by Google
      • Easy to share videos
      • Videos can be embedded in other websites
      • No white-label capabilities

      Pros:

      • Free to use
      • Viewers are familiar with the site
      • User-friendly 
      • Easy to embed the player on your website
      • Live and VOD hosting

      Cons:

      • No white-labeling
      • Only ad-based monetization (with limitations)
      • Limitations on broadcasters’ ownership of content
      • Off-brand third party ads and logos

      Pricing:

      Youtube is free of charge.

      5. IBM Cloud Video

      IBM’s Cloud Video Streaming Platform
      IBM’s Cloud Video Streaming Platform is an end-to-end solution, ideally suited for live or on-demand content for Enterprise. Source: 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.

      Basic Functionality:

      IBM Cloud Video is a hosting solution for both live streaming and video on demand. 

      Key Features:

      • Reliable platform
      • Stellar customer support.
      • An internal content delivery server
      • Built for enterprises and large organizations

      Pros:

      • Professional platform
      • Great for professional broadcasters
      • Reliable technical support
      • Equipped with powerful features for broadcasters
      • Hong Kong (China) video hosting

      Cons:

      • Only ad-based monetization 
      • Some limitations with internal content delivery server
      • Some important features only available with high-ticket plans

      Pricing:

      IBM pricing plans range from $99 to $999 per month and include the following:

      6. Wowza

      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.

      Basic Functionality:

      Wowza is a video hosting platform for broadcasters with a wide range of budgets.

      Detailed Features:

      • Video content management
      • Supports high-definition streaming
      • Robust security features
      • Video API
      • Simulcasting capabilities 

      Pros

      • Powerful security
      • Supports streaming on most devices
      • Live streaming and video on demand 
      • Connects with Google Analytics
      • China video delivery

      Cons:

      • Monetization through integrations only

      Pricing:

      Wowza Streaming Cloud offers 3 distinct pricing plans and services. Within Live Event Pricing, monthly plans include:

      • 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.

      7. Twitch

      Twitch Live Streaming Platform
      Twitch is a social video platform for streaming content geared towards video games and entertainment.

      Twitch.tv is a very popular application in the world of video gaming. Streamers set up channels where viewers and supporters can follow them.

      Basic Functionality:

      This site is pretty niche, but it is a great platform if you are trying to reach an audience in the gaming, fantasy, or tech industry.

      Key Features:

      • Tools for tipping
      • Primarily used to stream video games
      • Live chat for viewer engagement

      Pros:

      • Mobile broadcasting
      • Compatible with both iOS and Android devices

      Cons:

      • Mostly geared towards consumers
      • No advanced video streaming tools

      Pricing:

      Twitch does not charge content providers to use their platform, but they allow them to make money off of their users. This program is called Twitch Subscriptions, and it includes 3 tiers:

      • Tier 1 subscription – $4.99/month
      • Tier 2 subscription – $9.99/month
      • Tier 3 subscription – $24.99/month

      8. Brightcove

      Brightcove Video Streaming Platform
      Brightcove’s Video Streaming Platform uses an innovative HTML5 video player with the latest ingest and transcoding technology. Source: Brightcove Video Cloud

      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.

      Basic Functionality:

      Brightcove is a video hosting platform specifically designed to help with marketing and monetization.

      Key Features:

      • Video monetization 
      • Marketing and advertising tools
      • Live streaming
      • Powerful app integrations for maximum customization
      • Insightful video analytics

      Pros:

      • Privacy and security tools
      • Built-in editing features
      • Many apps and integrations
      • Reliable technical support

      Cons:

      • Additional purchase required for 24/7 support
      • Difficult for beginner broadcasters to use

      Pricing:

      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.

      9. Facebook Live 

      Facebook offers both “Live” and “Watch” which allows businesses and organizations to host on-demand content or broadcast live content. 

      Live streams can be hosted on personal profiles, pages, and groups, but on-demand “Facebook Watch” videos can only be published by Facebook Pages.

      Facebook is commonly used by businesses and organizations that are just dipping their toes in the world of live broadcasting. Since it is a free platform, Facebook poses many challenges related to video ownership, time limits on videos, monetization, and more.

      Aside from those few technical restrictions, live streaming with Facebook Live is valuable for connecting with existing audiences. 

      Basic Functionality:

      It is common for broadcasters who use premium streaming solutions to connect their accounts to multicast to both Facebook and their websites. This allows users to tap into their existing Facebook audiences while accessing the professional tools of a video hosting solution.

      Key Features:

      Pros:

      • The app is free
      • Viewers are familiar with the platform
      • Live chat promotes engagement
      • Taps into existing following

      Cons:

      • No monetization options
      • Time limits on live videos
      • Cannot remove Facebook’s branding

      Pricing:

      Facebook is free of charge.

      10. JW Player

      JWPlayer video stream platform
      JW Player played an important role in the birth of video streaming since it served as part of the open-source code that would one day become Youtube.

      JW Player was originally founded as a video player. However, the platform has since expanded to include video hosting and delivery services. 

      Basic Functionality:

      Recently, the company added live streaming to its offerings as well. JW Player is a highly capable player that is based on open-source coding. The live streaming platform includes the player itself, among other useful features.

      Key Features:

      • Live streaming and video-on-demand (VOD) hosting
      • A cloud-based content management platform
      • Custom video galleries
      • Up to 1080p HD streaming
      • Support for monetization via advertising
      • Multi-bitrate and adaptive streaming
      • Email support through the $100/month plan level
      • Video API access on all plans
      • Only custom-priced Enterprise plans offer DRM
      • Monetization via advertising

      Pros:

      • HD streaming
      • Video recommendations engine to generate custom “watch next” recommendations for increased viewership
      • Global content delivery

      Cons:

      • No China video delivery
      • Only basic security features
      • Only ad-based monetization

      Pricing:

      With JW Player, live streaming support begins at a free trial level. There are 3 pricing plan tiers:

      • 30-day free trial subscription which includes full API and SDK access, and a non-commercial license, with 25 GB hosting bandwidth and 75 GB streaming.
      • Starter pricing plan for $10 per month, which includes an HTML5 Video Player and video gallery, with 150 GB hosting bandwidth and 500 GB streaming (50,000 plays) per month billed annually.
      • Enterprise plans are available with custom pricing for high-volume storage and streaming. Enterprise plans support live streaming, while lower-tier plans only support VOD.  

      Publishers and broadcasters should contact JW Player directly for pricing and features.

      Why Choose the Dacast Live Streaming Platform?

      online streaming platforms
      Dacast’s video streaming platform offers security features on all plans, including password protection and encryption.

      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.

      Conclusion

      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.

      GET STARTED FOR FREE

      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!

      *To our readers: Please note that this post was originally written by Max Wilbert. It was revised in March 2021 by Emily Krings to include the most up-to-date information. Emily is a strategic content writer and storyteller. She specializes in helping businesses create blog content that connects with their audience.

      author avatar

      Emily Krings

      Emily is a strategic content writer and story teller. She specializes in helping businesses create blog content that connects with their audience.

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