The OTT industry, which provides streaming video solutions like Netflix and Hulu, is booming. At this point, more than 69% of U.S. households subscribe to at least one OTT services. A full 38% subscribe to two are more. For any business aiming at getting involved in streaming media, understanding the live streaming video provider industry is critical. Video-sharing website Vimeo purchased the live streaming video provider Livestream in 2017. Since then, they’ve integrated live video streaming functionality and added OTT services to their offerings. This article will examine Vimeo as a live streaming video provider. Specifically, we’re going to look at the background of Vimeo. We’ll explore their entry into the OTT marketplace, and discuss an overview of their service. Then, we’ll dive deeply into the specific features of the Vimeo live streaming video provider.
Table of Contents
- Vimeo History
- Vimeo Vying in the OTT Marketplace
- What You Need to Know About Vimeo
- Vimeo Features
- Vimeo Costs
- How Vimeo Compares to Other Live Streaming Video Providers
A group of filmmakers launched the video-sharing website Vimeo in 2004. The creaters were looking for a way to share videos with friends. The service soon grew in popularity, serving as an early competitor to YouTube. Soon, however, Vimeo pivoted to focus on the creative market. Today, Vimeo is a video-on-demand platform whose users are comprised mostly of filmmakers, graphic designers, artists, and more. Vimeo offers a basic plan with highly limited disk space for free. For users with greater needs, Business plans are available that offer more storage space and features at an additional cost. However, these plans include VOD only. On September 26th, 2017, news broke that Vimeo was acquiring Livestream. The new “Vimeo Live” service that comes from acquiring Livestream is priced separately from the on-demand video service, and includes live streaming.
Vimeo Vying in the OTT Marketplace
Vimeo now also offers an OTT service for media business that are launching their own streaming service. Like Livestream before it, Vimeo is positioning itself as an upscale video streaming provider. Basic live streaming functionality starts at $75/month. But adding professional level features like API access and monetization can add thousands of dollars per month to your total cost. These price points are out of reach for many smaller-scale and individual broadcasters. Even large broadcasters may not be able to justify the costs associated with Vimeo’s OTT live streaming video provider. This type of move is familiar to those who follow the online video industry. In early 2016, IBM purchased live streaming video provider UStream for around $130 million. Since then, the division has changed its name to IBM Cloud Video and has moved to position itself as an enterprise video platform with higher pricing. With that context in mind, let’s explore what more you need to know about Vimeo.
What You Need to Know About Vimeo
Any business that is considering Vimeo as a live streaming video provider needs to know a number of things. The two most important considerations are:
- What are the features?
- What are the costs?
Let’s answer these questions now.
Let’s to review some of the essential features a business might seek in a live streaming video provider.
Storage and Bandwidth
Vimeo Live offers unlimited viewers, which is a convenient feature. However, we think it would be even better with an unlimited number of channels to provide users the option to stream various events simultaneously. While Vimeo Live’s “Business Live” plan, at $450 per month ($300 per month if billed annually), offers unlimited streaming hours, businesses will want to take into account the 5-hour limit for each event.
Vimeo advertises its service as including unlimited data. However, unlimited might be a stretch in many cases. For example, plans include limited upload hours. As soon as you surpass your video uploading quota, Vimeo charges another $99 for 10 hours of additional uploads.
If you are a TV station looking for 24/7 continuous streaming, please note that the Vimeo live streaming video provider reserves this feature for its highest-priced custom plan.
Video monetization presents a huge revenue opportunity. To realize this potential requires monetization tools provided by your online video platform. Vimeo Live charges extra for subscription monetization. Costs begin at $1 per subscriber per month. If you’re a small broadcaster, these costs remain reasonable. But larger broadcasters may find these fees prohibitive. If you want more flexibility, it might be better to consider an OVP that includes monetization tools at no extra cost.
Video Content Management API
A video API is exceptionally important if you’re interested in developing programmatic uses of your streaming video provider. Vimeo Live does offers a video content management API. However, it is only included with plans starting at $800 per month. This is another prohibitive cost for many users.
For customers on the basic Vimeo Live plan, tech support is available via email with 1 hour response time on business days. However, there is no 24/7 customer support option in case you need immediate assistance. The highest-priced OTT plans do include improved tech support, but at a cost well over $1,000 per month.
One of the biggest complaints Vimeo users have is the buffering time with videos. Vimeo doesn’t reveal how they deliver their content. But businesses that need to bypass these issues could potentially solve their problems with a CDN-based service. A CDN (Content Delivery Network) delivers your video to your viewers. By leveraging massive server farms and global networks, a CDN speeds up delivery and solves buffering problems. It is an essential part of online video success. Viewers who request content from a CDN are automatically routed to the closest server. The larger the CDN network is, the faster your video delivery is. Therefore, you want to target a live streaming video provider that partners with a powerful CDN, such as the top-tier, widely used Akamai CDN.
Vimeo takes a high-end premium approach to their service. If you visit Vimeo pricing page, you will first see the price to host your VODs online. However if you ever want to live stream an event, note that this will be different plan priced separately, as Vimeo Live is another service.
For example, live streaming is only included 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. Also, Vimeo’s OTT plans are typically based on multi-year contracts.
Vimeo Live is a viable solution, especially for companies with high video-on-demand needs and low live streaming video provider needs. For companies with greater live streaming needs, Vimeo Live would only be a viable solution if budget was not an issue, as it is one of the most expensive streaming solutions on the market.
There are a number of alternatives available that can reduce your costs by 25%, 35%, even 50% of more when compared to Vimeo. One is our own service, Dacast. All the features we’ve mentioned here—monetization, video API, unlimited channels, and much more—are included with Dacast starting at just $125/month. Plus, we don’t include pesky hidden fees for subscribers or anything else. It’s simple: just choose a plan, and pay for the features you need plus the data you need.
Not yet sure where to start with all the live streaming solutions out there? Why not take advantage of our 30-day free trial (no credit card required)?