Online video streaming is becoming more and more popular as people “cut the cord” on cable and traditional television.
For any business aiming at getting involved in streaming media, understanding the live streaming software industry is critical.
Back in 2017, Vimeo acquired Livestream, a live stream video host platform. Since then, they’ve integrated live video streaming functionality and added OTT services to their offerings.
In this article, we will examine Vimeo as a live streaming video provider. Specifically, we’re going to look at the background of Vimeo and explore its entry into the OTT marketplace.
We will provide an overview of Vimeo livestream pricing before we dive deeply into the specific features of their streaming service. To wrap things up, we will talk about how Dacast compares to Vimeo as a provider.
Table of Contents
- The History of Vimeo
- Vimeo in the OTT Marketplace
- Vimeo’s Top Features
- Vimeo Pricing
- How Vimeo Compares to Other Live Streaming Video Providers
The History of Vimeo
Vimeo was launched in 2004 by a group of filmmakers. The creators were looking for a way to share videos with friends. Since video files are bulky, they can be difficult to send over text or email, so an online streaming platform posed the perfect solution.
Originally, Vimeo was designed to be a consumer-grade video hosting provider, and the service soon grew in popularity, serving as an early competitor to YouTube.
However, Vimeo quickly pivoted to focus on the creative market. Today, Vimeo is a video on demand platform with users that are mostly filmmakers, graphic designers, artists, and the like.
Vimeo offers a basic plan with highly limited disk space for free. Business plans are available for users with greater needs. These plans offer additional storage space and more features at an additional cost.
On September 26th, 2017, news broke that Vimeo was acquiring Livestream. Previously, the platform only offered VOD hosting.
At the point of this acquisition, Vimeo kept its original platform for VOD hosting, and the new “Vimeo Live” service was priced separately from the on-demand video service.
Today, both platforms are still owned by Vimeo, and they both offer VOD and live stream hosting. However, Livestream’s plans are geared more towards broadcasters with greater needs.
Vimeo in the OTT Marketplace
Vimeo currently offers an OTT service for media businesses that are launching their own streaming service. Like Livestream, Vimeo is positioning itself as an upscale video streaming 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.
With that context in mind, let’s explore everything you need to know about Vimeo’s streaming solution.
Vimeo’s Top Features
Although Vimeo was once geared towards consumers, it has gracefully evolved into a professional platform that is equipped with the tools professional broadcasters need to find success.
Here’s a rundown of a few of Vimeo’s features.
Live streaming is a valuable tool for businesses and organizations that are looking to broadcast live events. It is also valuable for hosting virtual events.
Although Vimeo has live streaming capabilities, it is only available on their Premium plan, which costs $75/month.
Storage and Bandwidth
Each of Vimeo’s plans come with a different amount of storage and bandwidth. This is something you need to pay attention to because you need to make sure you’re well-equipped to reach your broadcasting goals and stream at your intended scale.
Vimeo’s Livestream offers unlimited viewers, which is a convenient feature, but this is only the case for the Premium plan on the regular Vimeo platform.
From the professional broadcasting perspective, it would be even better with an unlimited number of channels to provide users the option to stream various events simultaneously.
While Vimeo’s most inclusive plan 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.
If you are a TV station looking for 24/7 continuous streaming, please note that plans with this feature are only available on Livestream, not Vimeo.
Video monetization presents a huge revenue opportunity. Video monetization requires special tools that are typically provided by your online video platform.
Vimeo offers monetization capabilities at an additional cost.
Costs begin at $1 per subscriber per month. If you’re a small broadcaster, these costs remain reasonable. Larger broadcasters may find these fees prohibitive.
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 offer a video content management API.
Video API allows you to customize your broadcasting experience on the backend, while player API allows you to customize your video player.
For customers on the basic Vimeo Live plan, tech support is available via email with a 1 hour response time on business days.
However, Vimeo does not offer a 24/7 customer support option in case you need immediate assistance. This can be quite inconvenient, especially if you encounter a problem in the middle of a live stream and there is nobody to troubleshoot your issue.
Content Delivery Network (CDN)
One of the biggest complaints Vimeo users have is the buffering time with videos. Vimeo doesn’t reveal how they deliver their content. 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 streaming video hosting provider that partners with a powerful video streaming CDN, such as the top-tier, widely used Akamai CDN or Limelight Networks.
Vimeo Live Streaming Pricing Costs
Vimeo takes a tiered approach to their pricing. They offer five plans ranging from $0 to $75/month. Here is a breakdown of their pricing plans:
Vimeo’s Basic plan is absolutely free to use forever, but, as one would expect, it comes with limitations. This plan is aimed at individuals and organizations who want to use the Vimeo platform as long as they are willing to follow their community guidelines and login once in a while.
The plan doesn’t come with privacy features, customization capabilities, live streaming, or advanced analytics, which makes it best suited for independent content creators rather than professional broadcasters. For these reasons, it provides the same experience as a social media platform such as YouTube does.
Basic plan users get 500MB per week of upload space, up to 5GB total account storage, basic video embedding features, video analytics, and the ability to download converted video files. Plan holders are limited to uploading up to 10 videos per day, create 1 channel, 1 group, and 3 showcases, and the ability to publish videos natively to social and eCommerce accounts.
Vimeo’s Plus plan costs $7/month and comes with 5 GB of bandwidth per week, 250 GB storage every year, and allocates for a single user. The only professional functions available at this level are player customization, privacy controls, and social distribution.
The next tier up on Vimeo is the Pro plan. This plan costs $20/month and comes with 20 GB of bandwidth per week, 1 TB storage every year, and 3 team member seats.
This plan unlocks tools to create and publish unlimited videos, custom video templates, review and approval, private team collaboration projects for up to 3 team members, customizable showcase sites, and streaming on your own site. It also has unlimited stock photos, videos, and licensed music tools.
The Business plan costs $50/month, and comes with 5 TB total storage, 10 team member seats, with no weekly bandwidth limitations.
In addition to greater customization capabilities such as custom branding, this plan has sales and marketing-specific tools like CTAs, lead generation, and showcase SEO. It also allows you to connect with Google Analytics.
For $75/month, the Premium plan and comes with 7 TB total storage, and claims unlimited live streaming on Vimeo. However, the plan limits to 10 team member seats and includes all of the features included in previous plans plus some tools that are specifically used for live event streaming such as unlimited live events, streaming to multiple destinations, live Q&A, graphics, and polls, as well as audience chat.
The appeal of Vimeo pricing comes with the fact that they truly offer plans for every budget. Beyond these four basic plans, Vimeo offers enterprise services under the name “Livestream.”
Dacast as a Vimeo Alternative
Although Vimeo has made strides towards the realm of professional broadcasting, most of its plans are still geared towards broadcasters with lesser needs. It doesn’t have the infrastructure to host large broadcasts like 24/7 continuous live streaming.
Dacast offers many of the same features as Vimeo but in a little bit of a different pricing structure. Here is a summary of key features, pros, cons, and live streaming pricing of the Dacast live streaming platform.
Although Vimeo has set monthly prices, there is a little bit of “pay-as-you-go” for certain features, like monetization. With Dacast, most features—monetization, video API, unlimited channels, and much more—are built into all of our plans. The main difference from plan to plan is bandwidth and storage, which are presented transparently from the start.
Dacast is a unified streaming solution, which means we fully support both live and on-demand video hosting. Here is a summary of key features, pros, cons, and live streaming pricing of the Dacast live streaming platform.
- Monetization tools (SVOD, AVOD), and pay-per-view (TVOD)
- White label and branding control
- Adaptive bitrate HTML5 video player
- RTMP Encoder for ingesting HLS streaming
- Low latency HTML5 channels for video streaming
- Live encoding support for the top video encoders
- Zoom live streaming integration
- Expo galleries video portal
- Unlimited viewers and live channels
- Video security tools for secure streaming
- Global content delivery with strategic CDN partnerships
- Multi-bitrate streaming
- Player API and Video API access
- 24/7 tech support
- VOD and live stream video hosting
- Real-time analytics
- Ad-free streaming
- Wide range of privacy and security tools
- Mobile device support
- Live stream recording
- China Video Hosting
- Plans for every budget
- A large range of features require a bit of an initial learning curve
Upload Guidelines and Specs
- Minimum dimension: None (but 240p is the recommended minimum)
- Maximum dimension: 1080p or 4K (depends on the user’s hardware and internet)
- Aspect ratio: No restrictions (but 16:9 is the default)
- Max file size: None
- Max video length: None
- Total file storage: 10-1000GB (depends on plan)
- Compatible video formats: MP4 (preferred), MOV, M4V, M2V, AVI, MPG, FLV, WMV, MKV, WEBM, OGV, MXF, ASF, VOB, MTS
Dacast’s live streaming pricing plans begin with the Starter Plan, and include the following:
- Starter Plan: $39/month (includes 1,000 GB of bandwidth & 50 GB of storage)
- Event Plan: $63/month (includes 6 TB of bandwidth upfront and 50 GB of storage)
- Scale Plan: $188/month (includes 24 TB of bandwidth per year and 1 TB of storage)
Vimeo is a viable solution, especially for broadcasters that are looking for a cheap solution and have minimal broadcasting needs.
Please keep in mind that cheaper does not mean you’re getting a better deal in the world of live broadcasting There are several alternatives available that will give you a much better bang for your buck when compared to Vimeo.
As we covered, one of these alternatives is our own service, Dacast. 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 on the market? Take advantage of our 30-day free trial. No credit card required.
Do you have questions or comments about any of the topics introduced in this article? We’d love to hear from you in the comment section below. We’ll do our best to get back to you as soon as we can.
And please reach out if we can help you plan and launch your linear live streaming channel. For exclusive offers and regular live streaming tips, you can also join our LinkedIn group.