What are the Costs of Streaming Solutions in 2021?

Cost of Streaming Solutions

Today, more than sixty-three percent of people aged 18-34 watch live video streaming content regularly. The industry is booming and more and more organizations are beginning to live stream video on their website. This requires consideration of the costs associated with streaming. This blog will look at the cost of streaming solutions in 2021.

More specifically, we’ll examine a number of different factors in the cost of streaming solutions. We’ll focus on the cost of the platforms themselves, comparing 5 top live video streaming platforms. However, we’ll also take a brief look at the cost of equipment and other services.

Don’t let the cost of live streaming deter you from getting started. In today’s world, streaming can be an essential part of doing business. Companies using video generally get more than 41% more web traffic from search. For online sales, video makes purchases 1.6x more likely. And around 52 percent of marketing professionals say a video is the content type with the best ROI. 

We’ll be Covering:

  • Creating an Optimum Streaming Experience
  • Factor in Streaming Solution Pricing
  • Cost of Streaming Solutions in 2021
  • Live Streaming Equipment Prices
  • Professional Services and Additional Costs
  • Conclusion

Let’s get started!

Creating an Optimum Streaming Experience

dacast online video platform
Live streaming costs should be factored into every broadcasting solution.

Clearly, OTT video can be highly effective for businesses. However, this requires the right approach. Some businesses choose to use free video hosting platforms for their business purposes. This has the advantage of reducing costs. However, it leads to a sub-optimal experience.

For example, free platforms monetize their over-the-top video via advertising and selling user data. That means that your video may be interrupted or preceded by ads inside or alongside your content. The video player itself will also contain the watermark of the streaming video provider (note that this is also the case with a lot of professional video live streaming solutions unless you pay a very high price).

On top of this, you’re unlikely to have much control over your content when dealing with social media video platforms. Monetization, analytics, security and privacy, and other tools are likely absent or minimal. For all these reasons, we recommend that professional users avoid free platforms and opt for a pro-grade streaming solution.

Factor in Streaming Solution Pricing

There are various factors that determine the cost of streaming solutions. The two largest factors are bandwidth and features. Most online video platforms charge based on how much bandwidth you use (viewership can be used as a proxy). There are a few platforms that include unlimited bandwidth, but these generally charge a premium for this or give you no access to professional features unless you pay $999.

Features also influence the price. Most video streaming providers offer multiple live streaming plans. Cheaper, more basic plans limit the number of features available. More expensive plans add advanced features, some of which are essential for business use. However, many streaming platforms offer cheap plans that restrict features highlighted on their website and include necessary features only on very expensive plans.

Cost of Streaming Solutions in 2021

Let’s shift now and look at the cost of 5 streaming solutions. We’re going to examine live streaming pricing for Brightcove, Dacast, IBM Cloud Video, Livestream, and Wowza. All of these are capable, pro-grade platforms. However, pricing and functionality vary widely.

1. Brightcove

brightcove live streaming platform dashboard
Mainly targeting huge clients, Brightcove offers two pricing plan levels. This solution is ideal for companies that are growing fast.

Overview and Company History:

The first platform we’ll look at is Brightcove. As a video hosting service, Brightcove focuses on marketing tools and businesses, OTT, advertising, and analytics. However, the service is quite expensive compared to most platforms.

Basic Functionality:

Brightcove’s basic features include video cloud hosting, the lift video player, server-side ad insertion, live streaming video, OTT flow for internet TV, encoder for cloud transcoding, and tools for monetization.

Key Features:

Brightcove’s key feature is the analytics provided to customers. Its detailed analytics and video marketing tools are quite valuable for businesses that aim to capture leads and understand their audience.

Detailed Features:

  • Live streaming and video-on-demand hosting
  • Analytics
  • Server-side ad insertion
  • Cloud transcoding and adaptive bitrate streaming
  • Monetization options on custom-priced plans


  • Great analytics
  • Custom video portals
  • CRM integration


  • Cost
  • No live streaming with packages under $499/month
  • Monetization limited to custom-priced plans
  • No China video delivery


Brightcove offers three pricing plan levels that target higher-end clients. Brightcove’s pricing is no longer posted, but plans include basic video marketing tools and analytics with SD streaming quality for unlimited viewers. However, larger users will prefer the Enterprise communications plan, which is custom-priced. Those plans add advanced security tools, HD-quality streaming, and phone support (30-min response time).

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

2. Dacast

live streaming solution
Dacast offers security features on all plans, including password protection and encryption

Overview and Company History:

The second video streaming solution we’ll examine here is Dacast. The Dacast platform delivers high-quality streaming worldwide at very competitive pricing. Dacast is located in San Francisco with offices in London.

Last year, Dacast earned the Streaming Media Readers’ Choice Award for Best Small/Medium Business Video Platform and Runner-Up for Best Education Video Platform. And in 2019, Dacast acquired the vzaar platform, expanding its comprehensive OTT solution.

Basic Functionality:

Dacast provides comprehensive live streaming and online video hosting services. Broadcasters who use this live video streaming solution maintains 100% of their content. Among other features, Dacast offers an integrated paywall, password protection, referrer restriction, and an analytics dashboard.

Key Features:

Dacast’s key features are ad-free broadcasting, white-label service on all plans, and top-tier CDN delivery. Reliable 24/7 phone support is also available for event and scale plans.

Detailed Features:



  • Requires a bit of a learning curve


Pricing plans with Dacast include four packages:

  • 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.

Broadcasters can contact Dacast directly to learn more about custom-priced high-volume plans.

3. IBM Cloud Video (formerly UStream)

ibm cloud video Live Streaming Solution
IBM is primarily a live video streaming solution, however, it does provide hosting for previous streams.

Overview and Company History:

Next in our live video streaming solutions review, IBM Cloud Video is the platform formerly known as UStream. This platform offers video hosting and streaming services, as well as a variety of features. Founded in 2007 to connect military service members with family, IBM purchased UStream in 2016.

Basic Functionality:

The basic functionality of IBM is live streaming. However, this live streaming solution also hosts video on demand files from previous live streams.

Basic streaming accounts are free, with advertising supporting IBM Cloud Video. Paid accounts remove advertising and grant access to advanced features. Enterprise accounts allow for full custom branding and offer analytics, multiple live channels, content syndication, and more.

Key Features:

Overall, key elements of the IBM Cloud Live Video solution include:

  • Streaming up to 720p resolution (*only Enterprise plans support 1080p full HD streaming)
  • Mobile-compatible video player
  • White-label custom branding (with high-end plans)
  • Uses IBM internal CDN to distribute content
  • API available (with high-end plans)

Detailed Features:

  • Video distribution and workflow
  • OTT video management
  • Enterprise video streaming
  • Enterprise content delivery network
  • Monetization capabilities


  • Reliable platform
  • Perfect for larger clients
  • Good customer support
  • Wide range of features for broadcasters
  • Hong Kong (China) video hosting


  • Additional fees required in order to stream above 720p resolution
  • Poor closed captioning support


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

  • Silver: $99/month
  • Gold: $499/month
  • Platinum: $999/month
  • Custom: Please contact IBM Cloud video for custom plan pricing.

4. Vimeo Livestream

Vimeo live Streaming Solution
Vimeo Live is a streaming solution that offers live broadcasting as well as video hosting services.

Overview and company history:

Next is Vimeo Livestream. In 2017, Vimeo acquired Livestream and launched its own live streaming service called Vimeo Live. Previously, Livestream was a company that offered live streaming and video hosting solutions.  Since the acquisition, the two companies have been merging their services. Like IMB Cloud Video, Vimeo Live is on the higher end of the live streaming pricing market.

Basic Functionality:

Vimeo offers streaming as well as video hosting services. The services include analytics and a video management platform.

Key Features:

  • Full-HD quality
  • All-device video player with adaptive bitrate streaming
  • Privacy tools, or embed to any website
  • White-label service
  • Live audience chat
  • Monetization options

Detailed Features:

  • Large storage capacity
  • Privacy options
  • Video management service
  • High-quality videos and streams
  • Upload from anywhere


  • Unlimited events and viewers
  • No ads
  • Sleek and professional appearance
  • Thoroughly detailed analytics
  • Easy to use
  • Pay-per-view option


  • Does not generate as much traffic as other sites
  • No China video delivery


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.

5. Wowza

Wowza Live Streaming Solution
Wowza is a streaming platform for business-critical applications.

Overview and Company History:

Finally, the last of the live video streaming solutions under review here is Wowza Streaming Cloud. Wowza is feature-rich and provides a customizable platform for broadcasters of all sorts. It was founded in 2005 by David Stubenvoll and Charlie Good. Wowza is a bootstrap start-up, with live and on-demand live streaming capabilities.

Basic Functionality:

Wowza offers two main products. The first is the Wowza Streaming Engine. This product is widely used in the industry for self-hosted streaming. The second is the Wowza Streaming Cloud offering. This functionality includes a variety of features aimed at providing low-latency content access to global audiences.

Key Features:

  • Live streaming and on-demand video hosting
  • Host-you-own streaming server product
  • White-label streaming
  • Mobile-compatible video player
  • Customer support (*note that phone support and fast responses cost extra)
  • RESTful API available

Detailed Features:

  • APIs are available
  • Live stream recording
  • Cloud management portal
  • Streaming up to 4K
  • Wide range of security options


  • Audience Engagement
  • Performance Monitoring
  • Mobile Screen Support
  • Robust security
  • Video Streaming
  • Video Looping
  • China video delivery


  • No Multistreaming
  • No Session Recording
  • No Video Monetization Tools
  • No Multiple Camera Feeds
  • No Audience Analytics
  • No Event Scheduling


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 a 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 a 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

Live Streaming Equipment Prices

The cost of live streaming equipment varies depending on how complex of a setup you desire to use. If you have a smartphone and only need the simplest streaming, the equipment can be at no cost at all.

However, most people will want to upgrade to a better quality mic and video camera. A basic setup can start at just a couple hundred dollars. Mid-range streaming costs in the several thousand ranges. At this price point, you’re generally paying for:

  • A good desktop computer for encoding
  • Capture cards or devices
  • One or multiple HD cameras capable of sending out a video via HDMI or SDI
  • Microphones

High-end productions will generally work with professional video engineers to develop a plan and list equipment needs. This will likely include higher-end cameras and audio equipment, mixers, workstation computers, hardware encoder(s), and more. Costs for a basic high-end production studio start around $10K, depending on many factors.

Professional Services and Additional Costs

The final category of costs we’ll look at here is the cost of professional services. This may include things like building a website, creating a video portal, assistance in creating mobile apps, and other similar tasks. Here at Dacast, we offer various professional services to broadcasters at affordable prices.

The biggest additional cost that we haven’t covered here is the cost of staff and operators for your live streaming. This cost will vary depending on your specific needs and is important to consider in addition to the cost of streaming solutions.


There are a variety of great live streaming platforms on the market today. However, the price can be a big differentiator. We think Dacast is a great and cost-competitive option for broadcasters. But if you’re not convinced, check out the free trial for 30-days:


We’d love to hear about your experience. Let us know about your setup, challenges, and how it’s all working out, in the comment section below! We’ll do our best to get back to you as soon as we can, and we’ll incorporate relevant ideas and insights into future articles.

For regular tips on live streaming and exclusive offers, you can join the Dacast LinkedIn group. Thanks for reading, and best of luck with your broadcasts!

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