Video Streaming Costs Breakdown: How Much Does it Cost to Stream?

By Max Wilbert

23 Min Read

banner image featured
author avatar

Max Wilbert

Max Wilbert is a passionate writer, live streaming practitioner, and has strong expertise in the video streaming industry.

Table of Contents

    More than 63% percent of people aged 18-34 watch online video streams regularly. Since this type of media is so popular, more and more organizations are beginning to live stream video on their website.

    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

    However, there are many costs associated with live streaming that broadcasters have to consider. 

    In this post, we’ll examine the different factors that contribute to video streaming costs. We’ll focus on streaming server costs, comparing the pricing of the top live video streaming platforms. We’ll also take a brief look at the cost of equipment and other services.

    We’ll be Covering:

    • Creating a Professional Streaming Experience
    • 3 Major Factors in Video Streaming Costs
      • Streaming Server Costs
      • Live Streaming Equipment Costs
      • Professional Services and Additional Costs
    • Conclusion

    Creating a Professional Streaming Experience

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

    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.  You do not control the type of advertisements that are shown with your content. The video player itself will also contain the watermark of the streaming video provider.

    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 broadcasters avoid free platforms and opt for a pro-grade streaming solution.

    That does mean paying streaming costs, but it also means greater control over your content and presentation.

    3 Major Factors in Video Streaming Costs

    Several factors contribute to the cost of streaming, and ultimately, the cost of your streaming setup will be determined by your specific needs and goals.

    The three main factors to consider are streaming server costs, live streaming equipment prices, and professional service costs.

    Let’s break each of these factors down to identify the different costs with streaming videos online. 

    1. Streaming Server Costs

    Various factors 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 a significant amount of money.

    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.

    Let’s examine live streaming pricing for a few of the top video streaming solutions, including Dacast, Brightcove, IBM Cloud Video, Livestream, and more. All of these are capable, professional-grade platforms. However, pricing and functionality vary widely.

    Dacast

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

    Dacast delivers high-quality streaming worldwide at very competitive pricing. Dacast is located in San Francisco with offices around the world. Our unified streaming solution is a great option for broadcasters that want to create professional-grade streams for audiences of any size.

    Pricing plans with Dacast include four packages:

    • Starter: $39/month (billed annually)
      • Ideal for newcomers 
      • 1,000 TB of bandwidth 
      • 50 GB of storage per month
    • Event: $63 per month (or $750/year)
      • Ideal for organizations that would rather not sign a contract, and want to purchase bandwidth separately to live stream an event
      • 6 TB of bandwidth upfront
      • 50 GB of storage
      • Additional data and storage can be added as needed
    • Scale: $188/month (billed annually)
    • Custom: Custom-priced
      • Built for enterprises with high volume streaming needs
      • Contact Dacast for a custom plan tailored to your needs

    Interested broadcasters can contact Dacast directly to learn more about any of these plans. Dacast offers video streaming server costs at various price points to meet the needs of various businesses.

    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.

    Brightcove offers three pricing plan levels that target higher-end clients.

    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
      • 50 to 200 videos
      • Up to 100,000 plays, and 2-5 users
    • Professional
      • Unlimited videos
      • 100,000+ plays
      • No overages plays
      • 10 users
    • Enterprise
      • Unlimited videos
      • 100,000+ plays
      • No overages plays
      • 10+ users
      • Unlimited upload
      • Analytics-only users

    Brightcove’s pricing is no longer posted, but plans include basic video marketing tools and analytics with SD streaming quality for unlimited viewers.

    If you want to understand fully how much does it cost to stream a video with Brightcove, you need to reach out to their sales department. 

    IBM Cloud Video

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

    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.

    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.

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

    • Silver: $99/month
      • 100 viewer hours
      • 5 channels
      • 1 TB of video storage
    • Gold: $499/month
      • 2,000 viewer hours
      • 10 channels
      • 2 TB of video storage
    • Platinum: $999/month
      • 5,000 viewer hours
      • 20 channels
      • 5 TB video storage
    • Custom: Custom-priced
      • Totally custom-built
      • Please contact IBM Cloud video for custom plan pricing.

    IBM Cloud Video offers a range of video streaming server costs based on the type of plan you select; they offer plans for both small and larger enterprises. 

    Vimeo Livestream

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

    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 merged their services.

    Vimeo Livestream offers three main pricing plans, including:

    • Vimeo Premium: $75/month
      • Live streaming and VOD services
      • Built for professional broadcasting
    • Vimeo Enterprise: Custom-priced  
      • Please contact Vimeo for custom pricing information
      • Includes white-label streaming, monetization, and video APIs
      • 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 a Vimeo relationship
      • Includes 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.

    Wowza

    wowza video platform
    Wowza is a streaming platform for business-critical applications.

    Wowza Streaming Cloud is feature-rich and provides a customizable platform for broadcasters of all sorts.

    Wowza Streaming Cloud offers three 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 UHD and HD streaming.

    The Wowza Streaming Engine has its own pricing plan packages. These professional-grade streaming plans are billed annually and include:

    • Basic: $175/month + $195/month for each additional instance 
    • One Month Event: $295/month + $295/month for each additional instance 
    • Enterprise: Please contact Wowza directly for access to their custom-tailored high volume enterprise solutions

    Wowza offers a range of different pricing plans for streaming server costs based on your individual streaming needs. 

    Kaltura

    kaltura video platform
    Kaltura offers a wide array of video solutions with users from around the globe.

    Kaltura is an open-source streaming solution that offers customized streaming plans for a variety of use cases.

    These custom video hosting pricing plans offer a pay-as-you-go streaming structure and set credit allotments to redeem for bandwidth and feature integrations. Pay-as-you-go packages are billed monthly and larger plans are billed annually. Credits can be purchased in $6000 increments and are discounted when you spend a larger amount.

    The credit packages are structured as follows:

    • 10% discount on $6000 in credits, making the annual payment $5400
    • 12% discount on $12,000 in credits, making the annual payment $10,650
    • 20% discount on $24,000 in credits, making the annual payment $19,200
    • 25% discount on $60,000 in credits, making the annual payment $45,000
    • 30% discount on $90,000 in credits, making the annual payment $63,000
    • 35% discount on $120,000 in credits, making the annual payment $78,00

    For annual credit allotments of $120,000 or more, broadcasters can contact the Kaltura sales team for custom plans.

    Setup costs are built into each unique video hosting pricing plan. Kaltura also offers a free trial, so you can try the platform before you make any sort of commitment.

    Kaltura’s video streaming server costs depend upon how many credits you purchase and use. In order to get a discount on credits, you have to spend big. 

    StreamYard

    streamyard live streaming platform
    StreamYard specializes in in-browser live streaming.

    StreamYard is an in-browser streaming service. As the name implies, it operates entirely in-browser as opposed to the other platforms that work with a downloaded app or software.

    Some of StreamYard’s top features include multistreaming, chroma-keying, graphic overlays, reliable support, screen sharing, and a variety of video layout templates.

    This platform offers four pricing plans for broadcasters with a variety of budgets. Let’s take a look at each of the plans.

    • Free: Free to use
      • Very limited in terms of functionality
      • A good option for those who are new to broadcasting
    • Basic: $20/month (billed annually) or $25/month (billed monthly)
      • Access some advanced streaming features (unlimited streaming, brand customization, graphic overlays, simulcasting, and stream recording)
      • 10 on-screen participants
      • 4 hours of stream recording
      • 3 multistreaming destinations
    • Professional: $39/month (billed annually) or $49/month (billed monthly)
      • Same features as Basic plan plus full HD streaming and audio recording
      • 10 on-screen participants
      • 8 hours of stream recording
      • 8 multistreaming destinations
    • Enterprise: Custom-priced
      • For broadcasters with greater streaming needs
      • Interested broadcasters can reach out to StreamYard directly for a quote

    StreamYard offers a free video streaming server plan with limited functionality and affordable basic and professional streaming plans for businesses looking for a simple in-browser streaming solution. 

    Panopto

    panopto video platform
    Panopto is a great video hosting option for internal streaming.

    Panopto is a streaming solution that is focused on education and corporate training. This platform includes live streaming, video management, stream recording, video organization, smart search, innovative integrations, mobile streaming, and more.

    Panopto is designed for streaming to an internal audience. It offers three streaming pricing plans, including:

    • Basic: Free
      • 5 hours of video storage
      • 100 hours of video streaming per month
      • No one-on-one support
    • Pro: $14.99/month
      • 50 hours of video storage
      • Unlimited hours of video streaming 
      • One-on-one support via online chat and email
    • Enterprise: Custom-priced
      • 25,000 hours of video storage
      • Unlimited hours of video streaming 
      • One-on-one support via phone, online chat, and email
      • Access to many advanced streaming features

    Contact Panopto for a free trial and quote for an Enterprise streaming plan. Panopto offers a free plan as well as an affordable pro plan for smaller enterprises and has a custom enterprise plan for larger organizations.

    StreamShark

    streamshark live streaming platform
    StreamShark offers some cutting-edge video hosting tools.

    StreamShark is another powerful platform that offers live and on-demand video streaming.

    Some of StreamShark’s top features include 360 live streaming, SSO security, customized branding, peer-to-peer streaming, multistreaming, and encoder management.

    StreamShark’s pricing plans include:

    • Standard: $199/month (billed monthly) or $159/month (billed annually)
      • 500 GB of VOD storage 
      • 4 simultaneous streams
      • 300 GB of encoding
      • Additional storage available $0.10/GB
    • Team: $499/month (billed monthly) or $399/month (billed annually)
      • 2,000 GB of storage
      • 7 simultaneous streams
      • 1000 GB of encoding
      • Additional storage is available for $0.09/GB
    • Business: $999/month (billed monthly) or $799/month (billed annually)
      • 5,000 GB of storage
      • 12 simultaneous streams
      • 3000 GB of encoding
      • Additional storage is available for $0.08/GB
    • Enterprise: custom-priced
      • Available for broadcasters with larger streaming needs

    StreamShark’s video streaming server costs are designed for larger enterprises with broadcasting needs. 

    Hippo Video

    hippo video hosting platform
    Hippo Video has a fairly complex pricing system.

    Hippo Video is a video streaming service that offers a wide variety of professional streaming solutions with a large collection of features. Some of these features include video analytics, stream recording, editing tools, video API, video email, template builder, brand customization, and more.

    Hippo Video has a wide variety of pricing plans for different types of users. These include:

    • Sales
      • Pro: $30/month; 2 GB file size limit; 60 minute video length limit; white-label streaming; 200GB of bandwidth 
      • Growth: $48/month; 3 GB file size limit; 120 minute video length limit; white-label streaming; 200GB of bandwidth
      • Enterprise: $79/month; contact Hippo Video to learn more
    • Marketing
      • Starter: $23/month; 1 GB file size limit; 30 minute video length limit; white-label streaming; 200GB of bandwidth
      • Pro: $49/month; 2 GB file size limit; 60 minute video length limit; white-label streaming; 200GB of bandwidth 
      • Growth: $99/month; 3 GB file size limit; 120 minute video length limit; white-label streaming; 200GB of bandwidth
    • Support
      • Starter: $10/month; 1 GB file size limit; 30 minute video length limit; white-label streaming; 200GB of bandwidth
      • Pro: $29/month; 2 GB file size limit; 60 minute video length limit; white-label streaming; 200GB of bandwidth
      • Growth: $49/month; 3 GB file size limit; 120 minute video length limit; white-label streaming; 200GB of bandwidth
    • Team Communications
      • Starter: $7/month; 1 GB file size limit; 30 minute video length limit; white-label streaming; 200GB of bandwidth
      • Pro: $15/month; 2 GB file size limit; 60 minute video length limit; white-label streaming; 200GB of bandwidth
      • Growth: $23/month; 3 GB file size limit; 120 minute video length limit; white-label streaming; 200GB of bandwidth
    • Other Solutions
      • Education: Free to $9/month OR $1/user
      • Personalization: Starting at $109/month + fees
      • Recorder API: Contact Hippo Video for a custom quote

    Hippo Video offers many different types of packages. Their video streaming server costs vary from very low rates to much higher rates per month, great for a broadcaster who wants a video hosting solution they can grow with. 

    2. Live Streaming Equipment Prices

    There are several pieces of equipment that you’ll need for a professional live streaming setup. These include:

    • One or more cameras (ranging from webcam to professional camcorder)
    • A good desktop computer or laptop
    • Capture cards or devices
    • Audio capture equipment
    • Lighting equipment, greenscreens, backdrops, etc. (optional)

    The cost of live streaming equipment varies depending on how complex of a streaming setup you need to reach your online broadcasting goals.

    For example, if you have a smartphone and only need to produce a simple stream, the equipment will be very cheap. You can probably even use things that you already have.

    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 dollars range.

    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.

    3. Professional Services and Additional Costs

    The final category of costs to consider 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.

    Conclusion

    As you can tell, video streaming costs vary greatly based on the situation. Some broadcasters can get away with investing hundreds of dollars (or less) on their streaming needs, and others will need to invest thousands.

    There are a variety of great live streaming platforms on the market today. They vary greatly in terms of pricing and features.

    Dacast is a great option for broadcasters who are looking for a powerful solution to host their streams. We offer a 14-day risk-free trial, so you can try our platform for yourself. Simply create a Dacast account to start your trial. No credit card or binding contracts are required.

    Get started for free

    We’d love to hear about your experience. Let us know about your setup, challenges, and how it’s all working out, in the chat 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!

    author avatar

    Max Wilbert

    Max Wilbert is a passionate writer, live streaming practitioner, and has strong expertise in the video streaming industry.

    Sign up for a 14-Day trial.

    Read Next

    article featured

    How to Troubleshoot Live Streaming Issues [2022 Update]

    author avatar

    Kevin Graham

    16 Min Read

    article featured

    Password Protected Video Hosting – What You Need to Know in 2022

    author avatar

    Harmonie Duhamel

    17 Min Read

    article featured

    The Definitive Guide to Online Video Hosting Pricing and Costs in 2021

    author avatar

    Emily Krings

    44 Min Read