Online video platform comparison checklist

Mass media is in the midst of a revolution. A key element in this is the proliferation of the online video platform.

Starting in 2015, millennials age 14-25 began watching more digital video than television. These trends have only accelerated. Now, almost two-thirds of people ages 18-34 are watching live streaming regularly. These changes have rocked the market much faster than the transition from print to radio, or radio to television.

In this post, we’re going to talk about online video platforms. Specifically, we’re going to look at the following topics.

Table of Contents

  • Introduction to Online Video Platforms (OVPs)
  • Free vs. Professional-Grade Online Video Platform
  • Comparing 5 Top Online Video Platforms
  • Conclusion

Introduction to Online Video Platforms (OVPs)

So what is an online video platform? Essentially, an “OVP” is a tool for hosting, managing, and delivering online video. A good OVP will provide you with basic live streaming and video hosting. They’ll provide tools to deliver your videos rapidly to a global audience. And they’ll allow to secure, monetize, and customize your video model, plus analyze the results.

Let’s look in detail at a few of the important features of OVPs.

1. Multi Bitrate & Adaptive Streaming

Encode multiple renditions of your uploaded video (low definition, standard definition, high definition). Then automatically stream the best version for your viewer. Those with speedy Internet connections get crystal clear ultra HD quality, while slower connections (think shared public wifi, or 3G cell phone signal) get buffer-free viewing. Learn more.

2. Global Content Delivery Network

Online Video Platform Comparison 2019Your platform should have servers all over the world so that the video streams from whichever server is closest to the viewer. It makes for much speedier delivery. If you’re trying to reach viewers in China, the Great Firewall can make it difficult. Double check your video platform hasn’t been blocked. Learn more.

3. Tech Support

Problems can come up. How can you solve them? With good tech support. Preferably, you want access to support via phone, live chat, or email.

4. Video API

When you sign up to any online video platform your team needs to learn a completely new piece of software.  Even when they become confident, there’s still an overhead to switching between different systems.

A video API bypasses much of this by allowing you to incorporate the platform directly into your existing systems. This eliminates the need for staff to learn how to use a new product or switch up their workflow. Preferably, a video API should be fast to setup, include full documentation, support multiple languages, and be able to handle thousands of requests. Learn more.

5. Secure, Encrypted Streaming

Modern video businesses are built on monetization. That means you need to protect your content from piracy. Security firms are seeing increases in piracy, hacking, and digital attacks every single year. That’s why secure video delivery is an essential component of a modern video platform.

Free vs. a Professional-Grade Online Video Platform

Online Video Platform Comparison 2019There are many free video hosting platforms out there. Most notably, there is YouTube. However, for businesses, these products have many significant drawbacks. These negatives include:

  1. Invasive advertising. You never know exactly what will appear over your content.
  2. Automatic recommendations. Your video may provide a direct link to competitors.
  3. No customer support. If you have a problem, you better hope you can figure it out on your own.
  4. Limited monetization. You don’t have many options, and they aren’t very lucrative.

In contrast, a professional-grade online video platform will fix these problems. Plus, it should offer all the features we’ve listed above. Live streaming and VOD is being used effectively by many different types of businesses. And most of these choose a professional-grade online video platform.

Comparing 5 Top Online Video Platforms

5. Brightcove

The Brightcove OVP was founded in 2004. Their business is aimed at video hosting for large clients. Brightcover offers various pricing plans starting at $199/mo. and includes the following features.

Features

  • Multi-bitrate and adaptive streaming are included.
  • Global content delivery is included, but without good Chinese delivery.
  • Tech support is offered, but only basic support with slow ticket-based responses unless you upgrade to a paid support plan.
  • Video API is offered, but only on custom-priced plans.
  • Security features are included, but high-end features only on custom plans.
  • Monetization is offered, but only on custom-priced plans.

Pricing Plans

Brightcove pricing starts at $199/month (paid annually) for a marketing plan. This plan includes up to 100,000 video plays and basic video access. To access live streaming, video API, or monetization, you’ll need to upgrade to a $499+ plan.

Pros / Cons

  • Good analytics
  • Includes custom video portals
  • CRM integration
  • High-priced
  • No live streaming until $499/mo. and up
  • Monetization limited to custom priced plans

4. Wistia

The second video platform we’ll highlight is Wistia, which was founded in 2008. The Massachusetts-based Wistia platform is mostly focused on marketing. They provide some good features

Features

  • Multi-bitrate and adaptive streaming are included.
  • Global content delivery is included, but doesn’t support in-China access.
  • Tech support is included, but premium support is only available on custom plans.
  • Video APIs are included, there are six different APIs available.
  • Security features with Wistia include password protection, email gating, and domain restriction.
  • Monetization is not included.

Pricing Plans

Wistia pricing starts at $99 per month for their basic plan. This includes hosting for 10 videos. Additional videos cost $0.25 per month. For larger customers, there are customer plans available.

Pros / Cons

  • Great analytics
  • Mostly unlimited bandwidth
  • Integrations with various CRMs.
  • No live streaming
  • No monetization
  • Extra videos add to cost
  • No China delivery

3. JW Player

Online Video Platform Comparison 2019Next, let’s examine JW Player. As the name implies, JW Player was originally a video player—and a highly successful one. Following that initial success, JW Player expanded into video hosting. More recently, they have added limited live streaming functionality. Let’s take a look at the features of the JW Player platform.

Features

  • Multi-bitrate and adaptive streaming are included.
  • Global content delivery is included, but China delivery is blocked by the Great Firewall.
  • Tech support is included, but only email support to the $100/month plan.
  • Video API are included in all plans.
  • Security features included are basic, but functional. DRM is offered on custom-priced Enterprise plans.
  • Monetization is offered, but only via advertising.

Pricing Plans

JW Player pricing starts at $25/mo. This includes the JW Player platform, 50,000 video plays, and basic password protection. At $100/month, you get more plays and a few more features. Custom plans are also available, and include monetization, DRM, and more.

Pros / Cons

  • Great video player
  • Simple, easy-to-use platform
  • Good advertising tools
  • Live streaming limited to custom-priced plans, 6 hr duration
  • Only ad monetization
  • No China delivery

2. Kaltura

Next on our list is Kaltura. Originally founded as a software company for on-premises video management, Kaltura has evolved in a multi-faceted business. Their services now include cloud video hosting and delivery. Their feature-packed platform is complex to setup and use, but offers a range of options. These include:

Features

  • Multi-bitrate and adaptive streaming are included.
  • Global content delivery is available via Kaltura’s combined CDN approach, or you can bring your own.
  • Tech support is offered via a ticket-based system, which is slower than chat or phone.
  • Video APIs are included throughout the platform.
  • Security features are offered, including a range of authentication and encryption options.
  • Monetization, including all major models (subscription, advertising, PPV) is offered with Kaltura

Pricing Plans

Kaltura cloud video pricing is relatively complex. It’s billed on a ongoing usage model. For example, outbound bandwidth costs $0.17 per GB. Content storage costs $0.25 per GB. Transcoding costs $2.25 per GB. And plays are priced at $0.001 each. There are many other costs. Each month, your usage is calculated and your bill is based on this.

Pros / Cons

  • Many features available
  • Good monetization options
  • Robust security
  • Slow ticket-based support
  • Highly complex
  • No China delivery

1. vzaar

Finally, we have vzaar. Originally built as a way for eBay sellers to share videos of their products, vzaar has since expanded into a full service online video platform. Highlights of the vzaar platform include robust in-China delivery, solid live streaming functionality, and a lot of new features coming down the pipe. Other features include:

Features

  • Multi-bitrate and adaptive streaming are included with all plans.
  • Global content delivery is included by default, including industry-best in-China delivery starting at $419/mo.
  • Tech support is offered with all plans, including phone and chat support!
  • Video API is offered on all plans.
  • Security features are included on all plans, including password protection and encryption.
  • Monetization in the form of advertising is supported on all plans. Support for subscriptions and pay-per-view coming soon!

Pricing Plans

The cost of vzaar starts at $209/month for 1 TB of bandwith per month and 1 TB of storage. For $419/month, you can upgrade to 4 TB of monthly bandwidth and 2 TB storage. This plan also includes China delivery and live streaming. Custom plans are also available.

Pros / Cons

  • Integrated calls-to-action (CTAs) and email capture
  • Industry-best in-China video streaming
  • Customer love it: “Every streaming and hosting service should run as smoothly as vzaar.”

Conclusion

If video is your core product it’s vital that you choose the best online video platform. After all, if your OVP fails so too does your business.

You want to grow & engage your audience, increase video ROI, create a great online reputation and boost productivity. As you compare online video platforms, make sure you access all the features we’ve discussed above.

If you want our recommendation, it’s vzaar. We offer all the above features for just $209 per month. Plus, we offer a 10-day free trial so you can test our all our features for yourself. Give it a shot today!

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