Video is king. In fact, 87% of marketers use video to promote their business.
Whether you’re just starting out with video or already have a huge library, it’s important to choose the right online video platform (OVP) for your brand.
An OVP makes it easy to upload, manage and publish your videos across all your channels — including social media and your website. OVPs are important because they help you reach more people, build brand awareness and increase sales.
Video on the internet has grown at an exponential rate over the past few years, with people watching more and more video content online. Whether it’s short-form video on platforms like YouTube, or long-form video on Netflix, the skyrocketing popularity of video is undeniable.
But there’s still a lot of confusion about how to use video effectively and how to create it in the first place. In this article, we’ll be exploring some of the best video platforms that are out there in 2021 so you can make an informed decision when choosing one for your business.
Best Online Video Platforms
What Are Online Video Platforms
Video is a key component of social media and the internet. It can be used for various purposes such as product promotion, brand awareness, and customer engagement.
The best online video platform is YouTube. It has been one of the most popular websites in the world for over 15 years now.
YouTube is one of the most versatile platforms for creating videos and distributing them to an audience. Since its launch in 2005,
YouTube has become a global leader in online video content by attracting over 1 billion users every month from all around the world.
Besides being available on desktops, laptops, tablets and mobile devices, YouTube is also available on Facebook, Google+, Twitter and many other social media platforms like Instagram or Pinterest.
Online Video Platforms – Introduction
Online video platforms can be used to host, manage, distribute and monetize your online video content. But with so many options currently available in the market, how do you choose the right platform for your business?
While this is a question that will be different for each business, the answer usually starts by evaluating your needs. What are you hoping to accomplish through online video?
If you’re looking to host and distribute pre-recorded videos, then you may only need a basic video hosting and distribution platform.
If you’re planning on streaming live events, then you’ll need to find a platform that supports live encoding and broadcasting. If you’re trying to monetize your content through subscription or pay-per-view models, then you’ll want to look for a platform that supports complex DRM (digital rights management) and ecommerce features.
It’s important to note that not all OVPs will support all of these features at all levels of service. Some platforms offer subscription plans based on the number of viewers per month.
Others offer tiered pricing based on the type of features included, such as storage space or number of encoding outputs. It can also be helpful to consider whether your platform offers an API.
What Are the Best Online Video Platforms?
Here are some of the top video platforms and the pros and cons of each.
YouTube Pros: It’s free, it’s easy to use, and it’s the most popular video platform in the world.
You can embed videos on other websites and in social media posts, or you can add them as unlisted or private so that only those you invite can view them.
Cons: You can’t monetize your videos with in-stream ads or prevent others from downloading them.
Plus, YouTube is owned by Google, which means that you’ll be competing with all the other content on YouTube for attention. Vimeo Pros: Vimeo offers a lot more options than YouTube for business users, including the ability to remove ads and links back to Vimeo from your videos.
Vimeo also has a much smaller audience, making it easier to get noticed — if you create content that resonates with its target audience of creative professionals. Cons: You have to pay for a membership plan to get access to most business features, starting at $7 per month for a basic business account (or $84 per year), and going up from there depending on your needs.
Have you ever wanted to build your own video streaming platform like Netflix, Hulu or Amazon Prime? Too expensive? Too complicated? Not anymore!
We have created a complete solution called Nimble Streamer. It’s a software media server which has all needed functionality for software developers, system integrators and end users to create their own video streaming platform.
It includes: Multiformat live video processing with RTMP, MPEGTS, HLS and Smooth Streaming output. Support of DRM technologies like Verimatrix, PlayReady, Widevine and FairPlay to protect your content against illegal distribution.
Advertising insertion as pre-rolls, mid-rolls or post-rolls for live streams or VOD files. CMS integration for content management including Monetization module for managing paywalls and billing.
- 2 Media players IPTV, VOD and Live PPV Mobile and Smart TV apps
- Customization of UIs for a unique experience
- Billing integration (e-commerce) OTT API
- Support for VAST, VPAID and VMAP (Google IMA SDK)
Uscreen is a video monetization platform that allows content creators to launch their own OTT (over-the-top) services, just like Netflix. Uscreen offers clients the ability to sell, distribute and monetize their content through subscription and VOD models.
The platform’s main goal is to help people start their own direct-to-consumer businesses and make a living from selling digital products online.
- Create a beautiful website with an easy-to-use drag & drop theme editor
- Upload unlimited videos and audio files
- Sell membership plans, products, subscriptions & more
- Create coupons for discounts or free trials for content memberships
- Keep track of user activity (logins, purchases, etc) in the dashboard activity log
- Unlimited user profiles & data collection per user profile
- Personalize your members’ experience by using their name or other details you’ve collected on them in your emails.
Uscreen is an all-in-one video monetization platform that allows you to:
- Upload and sell your videos
- Create a membership site
- Build different product types like subscription, rentals, pay-per-view, or courses.
- Collect payments with its built-in payment processing system.
- Grow your audience with customizable marketing tools.
With Wistia, you can have a video playing in your email right there in your inbox. But how? And more importantly, why? First of all, the how: email clients don’t support the autoplay feature of HTML5 elements.
(You can thank iOS and Android for that.) Instead, we use a trick to make it look like the video is playing in your inbox as soon as you open it by using an animated GIF as a placeholder.
Here’s how it works: The animated GIF plays in place of the video on page load. We’ve got just one frame in the GIF that shows the poster image of our video and a play button.
When you click on the play button, we hide the GIF and show the actual video element instead. Since it’s already loaded on page load, the video only has to start playing once you click the play button — no waiting around for another roundtrip to the server.
- Hosting: Upload, organize, and manage all of your videos securely. Includes advanced privacy settings, custom colors and end screens, embeds, and more.
- Analytics: Measure the success of your videos with the most in-depth analytics available for marketers. Get detailed stats on viewers, traffic sources, and conversions for every video you host.
- Marketing Automation: Connect Wistia to your favorite marketing automation tools like Marketo, HubSpot, Pardot, Sailthru, and SharpSpring to build audiences and trigger campaigns based on how people engage with your videos.
- Distribution: Share your videos on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, email marketing campaigns, landing pages — anywhere that supports embeds! Or get the word out with our more direct methods like email sharing or password protection.
Choose from four plans to find the one that fits your needs.
Free $0 / month
- Host 3 videos
- 1 GB bandwidth per month
- No time limit on videos
- Basic video stats
- Password protection
- Customizable player (colors)
Start my free trial Pro $99 / month
- Host 25 videos
- 5 GB bandwidth per month
- No time limit on videos
- Advanced video stats
- Email support
- Priority support
- Password protection
- Customizable player (colors).
Start my free trial Advanced $299 / month
- Host 100 videos
- 30 GB bandwidth per month
- No time limit on videos
- Advanced video stats
- Email support
- Priority support
- Password protection
- Customizable player (colors)
Vimeo is a video-sharing website on which users can upload, share and view videos. It was founded by Jake Lodwick and Zach Klein in November 2004.
The service also provides subscribers access to an cloud-based editing suite for recording and editing their footage before uploading it to the site. The service already offers broadcasters tools like real-time analytics and embeddable chat windows.
The Vimeo Blog.
Beautiful, simple and easy-to-use blog themes to showcase your work, company updates, or anything else you like.
Engage with your community.
Members on Vimeo can subscribe to your videos, follow you, comment on your videos, and send messages.
Control who sees your videos.
You can choose exactly who gets access to each video you upload — from the whole world to a specific set of people. Stats on who’s watching (and when). Get real-time stats on how many people are watching your videos, where they’re located, and how they found them.
Upload privately and share anywhere online.
Keep your uploaded videos private while you’re working on them and then share them almost anywhere online: Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, WordPress.com — you name it!
For those who make videos for a living, the Vimeo Pro level is ideal. It’s $199 per year and offers:
- Unlimited storage
- Unlimited bandwidth
- Advanced statistics
- Up to 5TB of weekly uploads
- Customizable video player with your company logo, color scheme, and call-to-action buttons advanced privacy controls HD and 4K video support
Dacast is a video hosting platform that allows you to live stream, upload and monetize your videos. You can also use it to create your own pay per view website.
Its tools are very easy to use, and its pricing plans are competitive and give you a ton of features.
Dacast offers content delivery network (CDN) streaming and a video-on-demand solution for businesses. It’s for anyone who needs to host videos online, whether that’s for one large event or many recurring ones.
It has the tools you need to create a professional pay per view (PPV) streaming service with your own branding, from creating accounts for viewers to managing advertising and security settings on your account.
It’s more than just a hosting service, too. Dacast has integrated tools that let you set up paywalls, add advertisements in your videos, manage user accounts, customize the look of your page and enable secure streaming so no one steals your content.
It also has analytics so you can monitor viewer activity and get an idea of what types of content they like best
Advanced OVP Features
Whether you need a simple video player or have complex needs, we’ve got you covered.
Video Hosting API
All of our features are available via API, so you can add video to your workflow.
Brightcove is a video hosting service and online video platform. It was founded in 2004 by Jeremy Allaire and Bob Mason.
Brightcove had its initial public offering in February 2012, pricing shares at $10 each at a valuation of approximately $540 million.
Brightcove offers a cloud-based online video platform, called the Brightcove Video Cloud. The Video Cloud includes standard online video player functionality such as hosting, encoding, transcoding, uploading and playback of videos on PCs and mobile devices.
The platform also includes analytics, ad serving, content management and workflow tools. Brightcove has four different plans: Brightcove Video Cloud, Brightcove Video Marketing Suite, Brightcove Zencoder and Brightcove Once.
The company offers a full suite of products and services that reduce the cost and complexity associated with publishing, distributing, measuring and monetizing video across every screen.
Brightcove has more than 5,000 customers in over 70 countries that rely on the company’s cloud solutions to successfully publish high-quality video experiences to audiences everywhere.
- Ad plugins
- Digital rights management (DRM) for protected playback of premium content
- Video analytics
- Customized user interface controls
Vidyard is the video platform for business that helps you drive more revenue through the use of online video.
Video for Sales Enablement: Empower your sales team to personalize and optimize their outreach.
Upload, manage, and track your videos in Vidyard to measure the impact they have on your pipeline. Engage with prospects by sending personalized videos that help build trust and rapport faster.
Video for Marketing :Turn website visitors into customers by adding interactive videos that capture attention, educate viewers, and drive conversions.
Measure results in real time with our powerful analytics tool to continuously improve your videos’ performance.
Video for Internal Communications: Create short and engaging videos to keep employees informed, no matter where they work.
Get detailed analytics on how your content performs, so you can see what’s resonating within your organization. High-quality, personalized videos are a powerful way to connect with your customers.
Vidyard makes it easy for marketers to create, host and share videos from the web or mobile devices. Using data from your CRM, marketing automation platform and Google Analytics, Vidyard can help you create targeted video content that’s specific to each viewer.
You can share live or on-demand webcasts, or even create interactive video experiences using in-video clickable calls to action.
- Video hosting and sharing platform
- Video marketing automation
- Proactive Video Messaging
- Interactive video
8. JW Player
JW Player powers online publishing, with clients ranging in size from Fortune 500 companies to individual bloggers. As the world’s largest network-independent video platform, JW Player is the solution for delivering and monetizing video across desktops, mobile devices, and TV connected devices.
The company’s flagship product, JW Player, is live on more than 2 million sites with over 1 billion unique monthly viewers across all devices. Its cloud-based video platform, JW Platform (formerly Bitsontherun), serves billions of requests per month and is trusted by thousands of publishers to power their video businesses.
The Most Powerful & Flexible Video Platform Broadcast your content to the world. JW Player’s scalable platform integrates with every advertising network and video hosting provider, providing best-in-class solutions for publishers who want to grow their audience and increase their revenue.
Deliver your content everywhere — to any device and any screen — with the most complete platform for publishing, delivering, measuring and monetizing video content.
JW Player’s best-in-class product suite empowers publishers to manage, monetize, analyze and deliver high-quality video content across all devices in a completely customizable manner.
JW Player’s robust feature set includes everything from industry-leading video delivery to advanced interactive capabilities and superior analytics.
What are Online Video Platforms?
An online video platform (OVP), provided by a video hosting service, enables users to upload, convert, store and play back video content on the Internet, often via a structured, large-scale system that can generate revenue.
The term online video platform is widely used but ill defined. A number of companies provide products or services under this name and their offerings vary greatly.
Defining characteristics include:
The company serves as an intermediary between the end user and the internet by providing storage, bandwidth and delivery of all or part of the video stream.T he company offers some form of control over the way the user’s content is presented to the public.
Typically, an OVP provides streaming media encoding and hosting services to its customers. This allows users who do not have the resources to perform t
These functions for themselves to distribute video content over the Internet utilizing services that are often scaled for high demand.
OVPs range from small businesses with just a few videos uploaded on a single server to major enterprises delivering thousands of videos each day from scalable cloud infrastructure.
Why Shouldn’t You Just Use YouTube Instead Of Other Platforms?
As long as you’re working in 1080p, YouTube is free and easy. You shouldn’t. If you have the equipment, I highly recommend going for 4k video capture and editing.
But that requires specialized hardware and software, which can be expensive. The minimum you need for 4k editing is a powerful processor and ample RAM; this isn’t just a question of getting a new computer, but also upgrading your existing one.
So there are three reasons why you should consider other platforms:
- Cost. You might not want to spend the money on 4k hardware and software when 1080p will do the job.
- Accessibility. If you’re looking to make HD content with less-than-top-of-the-line equipment, there are other platforms that might be better suited to your needs.
- Privacy. YouTube has a tendency to monetize videos, even if they fall under fair use guidelines — so it can be nice to support other services that aren’t owned by Google/Alphabet Inc.,
Online Video Platforms – Frequently Asked Questions
What is an online video platform?
An online video platform (sometimes called a video content management system) is an integrated suite of tools used by companies to host, manage, distribute, and measure their online videos.
How does an online video platform work?
An OVP takes the pain out of delivering video to your audience by hosting and managing it for you. The best OVPs will also give you valuable analytics about how your audience is engaging with the content you’re providing.
When you upload a video to the OVP, it automatically optimizes it for different devices, networks, and file types. It then hosts the files on a CDN (Content Delivery Network) so that they can be delivered quickly and efficiently to your audience anywhere in the world.
What are some benefits of using an online video platform?
The main benefit of using an OVP is that it completely removes the technical overhead of hosting and distributing your videos. Without an OVP, you would have to encode and optimize each version of your video manually, store them on a server somewhere, and then distribute them through a CDN.
An OVP handles all of this for you so that you can focus on other areas of your business or organization.
1. Can OVPs Integrate With Social Media Channels?
Social media is becoming a more complex area of work. For example, the latest trend in video content is live streaming.
According to a report by Livestream, 80% of viewers would rather watch a live video than read a blog post and 82% prefer live video from a brand to social posts.
The popularity of live video content has resulted in the emergence of new types of online video platforms (OVPs) that can support this type of content, specifically via Facebook Live, YouTube Live and Periscope. These new OVPs are called unified streaming platforms (USPs).
A USP works as follows: First, the USP streams the content coming from the camera to its own servers, who then take care of packaging and transcoding the stream into different formats so that it can be played back on any device. After this first step is done, the USP takes care of delivering your stream to your intended destinations (YouTube Live, Facebook Live or Periscope).
Although you could do all this with multiple pieces of software and hardware at once, using a USP means you only have to invest in one solution that does everything at once.
2. Do OVPs Offer Video Analytics?
Even if you don’t have the budget to hire a data analytics team, it’s important to know how your video is performing. Most online video platforms offer analytics reporting, allowing you to track video views, engagement and more.
Video analytics can help you understand who’s watching your video and where they’re watching it. You can find out which videos are performing best, which social media sites are driving the most traffic to your videos and more.
Some OVPs will give you basic performance data for free, while others charge extra for advanced reporting tools. For example, Vimeo Pro allows users to add Google Analytics tracking code to their videos.
However, its basic package doesn’t include any video analytics aside from simple view counts. YouTube, on the other hand, has multiple reporting features available at no cost.
Following are some of the metrics that OVPs provide through their analytics tools:
- View count — The number of times someone has played your video. Average view duration — The average amount of time people watch your video before stopping or moving on to another one.
- Top referrers — The sites that drove the most traffic to your video, including social networks and search engines.
- Audience retention — Shows the point at which viewers stopped watching your video
3. Is It Better To Opt for a Paid Plan?
A lot of tools have a free version, which is great if you’re just dipping your toes in the water. But often, these free versions have restrictions — functionality limits, data caps or time limits — that make them less than ideal for serious usage.
For example, free versions might let you use the tool to analyze one website only. They might limit how many data points they report on — maybe you can see the top 10 keywords your site ranks for, but not the top 100.
They might limit how often you can generate reports, or how many people can access them. So when does it make sense to opt for a paid plan?
Here are some benefits of paid plans:
- You can get additional features and deeper insights
- You don’t have to worry about limitations
- You get access to better support
- You avoid advertising
Best Online Video Platforms – Summary
The best online video platforms make it easy to host, manage and share video on the web. Here’s a list of our top picks for video hosting and live streaming.
Vimeo: Best For Creatives Vimeo is one of the most well-known video hosting sites out there. It has a reputation for hosting high-quality videos and for having a community that’s focused on supporting filmmakers and other creatives.
Vimeo is a great option if you’re looking to build an audience as a creative professional in any field.
YouTube: Best For Brands YouTube is the world’s largest online video platform and it’s not even close. If you want to reach an audience of millions, you need to be on YouTube where they’re already spending their time — not just your own website or social channels.
A strong presence on YouTube will also help your business rank higher in Google search results, which can drive more organic traffic to your website.
Wistia: Best For Businesses Wistia is the best option if you’re looking for a platform that makes it easy to embed videos on your website and track performance metrics like viewer engagement.
The company also offers add-on services like video production, optimization consulting and lead generation.