This week, I’ve been reconsidering my approach to online video hosting. I’ve had a YouTube account for years now, mainly because it’s free and widely recognized. YouTube account holders have uploaded millions and millions of videos – and those videos have been watched millions and millions of times. It makes sense that if you want your videos to be seen, you stick them where eyeballs are looking.
But for a content producer, is YouTube always the best answer? Well, if I’m trying to make a good impression on someone, I probably want to control the environment as much as possible, unless I want them to see this:
Honestly, I do not want you to see that. Add to that the advertisements Google’s inserting in the videos, and what’s a girl to do? It’s time to see if there’s a better fit somewhere else. I started investigating options earlier this week, and here’s some options I came up with:
Vimeo – Vimeo offers both free and premium accounts, and boasts a healthy community of users. For broadcast/film students and professionals, Vimeo seems like the place to put your portfolio. There are a few restrictions (file size, bandwidth), but it seems Vimeo is working to get rid of those. However, don’t even think about uploading videos for your business – Vimeo is strictly for non-commercial use.
Wistia – Wistia is a really interesting service. They cater more to businesses by offering in-depth analytic information on each video. You can see page loads for the video, how many clicked play, how many watched the video, and at what point people stopped watching. They’ll even track this information from a link sent out in an email campaign, for example. Just be prepared to pay at least $40 a month for the service.
Brightcove – It appears Brightcove is the way to go if you want to host video online and deliver it to iPhones or Android devices. HTML5 compatibility, FTP batch uploading, detailed analytics, and geographic filtering are just some of Brightcove’s many interesting features. Again, all these fancy features come at a steep price (plans start at $99/month), and truthfully, there are probably features you’d never use.
Viddler – In a word, Viddler is plucky. They’re quickly growing their services and community, and I think it’s a video platform to watch out for. For non-commercial users, they offer a customizable player and unlimited video uploads – all for free. Businesses can sign up for features like ad management and analytics, and the pricing formula is based on bandwidth. You can basically set your own price. Nice!
Dailymotion – Dailymotion works a lot like YouTube, except that it stratifies users into three separate groups. You can be a regular account holder, a Motion Maker, or an Official User. Dailymotion is vague on what a “Motion Maker” gets above a regular user, but the Official User accounts are reserved for approved businesses and brands. It doesn’t say as much, but I’m sure there’s some added cost for those accounts.
TubeMogul – TubeMogul is a advertising and analytics platform, rather than a hosting service. TechCrunch recently reported that TubeMogul is making its InPlay service, a sort of Google Analytics for video, 100% free. They offer other market research tools as part of a premium service, which can be implemented into a variety of players.
Blip.tv – If you’re trying to build and establish a show for the web, Blip.tv is the place to be. They specialize only in original web shows, and will remove anything that is a “one-off” or marketing video. Nevertheless, it’s a great resource for future screenwriters or directors to showcase their talents online – Blip.tv integrates videos with other services like YouTube, so the web show can reach a maximum potential audience.
Kaltura – Kaltura is hands-down the most exciting thing I’ve found so far, mainly because it’s open source!!! Like some of the services above, there are premium features. But, Kaltura.org provides the source code for the player as well as a community of forums about customizing the player for specific purposes. They’re also doing some neat collaborative-editing stuff, and I’m curious to see where it goes from here.
After researching these options, I’m leaning toward getting my hands dirty with Kaltura. I think integrating some analytics products with Kaltura could really help me learn a lot about the effectiveness of my videos in general. Vimeo would certainly be the easiest solution, but I never said I liked to do things the easy way :)