Which video hosting platform is right for you?
Find out what Brightcove, SproutVideo, Vimeo, Wistia and YouTube have to offer
YouTube tends to be the default option for organisations and businesses looking to host video content, but – while it has its benefits – it may not be best suited to your professional needs. We take a look at what five of the leading video hosting platforms have to offer.
What they say
‘Our mission is to give everyone a voice and to show them the world. We believe that everyone deserves to have a voice, and that the world is a better place when we listen, share and build a community through our stories.’
The best known of the bunch, YouTube has over 1 billion users – that’s a third of all people who use the internet. Its status and popularity mean it ranks highly on Google, and your free account comes with unlimited bandwidth and the ability to upload files of any size. You also get access to basic analytics, a messaging, liking, rating and commenting system, share buttons and simple video editing tools.
But because it was designed as a social network, it lacks some of the features that could make it more suitable for professional use. You can’t customise the player, so if you embed on your site it will show the YouTube branding and logo.
Ads are the most problematic feature –automatically displayed on your video, you don’t have a choice over what appears so your video could be prefaced by an advert for products that aren’t in line with your own business values or which promote your competition.
Some ads are over a minute long, enough time to lose your viewer’s attention or – if they click the ad – divert them away. The loading and buffering of YouTube videos during peak periods of high traffic is also an irritant and can have the same effect on your audience, while also making uploading a lengthy process.
Uploading videos to YouTube is completely free, there are no hidden costs or extra charges. However, the lack of a premium option may be frustrating to some who feel YouTube’s current functionality is too limited and its lacking customer support.
- Free account with no hidden costs or overuse charges
- Unlimited bandwidth
- Status and popularity among internet users
- Potentially better results for video on Google search
- Branded YouTube player
- Automatic ads with no option to remove
- Long wait times for videos to start and buffering during peak periods
- Limited analytical tools and customer support
YouTube is the most well-known and is fine for simple uploads, but it doesn't offer the features that would make it really useful to businesses, such as customisable players, ad-free options or the ability to add CTAs or email capture. Read more in our blog post: 'Time to rethink your views ofYouTube?'.
What they say
'Vimeo is all about you and your videos. We build things that help you create, share, sell, discover videos online and worldwide.'
Vimeo was initially set up as a platform for filmmakers and artistic creators to share content, but now anyone can open an account and the package plan includes options targeted at professionals and businesses. Vimeo still tends to be the choice for anyone wishing to upload high quality visual content, so hosting your professional videos here will lend them a certain kind of kudos.
All accounts are ad-free and include the options to change the basic display settings and access to basic statistics, as well as unlimited bandwidth. Upgrading to one of the priced options opens up access to better privacy settings, customer services and analytical tools, but the scope of these are fairly limited in comparison to Vimeo’s competitors, which is reflected in the price.
If you don’t upgrade you can expect to wait up to three days for a response from the customer service team, but the online video school offers tutorials and troubleshooting tips.
There are four different price plans: free, £5, £15 and £40. These are a good deal cheaper than the standard range of packages on the market, but the features offered are more basic. For example, the analytical tools only really extend as far as data on plays and loads.
- Ad free
- Minimal buffering
- Unlimited bandwidth
- Video school with useful tips
- Free options and affordable price plans
- Only basic analytical tools, even after upgrade
- Limited range of premium features
- Free account users have to wait three days for customer service response
Vimeo is a stylish ad-free option that works well for basic video hosting, but the lack of useful premium features mean it is only of limited use to businesses and organisations.
What they say
Wistia is the video platform for business. And dogs.
If you’re looking to get a better understanding of your audience, Wistia offers useful analytical tools – even with a free account. For every view of your video Wistia generates a heat map that shows you exactly which parts the viewer watched, skipped and rewatched.
This can help you to identify the strengths and weaknesses in your content and which messages your audiences engaged with most. The trend graphs meanwhile allow you to analyse the impact of your video library overall.
Sitemaps will help boost your SEO, designed to ensure your videos rank for pages on your website, unlike if you embed with YouTube. You can also customise the video player and embed directly onto your site – and if you upgrade to a paid-for account you can remove the branding.
Paid-for accounts come with an array of other benefits too, such as the option to add post-play CTAs or an email capture form and a dedicated ‘success manager’.
You are however, limited on storage – with a free account there’s a three video limit, 10 if you have a paid-for account. The charge for going over the limit decreases by price plan increases, but if you are likely to upload significantly over 10 videos Wistia recommends contacting them to discuss a bespoke package.
It is also worth noting that the option to set videos to private is only available for paid-for accounts.
There are our types of accounts, free, pro (around £76 per month), advanced and premium (contact Wistia for a quote). The more you pay, the more features you get and the more videos can you host for less.
- Fully customisable player
- Option to embed and share
- Advanced video analytics
- No ads or related videos
- Videos rank for your website, not Wistia's
Paid for accounts (as above):
- Unbranded player
- Advanced customer support
- Premium integration tools
- Limited storage with 25c charge for every video uploaded over your limit
- Private videos only available on paid-for accounts
Wistia is really good value for money. Unlike other providers, the free account offers many useful features and advanced analytics you’d normally have to pay for, and the paid-for accounts are cheaper than the comparable options from their competitors.
‘SproutVideo is the best video hosting platform for business. We make it easy to customize, publish, and track your videos online. With all the security, marketing, and analytical tools you need, your video projects will be a success.’
SproutVideo allows you to build your own video website using unbranded, ad-free players that you can customise suit your brand. The analytical tools allow you to track impressions, plays, engagement, audience location and device.
You can add post-play CTAs or an email capture form to optimize on possible leads, and video sitemaps will help search engines to find your content. Upload speed is steady and reliable and all video files are supported.
SproutVideo doesn’t offer a free option, only a free 14-day trial so you can test it out. The company justifies this decision based on the fact that they provide a comprehensive package customer support – including a dedicated adviser who is assigned to you at sign up, and a live online help system.
The lowest cost option is $25USD a month, rising up to $400USD depending on the amount of bandwidth and storage you require. The $25USD option does not include access to engagement metrics.
- Unbranded, customisable player included in all plans
- No ads or links to ‘related videos’ at the end
- Marketing and security tools
- Comprehensive customer support package
- No free option
- Comparably more expensive than its competitors
SproutVideo has more features than other providers, but is also more costly, so it is worth considering how much you intend to make use of the functionality.
What they say
'Brightcove Video Cloud is the leading online video hosting platform and online video player solution. Harness the power of video with the best technology, the premiere partner ecosystem, and an unmatched team of experts dedicated to your success.'
Brightcove is at the high end market, with a client list that includes the BBC and Time. It uses the ‘industry's best’ HTML5 video player which is fast, powerful and fully customisable, with adaptive streaming.
The analytical tools are comprehensive, with the option to custom build your own report so you can choose which stats to measure. You can find out how many viewers reached the 50%, 75% and 100% completion mark, as well as information on their location, browser and device.
You’ll also benefit from extensive security settings, training materials (adapted to suit visual, auditory or kinesthetic learners) and 24/7 customer support.
Brightcove creates bespoke packages based on what features you need, and will price accordingly. However you can expect to pay premium prices. There is a free 30-day trial option on offer too.
- High-quality fully customisable player
- Advanced analytical tools and ability to build custom report
- 24/7 customer support
- Bespoke packages so you only pay for what you need
- Premium price point
- No free option
Brightcove offers high-end service for high-end prices. It’s unlikely to be worthwhile the cost for most small to medium businesses or organisations.
Here at Senate Media we use Wistia, as we believe it offers the best value for money, both in terms of features, tools and customer service. That said, every organisation's needs are different, so it's worth considering all the options that are available so you can find the platform that works best for you.