Video has become a very important feature for businesses of all types. Over half of all uploaded data is video. In addition, 33% of our global screen time is spent watching videos, and the average person watches about 100 minutes of video per day.
Compared to other forms of communication like texts and static images, people retain information better through video. Furthermore, a creative video improves engagement amongst employees, helping enterprises scale their productivity. In addition, 80% of consumers say that they are more likely to buy a product after seeing a video. Seeing these statistics, it is no surprise that over 79% of managers point to video as an important feature of their marketing plan.
Anybody communicating online needs a video strategy. A consistent flow of videos is more efficient in boosting audience engagement and helping a company scale. To ensure that all videos are well-curated, businesses need video hosting that suits the content they put out.
This article explores what video hosting is, why your business needs a private hosting platform, and which hosting platform is the best.
What is Video Hosting?
Video hosting refers to services that allow you to upload and distribute your videos online. When you host your videos on a video hosting service, the platform stores your videos on their server. Each video stored on the server receives an embed code (or hyperlink) that the user can then share with others to access the video on their devices.
While companies typically have their own servers, these servers are typically optimized for text and image-based content and unable to accommodate video. Video files are simply too heavy for most servers, causing web pages to load slowly, poor quality video and bandwidths to run out quickly.
However, video hosting platforms provide significant storage, bandwidth and computational power, allowing users enough leverage to store high-quality, big-data videos without fear.
There are two major forms of videos that are accessed online – these videos may be downloaded or may be streamed. Downloading a video means that a prerecorded video is uploaded on the server, and the video file data is transferred to a downloading device that can now access it offline.
Streaming is a data transmission technique that distributes video content in small chunks, usually from a distant storage site. Client devices don’t have to download the complete video before starting to play it because only a few seconds of it is sent over the internet at a time.
As we’ll come to see, there are various types of video hosting services, with each one having its merits and demerits.
Why does video streaming need a video hosting service?
When consumers download a video, they have to wait for the file transfer to be completed before they can enjoy their video. In addition, the downloaded file takes up storage space, which can be inconvenient. The solution to these issues is streaming.
In video streaming, the data is stored remotely and transmitted in small packets to the receiving device, allowing them to enjoy the video without having to keep it on their device or waiting for the video to download completely.
However, the challenge with streaming is to ensure a seamless video playback on the receiving device. The streamed video must maintain its video and audio quality throughout, there must not be pauses, and it must not slow down.
Streaming videos require more data storage and network bandwidth than an average web page. Thus, you need a server that can provide this space and bandwidth.
Furthermore, the server hosting such a video must be able to transmit data at very high speeds to maintain a constant flow of data to a large number of concurrent users.
Unlike with downloads, where completeness is the priority, speed is the priority in streaming. Thus, if the server hosting the video is unable to maintain this transfer speed, then the consumer will not enjoy their streaming experience.
You must have complete access to the server’s resources in order for this to execute smoothly and consistently, without fear of other programs on the same system using up your computer power or disrupting your network connection.
A streaming video hosting service will embed protocols like RTP (real-time transfer protocol), RTSP (real-time streaming protocol) and RTCP (real-time transport protocol), which ensure that streaming is seamless.
Because the video is transmitted from a remote location to users around the world, video hosting has to be combined with a content delivery network (CDN). The CDN transmits the data to the end-user from a more local network than where the initial video was hosted.
Free Video Streaming Solutions – Pros & Cons
There are essentially two types of services that you could use to host your streaming videos. They are;
- Free video hosting services
- Paid video hosting services.
Free video hosting services are by far the most popular hosting services used by individuals and businesses. YouTube, of course, is the most popular video platform in the world. Other top free video streaming solutions include; Facebook, Twitter and Vimeo.
Pros of Free Video Streaming Services
Platforms like YouTube and Facebook have some advantages which make them attractive to the average user. These include;
- These services are free, and you incur no extra expense to upload your videos.
- You can tap into a viral network to reach out to more people
- You can take advantage of their SEO options to optimize your reach
- You can earn some money from ad revenues
- You have access to unlimited cloud storage
Cons of Free Video Streaming Services
Free video hosting might have its benefits, but when running a business, you need much more than cheap and viral outreach of your video content. These are some disadvantages associated with free video hosting services.
- You have limited control over your published content
- You have limited scope for customization of your videos
- The service embeds ads into your video, which can be distracting to viewers
- Limited security options as your video can be downloaded through a third-party app and reused
- Recommended videos appear at the end of your video, taking viewers away from your site and possibly landing them on your competitor’s video channel.
- Dilution of your brand
Premium Video Hosting Solutions for Streaming
Professional video hosting solutions help you circumvent the limitations that free video streaming solutions pose on your videos.
If you’re an enterprise, you cannot rely on the services of the free video hosting platforms. These platforms are more suited to social media use and not for professional videos.
A paid streaming video platform offers the following benefits;
- Extensive security and video encryption to protect your videos from piracy
- Complete control over your videos with options for ads and monetization decided by you
- Full range branding and customization of your videos
- Total personalization of your videos. Viewers will see only you.
There are many premium streaming video hosting services available in use today. Judging the best services is based on several metrics, including
- API access
- Video Solutions
Below we explore the top video streaming solutions and the pros and cons of each.
Cincopa is a comprehensive Video Hosting platform that allows you to completely brand your videos, as well as add annotations, CTAs, chapters, and forms to increase lead generation and engagement with your audience.
Transform your website into a video hub. Create immersive video channels for new and current videos in just a few clicks, and take advantage of Cincopa’s full API. You can learn where, how, and who is watching your videos using Cincopa’s advanced analytics.
Cincopa provides a wide variety of professional features and delivery through top-tier CDNs at a low cost. It is a powerful streaming solution aimed at Enterprises, Online Courses and Healthcare organizations.
Cincopa is a video hosting and streaming platform for broadcasters that seek top-notch security, revenue, and professional distribution capabilities.
Cincopa’s key features include;
- Advanced analytics tools that help you understand how well your video is performing
- Integrations with multiple marketing automation, sales automation & email marketing platforms
- Content control with video security options and white-label capabilities
- Multi-bitrate streaming for Live Streaming and VOD video
- Collaboration tools and Digital Asset Management
- Adaptive Bitrate streaming
- Player API access for easy integration with existing systems and custom app creation
- Video API access on premium plans
- Scale video hosting and delivery to hundreds, thousands, or millions of users
- Multiple, customizable video monetization options
- Reliable delivery from top-tier live streaming CDNs
Plus, Corporate, and Enterprise Plans are Cincopa’s video hosting tiers. These plans include features such as image galleries and audio hosting in addition to video hosting.
For $25/month, Cincopa’s Plus plan offers you a customized video player and customizable image/audio gallery layouts with the ability to host 1500 images, 50 audio files & 40 2gb long video files. Cincopa unlike other hosting platforms also provides you with the option to host your digital documents as well like Words, Excel, PDFs, etc.
- Plus plan: $25/month
- Corporate plan: $99/month
- Enterprise/ Agency plan: $350/month
- Custom Enterprise plan: Custom Plan to meet your needs
You can get features like unlimited storage, marketing tools, video analytics, password protection, and screen recording by subscribing to one of the more premium plans.
- Live streaming and VOD packages on all pricing plans
- Multiple viewers and live channels
- Mobile device support
- Live stream recording
- Plans for every budget
- Tools or businesses with large multimedia storage/hosting needs
- Solutions for sales, marketing, education, production, publishing, and more
- Video monetization tools
- Video analytics
- Offers advanced security features
- It can be difficult to use initially due to its robust features and video solutions
Best use case of Cincopa
- Enterprise video hosting
- Online course video hosting
- Marketing video hosting
- Educational webinars
- Live Streaming
Brightcove is a video hosting service that was created with monetization and marketing in mind. Brightcove’s features are ideal for those that want cutting-edge video technology as well as the ability to interact with their preferred marketing, communications, and advertising tools.
Brightcove is a video marketing and business video package that integrates seamlessly with all of your marketing and advertising efforts. It also includes a cloud video platform and video player.
Brightcove’s major features are;
- Video monetization and advertising
- Over-the-Top (OTT) streaming services
- TV Everywhere (TVE) streaming services
- Advanced encryption settings
- Comprehensive editing tools
- Customer support
- Easy-to-use interface
- Less advanced analytics
- Users have to pay extra for 24/7 customer support
- Does not distribute to all locations
- Very expensive to use & hard to onboard
- Brightcove has three pricing tiers targeted at enterprise customers
- Starter: includes 50 to 200 videos, up to 100,000 plays, and 2-5 users
- Professional: unlimited videos, 100,000+ plays, and no overages plays, with +10 users
- Enterprise: unlimited videos, 100,000+ plays, and no overages plays, with 10+ users, unlimited upload, and analytics-only users
Customers will have to contact Brightcove’s team to get a quote on any plan.
Best use case of Brightcove
- Streaming Video for Sales
- Enterprise Video Hosting
- Marketing Video Hosting
Wistia is a “TV-quality” streaming video hosting service for broadcasters looking to expand their reach. Wistia is more a digital marketing platform than a video storage platform.
CTAs, annotation links, and email functionality are among its top-selling features, making it ideal for marketing.
- Incredible video hosting service
- Plenty of amazing features
- Limited number of videos for more cost
- 24/7 customer support is not available
- Customization a solution for specific needs is difficult
Wistia offers three pricing tiers – free, pro and advanced.
Wistia free gives you access to one channel, three free videos to embed anywhere, and up to 250 subscribers. Wistia free provides a completely configurable player, interactive video features, comprehensive video analytics, and A/B testing for all of your videos. However, all videos will carry Wistla branding.
The pro version is priced at $99/month and gives ten free videos. Users will have access to all the tools as the free version without the Wistla branding on videos.
The advanced plan has custom pricing based on needs. Users will have up to 100 free videos, multiple channels and over 250 subscribers.
Best use case of Wistia
- enterprise video hosting
- streaming sales video
- marketing video hosting
Dacast is a live and on-demand streaming solution for small and medium enterprises that uses a single dashboard to broadcast live and on-demand videos and events.
The platform may help teams learn more about audience engagement, top-performing content, consumption data, income creation, and geographical indicators.
Administrators may use the video management tool to encode, publish, record, and distribute live streaming videos in the library, allowing users to watch them over and over again.
- Variety of video hosting plans
- 24/7 support
- live stream recording
- mobile support
- multiple plans for different budget
- Users need to pay more for 24/7 support
- dacast has a difficult learning trajectory
- video solutions are basic
- Non existent video analytics
Dacast has four pricing plans
- Starter Plan: $39/month (includes 1,000 GB of bandwidth & 50 GB of storage)
- Event Plan: $63/month (includes 6 TB of bandwidth upfront and 50 GB of storage)
- Scale Plan: $188/month (includes 24 TB of bandwidth per year and 1 TB of storage)
- Custom plan: Those that have higher video needs will need to contact Diecast for their custom plans.
Best use Case of Dacast
- Live event streaming
- Enterprise video hosting
- Marketing video hosting
Kaltura supports both live and VOD streaming. Unlike other streaming services targeted at businesses, Kaltura mostly designs its services for academic institutions.
Kaltura’s cloud video hosting service is perfect for online and in-person training, with many people using Kaltura for webinars.
Kaltura’s key features include;
- Cloud TV service
- Video looping capabilities
- Closed captioning for accessibility
- Extensive security options
- Monetization options.
- Allows users to host multiple concurrent events
- Easily accessible for viewers
- Integrates very well with enterprise applications via a strong API system
- Robust and flexible transcoding profiles.
- Extra cost to get a reliable CDN
- Slow uploading and processing
- Basic analytics function
- Poor customer support
Kaltura’s price is determined by bandwidth and feature usage. They have annual and pay-as-you-go plans available.
You can pay for what you use each month, but these contracts start at $5,400 and are invoiced monthly if you wish to buy credits in bulk at a discounted rate. Free trials are also available from Kaltura.
Best use cases of Kaltura
- Educational videos
- Enterprise videos
In this modern age, your business can’t scale without video content. You need a reliable video streaming service to host your videos and provide seamless playback for end-users.
The streaming services listed here are some of the best in the business. DO take advantage of them to get the full benefits of video for your business.