After you have produced your first video, it is time to decide how and where you will be hosting your content. Videos require more storage and bandwidth than other types of digital content, and you may be interested in making money from your videos. Google’s YouTube platform offers a “one size fits all” solution for video hosting, but other options and platforms do exist. When should you become a “YouTuber,” and when should you seek out another solution?
The Evolution of Video Hosting
Before online video hosting platforms became popular, hosting online video was often expensive and technologically limited. When mainstream adoption of the Internet first began in the 90s, online video was usually limited to short, compressed, low-resolution clips that lasted only a few seconds to a minute. Video streaming was limited to very low resolution feeds on a desktop or laptop, and usually only users with a high-speed Internet connection were able to view it without significant interruptions and buffering. As broadband adoption became widespread in the 2000’s, more users were able to view online videos, but the cost of hosting large video files and streaming video feeds was still cost-prohibitive for individuals and small websites.
With the introduction of YouTube and other video hosting services, users were able to upload and access videos for free in exchange for allowing the service to inject commercials and banner ads in the video, allowing the hosting platform to monetize the content. Early on, YouTube introduced a program that shared this revenue with the video producers themselves – the “Partner Program” turned uploaders into commercial partners, and popular video producers soon began making significant revenue from “YouTubing.” As of 2014, YouTube is, by far, the most popular video sharing platform in the United States, although two other companies – Vimeo and Amazon’s Twitch – also offer popular platforms that cater to smaller, more niche audiences
For the vast majority of casual and amateur video producers, YouTube is the optimal platform for hosting videos. The service is free to use, although it does require the user to have or sign up for a Google Account. It is very simple to upload and edit videos to YouTube, and all of the videos you upload are easily found on your YouTube Channel. YouTube even provides an option to disable ads for some videos. For bloggers and social media users, YouTube offers options to embed videos almost anywhere. Finally, when you upload videos to YouTube, you retain the copyright to your video, although the YouTube Terms of Service outline a number of ways that YouTube is legally allowed to reproduce content.
Alternatives To YouTube
Although YouTube is currently the most popular video platform, some video producers choose to utilize other platforms and services – these producers range from small, amateur video companies to major corporations like Viacom, owner of such channels and outlets as MTV and Comedy Central. Some large companies aren’t interested in revenue sharing, while others want to take advantage of revenue and advertising options that YouTube doesn’t offer.
Embedding YouTube Videos
The most significant feature that YouTube lacks is the ability for users to download the video to their computers or mobile devices. Third-party options exist for users to make local copies of YouTube videos, but any official YouTube services, including embedding and mobile apps, do not offer the option to download videos. If you are promoting your videos through your website, blog or social media, you can include a third-party link to directly download your video, although it is important to ensure that you will not exceed any bandwidth limits imposed by your hosting provider.
Vimeo And Twitch
Vimeo and Twitch are two competing video hosting services that cater to niche segments of online video producers. Vimeo is a service more similar to YouTube, although it bills and markets its service mainly to aspiring and professional filmmakers, rather than video bloggers and other types of video producers. Through a premium subscription service, Vimeo users can access premium features that allow full-length, high-definition films to be uploaded to Vimeo. A Pro service, which is mandatory for all professional producers who aren’t “small scale independent production companies, non-profits, and artists,” offers expanded storage, analytics and player options. Twitch, a platform now owned and operated by Amazon, hosts live streaming video, and the service is marketed to video game players and cyberathletes to provide real-time coverage of electronic sports. With such a narrow focus and target market, Twitch – at least in its present form – is ill-suited for other users and uses.