Whether it's for yourself or a client, you may find you've spent time, effort and often money creating a professional video and now need a way to embed it on a website.
Whether it's an on-demand video or you're producing an event that needs to be broadcast live, you need to find a way to deliver your content without losing quality or control over the end result. There are many options out there, free and paid, that can do the job. However, they don't all have the same qualities and features to make your content shine.
Choosing a professional platform allows you to stay in full control of your videos, ensure they remain of high quality and that you continue to produce valuable content. Read more about the benefits of choosing a professional platform.
What to Look for in a Streaming Platform
There are some prominent places where you can host your on-demand video for free, and there are others that allow you to live stream. However, these free platforms have a few disadvantages compared to professional platforms. When looking at a free option, ask yourself – “why is it free”. Often you'll find that platform is either severely limiting in what you can achieve or is making money off your content some other way. You might find they only offer live or on-demand rather than a complete solution.
Free platforms have to make money somehow, and a large part of this is through ads. Whether they're before your video, halfway through or surrounding the player, they're disruptive and annoy viewers! It dilutes and distracts from your message, considerably impacting the number of people watching your video and staying until the end. Worse, those ads are usually targeted to the viewer, delivering ads from the competition. Many free options, and some paid ones, have their branding on the player as a subtle way to promote their service to your viewers. A truly white-labelled player will make sure your brand and your video are always in focus.
You've invested in a professional setup for your production; you know quality matters and don't want to lose that through the hosting or streaming platform. Professional platforms offer HD quality as standard. When you're paying for a service, it's easier to guarantee and to expect high quality than when it's free. You should make sure your platform includes access to an HTML5 video player, and this ensures your video can be viewed on all modern devices worldwide.
Free platforms aren't designed for professionals. While many choose to use them, they're designed to cater to the needs of hobbyists and amateurs and therefore don't offer you the same detailed level of control over every step in the video streaming process. This includes everything from who can view the video and where it can be embedded to the player's look, feel, and size.
If you're part of an agency or production company, you might be running multiple video campaigns for different purposes or clients simultaneously. A professional platform will offer the ability to manage all of your clients' files and live streams separately that can be organised entirely to your requirements. Along those same lines, a professional platform's campaign management system will also allow you to share previews with clients, inviting them to view and be part of the video campaigns that you are running for them.
On-demand video is relatively straightforward. You upload, and you embed with a few options along the way. Live streaming, however, can be pretty technical to set up, with many external and environmental factors that need to be considered – this is often where video professionals will need the most support. Different professional platforms offer different levels of support, but you should always expect to be able to get in touch with someone who can help you! Make sure your streaming partner is available to you when you need them and willing to take the time to plan your project with you, rather than simply point you to a manual. Whether it's the basic setup or answering a complicated streaming question, you should expect a professional platform to offer you complete support as standard.
Video Streaming Costs
Cost is perhaps the only reason you wouldn't choose a professional streaming platform. If you're a hobbyist, then you might not be looking to spend money, but as a professional, you need to weigh up the advantages with the cost and decide whether it's worth the investment.
Most streaming providers offer tiered packages based on usage, but you should also check what features are available. Some hold back more technical features, like live streaming, from their entry-level packages to limit the number of support requests from lower-level users.
So make sure you have access to everything you need before you commit. Usage is usually based on storage, for your video files, and bandwidth, for the delivery of video across the provider's network (this is used for both live and on-demand). Make sure the platform has flexible plans available so you don't end up having to upgrade for extra bandwidth, paying for storage you don't need. Look for professional platforms that have reasonable overage costs to transition between plans as your usage evolves seamlessly.
You might think switching to a professional streaming platform is a significant investment, but it might also not be as expensive as you think. Zidivo, for example, offers all the benefits above for both on-demand and live streaming at just £20 a month. They also offer a free 30-day trial period so you can get to grips with the platform and have a personal consultation with one of their streaming experts before you commit. With unlimited client support, it's a fantastic way to stream professional videos without breaking the bank!
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