I am seeing more practitioners and vendors getting into video. It’s a great medium and will become increasingly important over time both as a communications and marketing vehicle. GoodmanJones has done some great work in recent times.
So – you’ve crafted your first epic and are wondering where to place it. If you don’t choose the right platform for your ‘stuff’ then you could be heading for a whole lot of trouble. So here’s a run down of a few of the better known CDNs (Content Delivery Networks), what I’ve found in using or trialling them and some aspects I believe you should consider. This is not an exhaustive test or review and is only based upon personal experience. Your mileage may vary.
YouTube – everyone tries YT at least once. I’ve been using it on and off for years and at the last count there were some 337 videos in my channel. It’s free, it can be ad free if you get the settings right and it can give you great distribution without your needing to do too much. It can autopost to Twitter, Facebook and Google Plus. Awesome you might think. But – there are a couple of gotchas. YT defaults to a relatively low res of 360 which is not much cop to view. You can change that manually when viewing but that doesn’t help for making first impressions count. Most material uploaded nowadays is 720p HD. YT has a habit of degrading the original video content so that even if you have a pristine original, the chances are that YT will make it look a bit worse than you intended. Service and support are non existent for all practical purposes. It works fine on most mobile devices.
Vimeo – another popular CDN. There are a couple of rate plans to choose from. If you plan to use on a commercial site then go for the PRO option. That allows you to control many aspects of the video including what people can embed on their site, download and so on. PRO costs €159 plus tax per annum. Service is much better than it was a few years back though the site has had problems with audio synch in recent weeks which are only slowly being resolved. I’m currently retesting it to see if the problems have been fully resolved. Bear this in mind if you plan to use the service. Video quality generally seems to be pretty good. You can default to HD viewing and it should work well on most mobile devices. Like YT it can be connected to a variety of social networks so that you can automate distribution to where your audience ‘lives.’
Viddler – yet another reasonably popular CDN that offers the potential for own branding plus the choice of embed size to suite your website. At a starting price of $42 per month it is expensive in comparison to the others but you can run campaigns with Viddler. For me, the ability to easily apply timestamps which I can use as the basis for show notes is a big plus. Video quality is very good which certainly compensates for the price.
BitGravity – TTFN.tv swears by BitGravity and it is used by many large brands. But at $295 per month is it really worth the cost? If you are doing a lot of content creation or want the very best in video quality then it is hard to beat. It’s biggest plus though is the ability to livestream and embed. This is great if you have a regular show or content that you’d like to get out to an audience you can manage. It is not as easy to use as the ones mentioned above but once you get the hang of it then it is plain sailing. It won’t really get you the kind of distribution the others will but then I am a great believer in building a professional audience without going through all the gaming type stuff that happens with YT etc.
There you have it – a very quick skim over the surface but hopefully enough to help you make a reasonable decision.