Video is everywhere. You see it in more places now than on television. It’s so easy to create video content and publish it to the internet, that it has become second nature to many people, whether they are content creators or just regular folks posting to Youtube. You no longer need to host your own video content on your web server.
So what are the best video platforms for video content distribution? Well, it depends on what you are creating and what you want to do with it.
Youtube is arguably the most notable and widely used video content platform. People use it to create their own channels within the Youtube community as well as a hosting platform for embedding content on their own web sites. It can also be used to monetize content if it gets a lot of eye balls on it. One of the most important things about Youtube is that it is also the most widely used search engine on the internet, not just for video content, but for ANYTHING! You want to find out how to rebuild your water heater? Youtube it. Want to learn how to play the intro to Stairway To Heaven on a xylophone? Youtube it. Want to learn how to dock the tails of Cocker Spaniel pups? Youtube it. If you are a business owner, it’s definitely a great way to showcase your products or services. For film and video pros it can serve as an online portfolio.
Youtube is not just a useful place to learn how to do something though, it’s also a huge repository for past and present cultural and societal trends and perspectives. It’s become a massive archive of educational and historical content as well.
Facebook has had video capabilities for years but quite frankly, it sucks! It has a crappy content management setup and the quality of the video, after it has been uploaded and compressed to Facebook’s specs, is horrible. As a content creator, I’ve never relied on Facebook as a platform for hosting. Instead I post links to videos and films from my Vimeo account.
That is about to change.
This week Facebook announced new publishing tools that allow content creators to manage there videos more effectively by creating distinct “libraries” of content. Along with that they’ve created tools to allow you to block embedding your videos on other sites and to create secret videos only accessible from a private URL. These are great tools, something Youtube has had for years. But wait…there’s more. With 1.23 billion monthly active users and more than 30 million small businesses on Facebook, there’s obviously a massive audience waiting to be harnessed by content creators and advertisers. Facebook will be making it easy for users to find video content they are looking for, and you won’t eve have to search for it! A new feature called Suggested Videos will mine content based on your viewing habits. It will be a video-only subsection of a user’s news feed. But wait…there’s even more. Content creators will have the opportunity to earn up to 55% off of Facebook ads that run while your video plays. I’ve experimented with using Facebook ads and have found it to be somewhat worth the expense so this will make it more appealing to those who may be on the fence. So…it’s apparent Facebook wants to tackle Youtube. Ain’t competition wonderful ;)
Then there’s Vimeo. I personally have used Vimeo longer than I’ve had a Youtube or Facebook account and it suites my needs and perspective on internet video and film content distribution. The main difference between Vimeo, Youtube, Facebook and most other video platforms, is that Vimeo was designed from the beginning to be content creator-centric and a platform designed specifically for creatives. It continues to remain true to that. Vimeo is also a great video hosting platform for embedding content on a web site. I’ve always felt that the end game of search engines and social media is to get people to your web site so it doesn’t make sense to send them off somewhere else view your video content. Something different about Vimeo is the tiered level of paid accounts they offer in addition to the basic free account.
If you subscribe to one of Vimeo’s paid platforms, you have the ability to embed video without the Vimeo branded video player, even better, you can create and use your own branding for it. This brings up a huge difference between Vimeo and other platforms. Vimeo is NOT advertiser driven. It’s content creator driven. Youtube’s and Facebook’s target audience is NOT the end user, rather it’s the advertiser. Vimeo generates its revenue through film makers and to that end, it caters to us. At SXSW 2013, Vimeo launched its VOD service, Vimeo On Demand, which allows film makers to sell or rent films or episodic content through an iTunes or Amazon-like storefront or directly through their own web sites, seamlessly, with all of the backend purchasing transactions handled by Vimeo. Get this, the creator or content owner gets 90% of the revenue. This is HUGE in terms of indie film distribution. Now, don’t get me wrong, it doesn’t make it guaranteed that you can produce a movie, load it on Vimeo, and rake in the bucks. You still have to market, advertise, promote, and brand your content and build your audience, but Vimeo has made it simple to make it available to purchase.
Since Vimeo is creator-centric, it’s also easy to interact with content creators more so than with television or Hollywood film production. It provides a social platform to comment, like and share videos and films just like Facebook or Youtube.
The internet is not only just the information highway, it’s now the media pipeline allowing anyone access to broadcasting their own content.