4 Video Hosting Options for Small Businesses
(Read our 2013 updated list of video hosting options for small businesses)
The world of free or low-cost video hosting for small businesses has changed drastically over the past few years. Options used to be pretty limited: you could create an .swf file and host it yourself, or you could use a free hosting service like YouTube, Vimeo, or Blip TV. But those options had issues. The quality of YouTube sucked. Vimeo had good video quality but was (and is) hostile to business. Blip TV wanted ‘series’ video, whatever that meant. An .swf file on your own server was a good solution, because there were no simple, high-quality, affordable hosting sites that were friendly to – and specifically for – business video hosting.
Wow, have things changed.
Now there are many more hosting options to choose from. And within each one are more and more cool features, like detailed analytics. Here's another crucial point: iPhones and iPads won’t play swf files, but they happily play YouTube videos. Many other hosting services now offer this feature as well.
There is no longer any reason to host your own video, because video is now easy to host externally at low or no cost. And there are good reasons not to host your own – like analytics. So from now on, use a hosting site for your videos. If you’ve got swf files on your website, think about whether you want to leave them there, or re-code and upload to a hosting site.
Where should you host your business videos?
Here are four good video hosting solutions for small businesses. (Feel free to add your favorites in the comments section.)
- YouTube – how funny is it that YouTube has become one of the most used free hosting services for small businesses? The visual quality YouTube delivers is very good (which is remarkable given how crappy it used to be). You can upload hi-def video and viewers can play it back full-screen and it looks great. YouTube is still totally free, and makes it very easy to share your videos – on Facebook and a bunch of other sites. YouTube has never been hostile to business (like Vimeo) or confusing (like Blip TV – what is that series thing?) One limitation is that YouTube videos must be less than ten minutes long, which means it’s not a good solution for hosting longer webinar videos.
- Brightcove - the 900 lb gorilla of video hosting, Brightcove’s client list includes big companies like Fox Entertainment and General Motors. But Brightcove also has affordable hosting for small businesses too ($99/month). They’ve got good analytics, i-device capability, and the newest thing in video delivery: bandwidth detection technology. You upload a high-quality video, and Brightcove creates six versions of various lesser qualities. It then detects a viewer’s bandwidth, and delivers the version that matches the best possible quality given that particular download speed. If you're hosting multiple videos, and your small business is large enough to afford $99/month, Brightcove is a good solution.
- Wistia – delivers very cool analytics such as the ‘video heatmap’ of individual viewer interest over the length of the video, and charts of aggregate viewership over time. It’s easy to use, and supports i-devices. You can use it for video and also for webinars. The low-price package, which is fine for most small businesses, is $39/month.
- Screencast - a good solution for hosting webinars as well as video. Maintains the video format and size you upload – so quality isn’t lost through re-encoding. And length is not an issue like it is on YouTube. No i-device support, though, and analytics are limited to number of views. You can use this service for free or pay $9.95/month for more storage and bandwidth, plus the ability to brand your on-site pages.
Now that the market has figured out that small businesses need AND will pay for video hosting, look for more and more options that combine low cost with features like bandwidth detection, delivery across all devices, and detailed analytics.
So say goodbye to hosting your own video as .swf files. Say hello to high-quality, affordable video hosting that's specifically designed for the needs of small businesses.
And if you're considering a video production project in the Boston area, click the Contact tab in the menu bar and connect with us. We'd love to discuss your project!