Choosing the Right Video Platform [Decision Tree]
Are you ready to begin your video journey, but don’t know which platform suits you best? How do you decide based on their features, prices, and intended uses? Follow this decision tree to reach the conclusion that fits your business’s needs.
So, you’ve decided it’s time for your business to start taking video seriously. That, or the solution you’re using isn’t working out as you’d hoped, so you’re ready to make a switch.
In either case, welcome. You’re not alone in feeling overwhelmed by the sheer number of video platforms out there. Many offer similar features and opportunities, but how do you sift through the promises to find the one that actually provides the tools you need to realize your vision? Let’s walk through it together.
Table of Contents
What Role Will Video Play in Your Business?
The first step is deciding how you want to use video. You likely already have an idea in mind: it may be to publish fun content that drives brand awareness, videos that bring in leads or educate consumers, to host internal company training sessions, or a myriad of other possibilities. Your answer will determine whether you need a video platform of your own or if you can get away with a classic online channel.
By online channel, we’re referring to videos posted on social platforms like Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, and Twitch. Individual creators and brand owners will likely benefit from this free option and proximity to related content. The hard part is distinguishing yourself from all the other channels out there, but you may not have the resources or enough content to warrant building a platform of your own.
Small to large businesses, however, might decide that posting or live streaming videos on YouTube alone isn’t enough (you can always publish content in more than one place!). If you feel the same, then it’s worth leveraging a platform that’s home to your videos, and only yours. This route creates an air of legitimacy and boosts your brand authority because it allows unique opportunities for customization and SEO that separates you from the rest of your business’s niche.
Let’s Talk Building Blocks
The next question to ask yourself is, how much effort are you willing or able to put into configuring your platform? You can narrow your choices down to two broad options: a video solution that lets you build your platform from the ground up or turning to an “out-of-the-box” solution that provides pre-made features, themes, and tools (albeit limited).
Small businesses that are a step above individual creators often choose out-of-the-box solutions because they require fewer developer resources and have options that fit smaller budgets. Some of these solutions cater to specific video use cases — Kaltura, for instance, is designed to facilitate educational content, making it ideal for online classrooms or digital training centers. Likewise, retail businesses might go with Brightcove due to its emphasis on e-commerce and the tools it includes that make selling easier. These solutions offer building blocks closer to drag-and-drop tools that you might find sufficient for your video needs.
On the other hand, you may need a more comprehensive and customized platform than what out-of-the-box solutions can provide. Even if you don’t have a team of developers to help you take the product and turn it into the platform of your dreams, video solutions that let you build from the ground up often come with professional services or engineering support to assist you.
What Features Should You Look For?
Regardless of whether you decide on an out-of-the-box or more personalized solution, it’s essential to know which features to look for. You’ll find many of the basics across both, but the platform that works best for you will have all the features you need plus options to help you scale as your business grows.
Be on the lookout for:
- Live and video–on-demand (VOD) transcoding to reach audiences on any device with any protocol
- API access and developer tools for enhanced customization and integration
- A video CMS for storage and management
- VOD and over-the-top (OTT) platform construction so you can display your content like a branded Netflix
- Tight security to prevent data leaks and cyber attacks
- Advanced analytics for diving into your audience’s demographics, preferences, and more
- Swift content delivery network (CDN) speed and distribution to deliver video fast and anywhere in the world
- Monetization opportunities like ad insertion and subscription options
- Optimized playback for seamless viewing experiences
- Live recording to turn live events into VOD content for later
- Cloud and software-based options so you can reduce computational power or stream offline if necessary
For more insight into what these features are and why they matter, check out Wowza’s Buyer’s Guide to Video Streaming Platforms.
Bringing Your Vision to Fruition
If you’ve decided that an out-of-the-box solution isn’t for you, you can narrow your search down further by identifying which components you already have. For example, Mux’s core product is its excellent API that grants you a great deal of programmatic control, but it doesn’t include a CDN, protocol support, or ultra-low latency. If you already have a CDN and a means to ensure low latency, then Mux could be a good way to go if you’re all right with piecing your streaming workflow together.
Let’s say you don’t have a CDN or are on the market for a better one. In this case, you could choose options like IBM Cloud Video or Dacast. You could build an excellent, user-friendly video platform with either of these solutions, but only one solution has all the elements that would help you take said platform to the next level (such as live transcoding).
Wowza is a fully integrated video solution that offers both cloud-based streaming and software for on-premises deployment behind a firewall. SOC-2 Type II certified and cutting-edge, Wowza Video and Wowza Streaming Engine allow you to build whatever video platform your business needs, from protocol and codec-agnostic live streaming with sub-second latency to a powerful CMS and VOD infrastructure to create your own branded OTT content library.
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About Jacob Yoss
Jacob is Wowza’s resident content writer, creating blog posts, case studies, and more that educate Wowza’s audience. Born and raised in Denver, Colorado, Jacob currently travels the world as a digital nomad and is also passionate about social justice, art, and fantasy literature.