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Best Practices for Selecting an Online Video Platform Provider

11.19.2013
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According to Google’s online video viewership statistics, more than one billion unique users visit YouTube.com each month. This video content behemoth allows amateur and professional publishers to use its infrastructure to host, publish, and distribute video. With a robust social component, users can comment on videos and best of all: It’s free and easy to use. For companies who want to maintain complete control of their proprietary content however, the free content hosting and distribution model might not be the best platform for your long-term content distribution goals. Use the following tips to help you decide what's right for your business between a commercial and sophisticated enterprise online video platform or many free and available content hosting options.

Disadvantages of Using Free Video Platform

  1. Advertising Supported Players – Some video platforms are free, but most make their money from advertising. It is best to pay for a hosting solution that does not feature text overlays or pre-roll advertising inserted into your corporate videos.
  2. Limited Control of the Players– A free video player should complement the look and colors featured in your brand identity or website’s design. Most free players are limited in their color capabilities and have few options to customize the video player’s skin.
  3. Distracting Social Features – Most free players display unrelated content after each video plays. A list of unrelated videos may distract the user from viewing your content and interacting with your training modules. To maintain an air of professionalism distance your expensive-to-produce video content from unprofessional and amateurish user-generated content featured prominently on the free platform’s site.
  4. Limited Control of the Content – Without any warning, a free video platform can remove or suspend your content due to an alleged copyright infringement or a consumer complaint. Unfortunately, there are video ripping programs widely available to help users download your content illegally to their computers.

How to Select a Video Platform Provider

  1. Begin by calculating your video views. - Make an estimate of how many videos you plan to upload per month and their expected views. Most video platform providers have a limit on the features and numbers of views based on price. It is best to think about how many people in your company will use the videos to estimate your pricing and volume needs.
  2. Identify important service features.  - For some companies, a platform’s video player customization, ease of use and sophisticated analytics are important. While other marketing organizations want to track user behavior and social commenting capabilities. Before you make a commitment to a particular platform, identify the top KPI’s and player features that are most important to your organization.
  3. Sign up for free trials to test the platform’s video capabilities.  – Selecting the right provider does not have to be a complex technical decision. Spend time with three or four video platforms to test the user interface, video playback speed and other important features.  If the company does not offer free trials, meet with a sales representative for a full-feature demo of the platform’s capabilities before you make your final choice.
Published at DZone with permission of Paul Andrews, author and DZone MVB.

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