Your video content is polished and ready to go. The next step is to upload it to a platform where your audience can watch and engage with it. But sometimes YouTube, Vimeo and Facebook (aka the Big Three) are not the best place to host your video. When that happens, you may want to consider an online video platform (OVP).
The technical definition of an OVP is "a free or fee-based, self-service platform that offers hosting, encoding, customizable and embeddable players, and metrics for organizations that wish to upload and distribute their own video content.”
In other words, an OVP is a video player that hosts and plays your videos. It functions like YouTube and Vimeo, but is tailored to what you’re aiming to achieve.
Many of our clients (including ourselves) use their website and content to do one or all of the following:
In the majority of these cases, using YouTube, Vimeo or Facebook to host video content is good enough. They’re well-established, reliable and allow you to compete to get your videos in front of whoever you’re targeting.
These services come at a price though. YouTube, for example, is the world’s second largest search engine behind Google. If your videos are popular and optimised, they’re more likely to be found. Great, but the reason it’s free is because it sells advertising space, which means YouTube wants your website traffic and you forfeit any control over linked videos. The conversation you have with your audience is on their terms.
The same goes for Facebook, while Vimeo is all about visual and creative flair, and less about decent analytics. You also have to pay a subscription fee to embed videos on your website and play them in HD.
There are several reasons to consider using an OVP. You may be looking to launch a content subscription service, provide video to a specific group of people or use your videos internally, in which case public platforms like the Big Three aren’t secure enough. As with any decision, it’s important to weigh up the benefits and the drawbacks, which I will do over the next two posts. First, the benefits.
We recently had a phone call from a client asking to turn off the links to their competitor’s videos when their video had finished. The video was hosted on YouTube and embedded on their website. Unfortunately, this is one of the prices to pay for a free platform. With an OVP, you have full control over what your audience sees and engages with. No more cats, fails, music videos or tiny cooking - just your messages.
Players like YouTube have strong brands and their players reflect that. The YouTube red, grey and charcoal feel familiar, and so are some of their strongest brand assets. With an OVP, it can reflect your company and your unique identity, which creates a more professional and sophisticated perception.
While the likes of YouTube and Facebook might make it easier for your content to be found, you may want the opposite. Security can be vital, particularly if you’re sharing a company strategy from your CEO, or the content contains sensitive scenes that could be manipulated if they fall into the wrong hands. Although those players have privacy settings, there is still an element of risk involved. A decent OVP will work with you to ensure the safety of your content.
Some OVPs such as Brightcove will never show their logo and instead let you edit the design to reflect your organisation, like the England Rugby TV example above. It has their logo top left on the player and no mention of the OVP. This means the viewer can focus on the video and the website. It’s also one less opportunity for them to click and leave the site, keeping them engaged with the content for longer.
Most OVPs aren’t just video players and include a whole host of exciting innovations. Because of this, the term OVP is actually falling out of favour. For example, Qumu lets their users edit, upload and share their videos in one place. This sort of integration will become more normal as producing video becomes a regular part of working life. Expect the OVP as we know it to disappear in the future.
If you’re worried about other OVPs not having the same features as the video giants, then don’t fear: most features that YouTube offers like annotations, embedding and social sharing are available. And if they’re not, that’s one less OVP to consider when looking for the right player to suit your marketing needs.
Those are the benefits of using an OVP. Read my next post for the drawbacks of using an OVP, as well as further reading and examples of OVPs on the market.