YouTube has been the video streaming platform of the internet since its inception in 2005. Now 10 years later, web video is more ubiquitous than ever thanks to platforms like Facebook, Snapchat and Amazon Video Direct. Here, we’re going to look at these video platforms and see how they fit into the online video space.
YouTube’s dominance in the online video space has a lot to do with it’s simplicity, longevity and it’s largest asset; Google.
YouTube has long been the choice platform for web series, short films and vlogs since anyone can create an account and begin uploading and monetizing videos that can easily be found and searched both through its native platform and Google. It’s usually the first platform people think of when it comes to sharing video to the web, but as popular as YouTube is, there are other options out there that may better serve your specific purpose.
Facebook Video allows any Facebook user to upload and share their videos with their network of friends and family natively on the platform. Facebook is favoring videos that are uploaded natively because the more people engage with your video in the News Feed, the more people stay on Facebook.
The sharing and tagging features of Facebook have increased the shareability of content, causing more and more videos to go viral through Facebook Video and further ingraining video into the social experience. At this moment there is no monetization feature, and videos generally have shorter lifespans than they would on the more searchable YouTube.
Even more ephemeral are Snapchat videos. The most unique feature of Snapchat is that the content created will expire within 24 hours of uploading, so followers are incentivized to actively watch the Stories so as not to miss out on the latest updates. The real draw to Snapchat is its collection of interactive and geo-location based filters, which is added to daily.
Many have turned to Snapchat as the place to go for vlogging, especially with the simple Snapchat Story feature, which allows users to add 10 second video Snaps to a published story in a snap (pun intended). Snapchat users can produce more content more quickly, without the expectation of a polished production. It’s the epitome of social video — created quickly, shared instantly, gone the next day.
Amazon Video Direct
Amazon Video Direct, is the newest player to enter the online video scene. Launching May of 2016, Amazon Video Direct is seeking to “[Help] content creators and visual storytellers reach millions of Amazon customers across hundreds of devices with the same distribution options and delivery quality available to major motion picture and television studios.”
While Facebook and Snapchat are making low quality, unmonetized video more prevalent, Amazon Video Direct is moving in the opposite direction with a platform that favors premium content and consistent output.
Once you fill out all the required information and distribution agreements, you can add your content to Amazon’s catalogue of video to be purchased or rented through Amazon. Though the platform is still new, this offering seems to be an ideal place for highly produced web series and films seeking distribution comparable to Netflix.
The landscape of online video has changed significantly over the past 10 years. Though YouTube still reigns supreme with online video when it comes to searchability and it’s Google backing, other platforms like Facebook and Snapchat on one side and Amazon Video Direct on the other are offering users unique features and benefits that may be a better fit for certain types of content.