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YouTube is the undisputed leader among video portals and can confidently be described as top dog in the industry: over one billion users surf YouTube, which is almost a third of all internet users. There’s no question about it; the platform has long been recognised as an effective marketing tool. Videos can be uploaded with just a few clicks and can easily be embedded on any external website using automatically generated HTML codes. Its range of features and ease of use make it difficult for competing portals to get their foot in the door, but what actually are the alternatives to YouTube?
Some alternatives includes services like Dailymotion, Vimeo, Twitch, Flickr, and Metacafe, which offer private and professional users a wide range of options for posting or viewing content. Here is an overview of five YouTube alternatives and their advantages and disadvantages.
Dailymotion is a video portal from France and is currently one of the best YouTube alternatives, especially in its home country where the active range of users in 2015 was 23%. In international comparison, no other service can boast such remarkable value. This means that in France, Dailymotion is right behind YouTube (with an active range of 57%). It’s the same situation in many other countries, where Dailymotion finds itself in second place, just behind YouTube. The company estimates its worldwide number of users to be around 300 million. 3.5 billion videos are played on Dailymotion each month.
Dailymotion wins points with its upload specifications: video files can be up to 2GB in size and up to 60 minutes in length. Numerous video and audio formats are supported, so that uploaders can choose between .mov, .mpeg4, .mp4, .avi, and .wmv files. Users are recommended to use H.264 as a video codec, and AAC at a frame rate of 25 FPY as an audio codec. A resolution of up to 1080p (full HD) is possible. This makes the portal particularly suitable for demanding uploaders: large files are just as welcome as image quality.
The layout is clear and intuitive. The way elements are arranged is similar to that of its greatest competitor, YouTube – anyone that does make the switch will easily be able to find their way around. Embedding and sharing videos on external platforms is also very simple: just one click and the HTML code is automatically generated.
There are even more features for 'partners' since it’s not just on YouTube that you can make money. You can also make money with videos on Dailymotion, adjust the player, and oversee revenue with the analysis tool. This makes Dailymotion one of the best alternatives to YouTube, especially for bloggers who want to make their content available on a paid basis or offer separate premium content. If you want to use Dailymotion’s website monetisation, you can either activate your site to allow it, or embed a special widget from the provider. Some notable partners already take part in this program, including CNN.
Dailymotion offers an impressive range of apps: the YouTube alternative is used on many smart TVs, set-top boxes, and Sony Playstation 4s, and can be viewed comfortably from the sofa. The service can also be used via iOS, Android, and Windows app.
|Widest-reaching YouTube alternative||Has been banned in many countries due to copyright issues|
|Extensive upload functions|
|Video files up to 2GB and 60 minutes long possible|
|Optional monetisation of videos|
|Apps for numerous devices|
Vimeo is a US video service that launched in 2004 and specialises in artistically ambitious videos. It is therefore not surprising that the service was founded by filmmakers and directors, who wanted to provide a distribution platform for their work. For example, lots of impressive short videos, documentaries, and even music videos can be found on this platform. If you’re interested in independent production, Vimeo offers one of the highest quality YouTube alternatives. Vimeo has around 170 million viewers and 70% of these are outside of the United States. Websites using this platform include marriott.com, gap.com, and thewirecutter.com.
Vimeo claims to be an exchange platform for creative minds, which is reflected on the website: here you can see curated videos, presented like an interactive gallery. Accordingly, the service offers its users a generous framework for video uploads, which are top-quality. The basic version is free and allows 500 MB to be uploaded per week. With 'Vimeo Plus' the amount increases to 5 GB per week, and 20 GB per week with 'Vimeo Pro,' where you can also publish short films in 4K ultra-HD resolution. When it comes to uploading, there are hardly any limitations, at least not with professional accounts. Only the image data is automatically reduced if a video exceeds 60 FPS during uploading.
The Pro version allows you to add three team members to your account, customise the player, and sell content by video on demand. 90% of transaction costs are paid to the creator. There is also an extensive package with various tools, analysis programs, and a completely advertisement-free user interface. Commercial providers get up to 5 TB (terabytes) of storage space with 'Vimeo Business' with no weekly restriction. Up to ten team members can use marketing and workflow tools with this kind of account.
In addition, there are many video tutorials located in the help centre that provide support when exporting from the most popular video editing programs – including QuickTime, Windows Live Movie Maker, and iMovie. Vimeo speaks primarily to professional filmmakers, marketing managers, and artists. In turn, this means that many of this YouTube alternative’s main features have to be paid for.
Users can profit from the innovative content in the free version and make the most of numerous apps: Vimeo is also available on mobile operating systems such as Android, iOS, and Windows smartphones. In addition, the service can be used on various devices in your own living room, e.g. on Chromecast, Apple TV, Xbox 360, or Smart TVs from manufacturers such as Panasonic, Philips, and Samsung. Vimeo’s competent community is there to provide useful help and valuable feedback on uploads.
|High-quality content||Even shorter reach then Dailymotion, for example|
|Platform especially favoured by professional content creators||Important upload features must be paid for|
|Extensive (fee-based) account upgrades that offer practical tools and tutorials|
|Constructive chats possible with the community|
|Apps for numerous devices|
A YouTube alternative that is especially popular with gamers is Twitch, a live streaming portal that concentrates on video games and e-sports. Twitch.tv went online as a beta version on 6th June 2011 and had already attracted 45 million viewers per month on approximately 6 million channels. In 2014, Amazon acquired the company for $970 million (£750 million), and since 2016, Amazon Prime customers can make the most of “Twitch Prime.” This service offers free games and subscriptions, game loots, and ad-free streaming. Since 2015, the video portal has organised an annual convention called TwitchCon, which takes place in several US cities during the autumn season.
In essence, Twitch has a very similar concept to YouTube: the content is free for everyone. By registering free via e-mail or Facebook, users can access additional features, such as adding friends, the chat function, or the following of certain channels – this all adds to the strong social aspect of the service. All registered users can stream all content. For those not playing via PlayStation 4 or Xbox One, all you need is the appropriate software such as the Open Broadcaster software. In 2016, the IRL function was unveiled, which allows users to share moments from their own lives and discuss them with other users. An affinity for gaming is not necessary – user-generated content is the main component of Twitch, alongside professional streams of large e-sport events.
Additionally, professional and larger channels have the opportunity to earn money through Twitch’s partner or affiliate program. To be invited, streamers must meet certain conditions: for example, the user’s streaming activity must be regular and there must be a fixed audience. In return, as a streamer in the affiliate program, you have the option of offering different subscription packages for a fee or participating in the cheering program. Cheering allows users to buy so-called bits to support their favourite channel. The affiliate program offers a chance to embed ads, making Twitch a profitable platform for gamers with professional content and ambitions.
The main difference between Twitch and YouTube comes down to the fact that there are only live videos on Twitch as opposed to recorded videos on YouTube. In addition, the majority of content revolves around gaming and e-sports. For fans of League of Legends, World of Warcraft, Counter Strike, Overwatch, and so on, Twitch can be a real treasure trove, whereas for those not so into gaming, the platform may be very uninteresting.
|User-generated content||Content only interesting for gamers|
|Strong community aspect||Lots of features only available for payment or with Amazon Prime account|
The video platform Metacafe was founded in 2012 as an alternative to YouTube and Dailymotion, but today is it completely specialised in presenting entertaining short clips. The predominantly male user community enjoys curated original content ranging from cat videos and juggling tricks, to pranks and vehicle breakdowns. About 12 million users visit the YouTube alternative according to the website.
Users have the opportunity to create individual videos, playlists, and image galleries. All content is prepared in such a way that you can easily share, like, and comment on various social networks with just a click of the mouse.
The website is financed by advertising and offers user-generated content as well as content from professional media partners. Advertisers have the opportunity to present their brands and products in entertaining video clips. It’s mostly suited to advertisers from entertainment, food, telecommunications, home electronics, and auto mobility fields.
Metacafe tries to stand out from the other video platforms by offering unlimited uploading. Membership is free of charge. Registration can be done directly on the Metacafe website or through a Facebook account. For Android users, there is an app available via Google Play.
|Curated original content||Predominantly short clips|
Flickr boasts 122 million users in 63 different countries. The 1 million photos shared daily have built up over time to an impressive collection of over 10 billion images, making it a popular YouTube alternative. It may seem surprising that Flickr is included in this list, since it’s primarily used for sharing photos. Since the beginning of 2008, though, it’s been possible to upload videos of up to 180 seconds in length. They are known as 'long photos,' hence why they aren’t allowed to be longer than 3 minutes. Before you upload a video, you need to sign up for a free account. Then you can upload your videos just as you would a photo. Videos can also be uploaded in HD quality and many formats are accepted. Basic users can upload 2 videos a month. Free accounts come with 1 TB memory, and pro accounts offer unlimited memory, no adverts, and detailed stats on how your content is doing.
Flickr may not have many features when it comes to videos, but users do have access to a huge, active user base, with potential to be seen by many.
|High-quality content||Only 3 minute videos/1 GB uploads allowed|
|1 TB memory with free accounts, unlimited memory and no adverts with pro account||Not many features|
|Practically any video format accepted|
The overview shows that all five of the featured YouTube alternatives have found their niche: while Dailymotion is still the closest to YouTube’s principle, Vimeo distances itself from its competitors with its high-quality and artistically ambitious content. Flickr is primarily for uploading and sharing photos, but has now branched out to allow short videos. Twitch has become a streaming provider for gaming and e-sports, and Metacafe specialises in short entertaining clips. All five YouTube alternatives are good in their own way and address different target groups with different strategies. Many providers have taken the leap and are now available on mobile devices and on gadgets in people’s living rooms – corresponding applications are provided by all, even if some features aren’t as developed as others.
Free for viewers and uploads, but pricing policy for video promotion and ads
- Large video upload specifications: 60minutes/2GB
- Optional monetisation of videos
- Intuitive and clear layout
Entertainment, lifestyle, and sports industries
Free version, Plus £5/month, PRO £15/month, Business £40/month, Premium £60/month
- An exchange platform for creative minds
- A focus on artful content such as music videos, short films, and documentaries
- Generous storage options depending on the plan
- Customisable player
Creatives seeking/producing high-quality content
£4 per channel subscription
- Live streaming platform for gamers
- Owned by Amazon
- IRL function allows live streaming
- User-generated content is the main component
Free version, Pro £4.50/month, Pro+ £45/month
- Videos are limited to 3 minutes in length
- Many video formats are accepted
- Large user base
- Limited features
Photographers, videographers, and blog enthusiasts
Free for spectators and for uploaders
- Specialised in short clips
– Unlimited video upload