7 Best OTT Platforms of 2021 (Ranked and Reviewed)
The way we consume video is undergoing a massive disruption.
The technology behind these digital media services is Over-the-top (OTT) platforms.
Popular services that use OTT technology include Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, Hulu, Apple TV+, Disney Plus, HBO Now, Peacock, iTunes, etc. Viewers only need a streaming media device like Smart TVs, a Roku or gaming console to view their content.
And today, any content creator can use an OTT platform to provide this same viewing experience to their audience – and monetize it.
For example, if you’re a fitness instructor and decide to launch a website, you can use OTT to offer on-demand fitness classes for a monthly subscription fee.
The options for video creators are endless.
In this guide, I ranked and reviewed the best OTT platforms to monetize your video content based on features, website capabilities, pricing, support, marketing, and more.
First, let’s dive a little deeper into OTT platforms.
An over-the-top (OTT) platform is a service that enables you to deliver video and live stream feeds to any internet-enabled device. This allows you to deliver and monetize video content directly to viewers without any third-party platform.
Essentially, these platforms are popular for VoD (video on demand) and live streaming services. However, they also provide other services like messaging services, audio streaming, VoIP, and more.
And not just streaming the videos over the internet – an OTT platform also enables you to:
- Manage videos
- Record live streams in HD
- Distribute content through global CDNs
- Monetize your videos in different ways
- Offer video subscription packages
- Leverage user analytics
- Customize your online player
Here are my top picks for the best OTT platforms for video monetization.
Best Overall OTT Platform for Video Monetization ($99 per month).
Uscreen is the leading OTT platform that launches and manages video streaming apps for both TV and smartphones. With an average launch time of 30-60 days, it’s one of the fastest OTT platforms. From publishing your OTT apps to automated updates, Uscreen.tv takes care of the heavy lifting.
Monetization of Video on Demand (VoD) and global live streaming services also make it an excellent option. The turnkey video monetization platform offers multiple pricing models, including fixed price, subscription, rentals/PPV, bundles, freemium, and free trials.
What’s more, its fast encoding provides 4K UHD video experience across platforms. The branding freedom to personalize your app and align it with your brand is another great feature.
That’s not all. It also offers powerful security features, including SSL, secured payment data, 24/7 monitoring, and complete data ownership.
To summarize, here are some of its most sought after features:
- Built-in analytics to track user behavior
- Centralized CRM
- In-app notifications and purchases
- Offline viewing
- Average release time 30-60 days
- It lets you keep 100% of your revenue
- Reduce Churn Tool – It decreases your churn rate by up to 35 percent while increasing customer loyalty.
- HTML5 Online Video Player – It’s a fully white-labeled HTML5 player that offers buffer-free online video streaming with cross-device Full HD quality.
- Customizable VoD Templates – Offers tailor-made customizable VoD templates and themes to create a stunning online presence and monetize your videos. You can also add a logo and adjust colors to meet your branding needs.
- The ‘Try Again for Free’ feature helps you win back customers who canceled the subscription.
- Its HTML5 player also supports screen readers and VTT captions.
- It comes powered with two leading global CDNs (Content Delivery Network).
- It supports Apple Airplay and Chromecast.
- Built-in sales and checkout pages provide seamless customer experience.
- You get free web hosting with SSL at no extra cost.
Uscreen offers three pricing plans:
- Basic: $99 per month, billed annually
- Pro: $249 per month, billed annually
- Custom: Call for a quote
All the plans include some standard features like global CDN, geo-blocking restrictions, 99.9% uptime, unlimited encoding, and more. You also get a 14-day free trial.
Get started with Uscreen.
An end-to-end SaaS OTT and VoD hosting solution ($39 per month).
Dacast offers both OTT VoD and live streaming solutions across numerous platforms and mobile devices. It provides a wide range of options for access to the Chinese market, which increases your content footprint.
You can also build professional workflows with live stream recording, video transcoding, and an all-device video player.
The Akamai CDN ensures high-quality video streaming. This white-label OTT platform also customizes your service with your branding.
Some of its top features include:
- All-in-one streaming solutions
- 24/7 customer support
- High-quality live streaming with top CDNs
- All-device HTML5 player
- Easy integration of VoDs with APIs
- Smooth monetization
What’s more, its APIs and SDKs let you develop your own mobile app or OTT platform. DaCast also offers you complete control over your content and reliable security.
- China Video Hosting – DaCast has tie-ups with China-based CDN services to provide you access to over 1.4 billion potential viewers. It offers multiple points of presence (PoPs) across Mainland China.
- Video Hosting Manager – It allows you to upload, organize, monetize, transcode, analyze, and share your videos. You can also use its APIs to create custom automated workflows.
- Broadcast Live Sports – Monetize your live sports coverage with subscriptions, ads, or pay-per-view methods. You can also embed your live video stream on a website and record it to offer it as a VoD.
- Buffer-free video streaming adapts the quality of the video based on your internet speed.
- Video transcoding creates different renditions of the same video.
- 24/7 network monitoring provides you with enhanced security.
- Host live classes remotely and enable viewers to pay in real-time.
- Pre-schedule your videos to ensure 24/7 broadcast.
- Use FTP to upload large videos or multiple videos in a batch.
Dacast offers four pricing plans:
- Starter: $39 per month, billed annually.
- Event: $63 per month, billed annually.
- Scale: $188 per month, billed annually.
- Custom: Quote-based high volume plan.
All plans come with features like unlimited live events, ad-free HD streaming, custom branding, and more.
3. IBM Watson Media.
For enterprises looking for a scalable OTT solution with no budget constraint ($99 per month).
IBM manages, measures, and monetizes your videos and streams them across a multitude of platforms. It offers multiple cloud streaming and video services, including storage and GPU computing.
You also get video hosting, live streaming, transcoding, automated speech to text, and powerful analytics.
The machine learning capabilities help you increase engagement with the viewers. It also monitors real-time measurements to track the performance of videos and make data-driven decisions. Cloud-based Watson Media also offers multiple CDNs to deliver your video content globally on any device.
Here are some of its highlights:
- Ad-based (AVOD) and subscription-based (SVOD)
- Both live and on-demand VoD streaming
- Automated video publishing and closed captioning
- Multi-DRM and language support
- And more
- Live Chat and Q&A – These features enable you to engage with the audience in real-time during a live stream. It offers built-in moderation, user management, and user upvoting.
- Customization & Branding – Integrated branding options let you customize the channel according to your video requirement. You can also showcase already live-streamed videos and upcoming events.
- Copyright – IBM takes care of any plagiarism or copyright issue automatically. Its copyright enforcement service detects plagiarised content instantly and terminates the broadcast for copyright content.
- Schedule videos to play at specific times. You can also trigger automatic looped playback of live video streaming.
- The mobile compatible player renders HD video on screens on any size.
- Simplified metadata compilation and ingestion of videos.
- Record your live streaming video privately. You can also share the video publicly later.
- No capping on resolution or bitrate.
- Monetize your videos through ads or third-party services.
IBM Watson Media provides three pricing plans:
- Silver: $99 per month
- Gold: $499 per month
- Platinum: $999 per month
You also get a 30-day free trial with a complete feature set.
Live-streaming for business-critical applications ($125 per month).
Wowza’s full-service OTT platform delivers reliable and scalable solutions for any industry. It comes equipped with its own CDNs for reliable delivery of content across the globe. It offers fine-grained control over the video format, delivery options, and video quality.
You also get access to patented Wowza software tailor-made for flawless live streaming performance. The Extensible Modular Architecture even lets you scale your videos’ live streaming performance instantly.
Wowza provides industry-leading streaming technology, such as:
- Cloud Streaming Service – For live-event streaming with minimal setup and integration with numerous custom applications.
- Streaming Server Software – For powerful, customizable features.
- Live Encoding Solution – It lets you manage and monitor your video production remotely.
- Live Streaming Expertise – It provides extensive support with everything, from onboarding to app development.
What’s more, Woeza’s powerful APIs and SDKs help you build a highly customized video streaming infrastructure. Its on-premise streaming servers help you live stream in a secure environment.
- VR & 360° Streaming – Wowza enables you to stream 360-degree videos in 4K quality globally for gaming and other purposes.
- Browser-Based Live Streaming – Its WebRTC delivers real-time communications directly from the browser. You can also enhance it through Wowza’s streaming engine.
- Mobile App – Wowza’s mobile app helps you start live streaming instantly. It enables you to capture, encode, and stream live videos via 3G, 4G, and Wi-Fi networks.
- Embed IP camera streams in mobile apps and web apps to stream online videos without any encoder.
- It offers live support during live streaming events to sail through any technical glitch effortlessly.
- Its adaptive bit-rate streaming ensures smooth video streaming on all devices with any internet speed.
- Easily ingest streams to any encoder and deliver it globally on any player.
- It offers multi-level security with token authentication, encryption of incoming and outcoming streams, and digital rights management (DRM).
- Multiple cloud service providers enable high-quality delivery via a reliable infrastructure.
Wowza offers two pricing plans:
- Software (Downloadable Media Server Software): $125 per instance per month
- Services (For managed live-streaming service): $149 for one month of streaming
You can also contact the sales team for customized pricing plans.
Suitable for a flexible and collaborative OTT experience for corporate purposes (Request-based pricing structure).
Kaltura offers live and video-on-demand SaaS solutions to promote collaboration, training, communication, marketing, and sales. It offers a host of video communication tools, including meetings, virtual classrooms, webinars, town halls, podcasts, and pitch video messaging.
With Kaltura, you can also hold virtual meetings with any number of participants. Its advanced analytics tools for VoD and live streaming help you gauge your videos’ performance in real-time.
On top of that, it comes with a cloud TV platform to meet all your video-streaming demands.
For that, its cloud TV platform provides services like:
- It offers a highly personalized live and on-demand TV experience to your viewers.
- It promises a 99.995% uptime.
- Fully modular and provides integration with several third-party services.
- And more.
Kaltura also offers an open API-based architecture to integrate reliably with any system, including Zoom, Teams, Webex, data systems, marketing automation, and more.
- Interactive Video – Its interactive tools enable you to create, share, and embed personalized videos to boost learning, engagement, and conversion.
- Create Podcasts – Easily create, edit, or upload podcast episodes and channel playlists in your Kaltura video portal. Its mobile app also provides powerful content creation tools to create and upload a podcast directly.
- Kaltura Pitch – Grab attention easily with ‘Kaltura Pitch’ videos. Send video and track all the viewer activity, such as when they open the video, how they interacted with the video and more. You can use it for a sales pitch, internal communication, or executive messaging.
- Capture videos with a user-centric interface and intuitive experience.
- Capture multi-stream recordings synchronized with PowerPoint presentations and screen capture.
- Easily add transcriptions, captions, and translations to your video to increase engagement and discoverability.
- The ‘Townhall feature’ creates engaging webcasts powered with interactive elements.
- It offers live quizzes, breakout rooms, polls, collaborative whiteboards, and notetaking, to keep the engagement alive.
- Track video responses and interactions to boost sales.
Its paid business and enterprise plan details are available on a request basis. It also provides a 30-days free trial.
6. JW Player Live.
Launch new apps on mobile and connected TV effectively (quote-based pricing).
JW Player helps you reach your audience anywhere and launch new apps on mobile and TV. Its OTT apps provide scalable solutions to launch and monetize videos. It also offers powerful ad support to maximize your CPMs (cost per mile) across screens and platforms.
What’s more, its recommendation engine delivers the most relevant and engaging content to your viewers in real-time. The HTML5 player uses HLS and DASH adaptive streaming for faster delivery of videos and ads.
You can also deliver a fully branded customer experience by configuring your video player using CSS customization and APIs. Moreover, it lets you control your branding by adjusting the color, thumbnails, speed, and more.
- Mobile SDKs – It adds JW Player functionality to native iOS and Android mobile apps to deliver consistent video playback across multiple devices.
- OTT Apps – It offers turnkey and custom solutions to launch a scalable OTT app within a few weeks.
- Article Matching – Its Article Matching feature automatically inserts the most relevant video from your video content library into any post. It claims that it would boost your video plays by up to 19 percent.
- It works efficiently with any video ad network, server, or exchange. It also offers built-in support for SpotX, Google IMA, Google DFP, AdX, and FreeWheel.
- It supports parameter passback and Google Ad Manager support to help you run ads easily.
- Apart from native analytics tools, it also offers integration with Google Analytics, Nielsen, Adobe, Comscore, Conviva, and more.
- It helps you go live within 30 seconds. You can also broadcast replays in under 1 minute.
- Its multiple latency settings help you reach the audience on any platform and device.
JW Player Live offers three pricing plans:
- Free: It offers free access to developers for full APIs and SDKs
- Starter: $10 per month
- Enterprise: Custom pricing
JW Player offers customized pricing plans for enterprises based on their requirements.
7. Vimeo OTT.
Full-scale subscription service for your video content ($1 per subscriber).
Vimeo Livestream is a popular choice for launching your video subscription service. Its internal video gallery works as a centralized dashboard. Hence, you can manage, control, access, publish, and archive your all video at a single place.
The good thing is you don’t have to hire any support team to handle the tech. Vimeo does all the heavy lifting for you.
Here’s a list of all the features you get with any the Vimeo subscription plan:
- Free migration, no downtime
- In-app purchase
- Live streaming with auto-archive
- Real-time insights
- 24/7 customer support for your subscribers
It also offers practical customization tools for your branding requirements. With Vimeo, you can also live-stream your videos at 1080p flawlessly. What’s more, keep all your live and on-demand videos in a centralized location and showcase them with the required customization.
- Monetization – It supports the pay-per-view and subscription sales model to help you monetize your videos.
- Video API – Use Vimeo’s video API to customize your video content management system. You can also create a third-party video streaming application with its custom API.
- Content Delivery – Its internal server network enables global content delivery and adaptive bitrate streaming.
- It comes with live polls, audience chat, Q&A, and graphical overlays to produce professional live streaming events.
- To gauge the performance of your videos, it offers shareable user-level analytics, location analytics, and engagement graphs.
- Implement digital rights management (DRM) to protect your videos from piracy.
- You can provide access to over ten users to manage your video content on Vimeo.
- It provides bandwidth and storage at highly competitive prices.
- Easily embed background videos on the website.
Vimeo offers three pricing plans:
- Starter (For all the basic to start your web-based channel): $1 per subscriber
- Growth (Suitable for a growing OTT business): $500 per month billed annually
- Enterprise (Advanced features to help you scale your OTT business): Quote-based plan
You can try any of the plans free for 30 days. Or you can join Vimeo Basic that lets you upload HD videos without paying a single dime.
With the burst of high-speed internet and access to cheaper mobile devices, the global OTT revenue is likely to surpass $150 billion by 2024. That’s a massive opportunity.
However, there are countless OTT platforms to choose from. Here are a few basic features that you must look at in an OTT platform for reliable video streaming to cut the clutter.
- HTML5 Video – To enable high-quality and buffer-free video streaming, you need a reliable and tightly coded HTML5 player. It should also come with adaptive bitrate streaming to render video smoothly on all devices with any internet bandwidth.
- High Customization – To meet your branding needs, make sure that your OTT platform offers ample customization for its video player and library. For instance, you should be able to tweak the colors and embed your own logo.
- Live Streaming Tools – Look for tools like real-time comments, Q&A, payment, and polls. These tools will help you produce a more engaging and professional live streaming event.
- Custom SDKs and APIs – The SDKs and APIs help you create a highly customized video streaming platform. It will also help you in delivering consistent playback of video across multiple applications.
- In-depth Reporting – Make sure that your OTT platform offers a powerful analytics tool to gauge your videos’ performance and customer engagement in real-time.
That’s my list of the best OTT platforms to try this year for your video streaming services.
All platforms offer a few unique features and some basic capabilities. But all of them are suitable for streaming VoDs and live events. Review your requirements carefully and decide on an appropriate budget. It will help you make a more objective decision.
For instance, Vimeo OTT is an excellent option if you need an OTT platform for live streaming.
Make sure to review all features carefully before making your final decision.
Which OTT platform are you planning to use? Let me know in the comments below.