YouTube Competitors – Top 10 Compared

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YouTube is the undisputed king of online video, that much is obvious. The site does a great job at helping users share and consume videos, but it is not the only option out there for online video hosting and streaming. The following 10 YouTube competitors offer video hosting, streaming, and commenting services, just like YouTube, but arguably offer their users and viewers a better online video experience due to advanced features and a focus on users, rather than ad revenue. 

This list is comprised of a wide range of YouTube competitors, including video services that focus on hosting and streaming video and social media services that focus on video content.

Jump to a section: YouTube, Vimeo, Twitch, Dailymotion, Reddit, Lucid, TikTok, JWPlayer, Wistia, Instagram TV, Metacafe

First, let’s start by understanding what YouTube offers, along with its pros and cons so we can compare these 10 similar companies. 

YouTube Content Creator

YouTube

YouTube has evolved significantly since Me at the zoo became the first ever video shared on the site in April of 2005. What was one a place where a handful of people uploaded videos to share with their friends (or try and land a date), is now the second largest search engine on the internet and sees roughly 2 billion users per month. With this much traffic, there’s bound to be a wide range of YouTube competitors looking to grab video traffic.

YouTube Features 

YouTube essentially allows users to freely upload an unlimited number of videos to their website to share with anyone. There are some upload limitations, including daily upload limits, file size limits and a max video length. 

For example, unverified users may only upload videos of 15 minutes or less, while verified users may upload videos 12 hours or less. 

For the most part, these videos may be freely viewed on the YouTube website, in YouTube apps on most mobile devices, and on streaming boxes and smart TVs. The videos may also be embedded on other websites and shared via social media. 

YouTube tracks user content consumption in order to suggest new content that the user would find interesting. YouTube also uses this user data to sell ads that are placed on before, during and after videos play. 

YouTube Pros

  • • No cost for content producers and consumers
  • • No limits to uploads/views
  • • Content creators can monetize videos with ads
  • • Quality search engine helps find videos
  • • CDN
  • • Live streaming
  • • Analytics
  • • Calls to action on videos

YouTube Cons

  • • Site is driven by disruptive ads
  • • YouTube may place ads on any content, even if you do not choose to monetize. 
  • • Limited player customization, always shows YouTube branding
  • • Users may be sent away from a channel by clicking a suggested video
Vimeo Alternative to YouTube

Vimeo

Vimeo is perhaps the second best known video hosting and streaming service. Started around the same time as YouTube, it was a spin off of the CollegeHumor website to help users share funny videos. It was later purchased by IAC and developed as a competitor to YouTube. Vimeo has since focused on creating a great experience for content creators, and targeted on quality over quantity. 

Vimeo Features

Vimeo is focused on creating a high quality viewing experience. With this viewing experience comes a cost. While there is a severely limited free account tier, serious content creators will want to purchase a subscription to allow more video storage and unlock more advanced features. 

The basic plan allows up to 5GB of uploads per week, and a total of 250GB of uploads per year. Moving up subscription tiers adds more upload and storage space, as well as access to tools that aid in video creation, review and approval, adding CTAs and generating leads, and live streaming of videos. 

Vimeo has its own app, and can create video streaming service apps for paid partners. These apps work on mobile devices as well as OTT streaming boxes. 

Vimeo Pros

  • • No cost for content consumers
  • • No limits to video views
  • • No disruptive ads
  • • Player customization
  • • Monetization features
  • • Live streaming
  • • CDN
  • • Analytics
  • • Calls to action on videos

Vimeo Cons

  • • Upload and storage limits
  • • Not free
  • • Less visibility than YouTube
Twitch YouTube Competitor
via tomsguide.com

Twitch

Twitch has grown to dominate the online video streaming market, however it started out in a completely different direction. Twitch has its roots in a mildly successful online calendar called Kiko, which was sold on eBay. The proceeds funded Justin.tv, a site focusing on live streaming entire lives, similar to the TV show Big Brother. Eventually the site realized that the market for live streaming was bigger than Justin.tv, and the company pivoted and developed software to allow people to easily live stream, rebranding to Twitch in 2011.   

Twitch Features

Twitch enables content creators to easily stream to and communicate with content consumers over the web, on mobile/tablet devices, and OTT via apps for popular game systems such as the XBOX One and streaming boxes like the Amazon fire TV. 

In addition to streaming live content, Twitch has chatrooms where creators and consumers can interact, subscriptions, monetization, and allows third party extensions to increase features. These features are unlocked as you stream more often to more followers. 

Twitch Pros

  • • No limits to video views
  • • Player customization
  • • Monetization features (ads, subscriptions, sponsorships)
  • • Live streaming
  • • Analytics
  • • CDN

Twitch Cons

  • • In-stream ads (for unpaid creators)
  • • Only for live streaming
Dailymotion Video Streaming

Dailymotion

Yet another video service that’s been at it from the beginning, Dailymotion was founded in Paris in 2005. It was started by two web developers that were frustrated with the options available for sharing videos with friends and family. The site grew as it penned deals with larger content creation networks and now boasts over 300 million users per month. Dailymotion is one of YouTube’s top competitors. 

Dailymotion Features

Dailymotion relies heavily on providing must-see video content to users, personalizing suggested videos on a per-user basis and helping users discover new content with their Explorer and Topics tools. The site focuses on four categories; news, sports, music, and entertainment.

Dailymotion Pros

  • • No limits to video storage or views
  • • Player customization
  • • Monetization features 
  • • Live streaming
  • • Analytics
  • • API Access
  • • CDN

Dailymotion Cons

  • • Less strict on copyright laws
  • • 2GB, 60 minute video file limit 
Reddit video hosting and streaming
image via thestar.com

Reddit

You may not think of Reddit when you think of video streaming providers, but in 2018 the company advanced from relying solely on third party external video embeds to share videos on their site to hosting and sharing videos as part of the social media site’s own native featureset

Users may now upload videos directly from their mobile or desktop device and immediately share them with other Reddit users. 

Reddit Features

Reddit’s video hosting and sharing service is perfect for content creators that do not plan on earning income from their videos. Think of a person who caught something funny/amazing on camera, rather than a esports streamer that earns a living making videos. 

This site does not offer any video content management system, like most other providers on this list. It also limits files to 1GB in size or 15 min in length. There is no cost to share or consume videos on Reddit, though the site is supported by ads. 

Reddit Pros

  • • Easy sharing of video content to a large amount of consumers
  • • CDN

Reddit Cons

  • • Ad revenue is not shared with content creators, no monetization
  • • No analytics
  • • No player customization
  • • Limited video length and size

Lucid

A new player in the video hosting and streaming market, Lucid uses its advanced artificial intelligence capabilities to make videos smart. In addition to hosting and streaming videos to desktop, mobile and via custom integrations, Lucid’s AI-enhanced capabilities range from automated preview creation to intelligent content recommendations and automated content tagging. 

Lucid Features

Lucid’s video player is fast, responsive and lightweight. It embeds easily on any website, and allows for full customization. Where Lucid really stands out is intelligent content recommendations. Lucid uses artificial intelligence to learn from users’ activity, providing highly relevant next video recommendations. 

These content recommendations are made possible by Lucid’s automated content tagging system. The system can recognize and tag people, emotions, objects, brands, events, scenes, and more. 

Artificial intelligence also drives Lucid’s automated preview creation tool, allowing content creators to make multiple short previews of their videos automatically, helping them share their content via email, social media or in next-video recommendations.  

Lucid Pros

  • • No limits to video views or length
  • • Player customization
  • • Intelligent Content Recommendations
  • • Automated Preview Creation
  • • Automated Content Tagging 
  • • Analytics
  • • CDN

Lucid Cons

  • • Not a social network, relies on content creator to bring users
  • • No built-in monetization
  • • Videos are not unlimited
image via BBC.com

TikTok

TikTok is similar to Reddit, listed above, in that the company is focused more on social media, with video being the medium their social media utilizes. That said, TikTok offers substantially more to the content creator than Reddit. TikTok started life as Musical.ly, a website focused on helping people share shirt lip syncing videos. It was later bought by ByteDance and merged with their similar lip sync video service, and rebranded as TikTok. 

TikTok Features

TikTok offers content consumers a never ending feed of free, highly curated video centric content. TikTok’s advanced algorithms find content relevant to individual users and embed it on their For You Page. There is no cost for content creators, but there are also limited monetization opportunities. The site only allows tips during live streaming, and these tips are only redeemable for gifts, not cash. 

Content creators can easily capture or import video into the mobile app. They are then given a range of editing tools to help make their videos stand out, including stickers, filters, voice effects, sound effects, and text layers. Users can add music from a huge library of popular tracks. 

Videos created in the TikTok app are limited to 60 seconds in length, though upload videos do not have this limit. (There is talk of this limit expanding to 3 minutes). 

TikTok Pros

  • • Free access to popular music for videos
  • • Free to create and consume content
  • • Easy to create and share videos
  • • Analytics
  • • CDN

TikTok Cons

  • • User tracking
  • • Little monetization possible
  • • Limited video length
  • • Ad revenue is not shared with content creators
image via JWplayer.com

JWPlayer

Add JWPlayer to the list of original streaming video providers. Fun fact: before their purchase by Google, YouTube used JWPlayer to stream their videos. The company has offered an open source streaming video player since their inception. They recently changed to a Creative Commons license over time for non-commercial use, and a paid license for commercial use. JWPlayer has since added video hosting services, making it fit this YouTube alternatives list. 

JWPlayer Features

JWPlayer offers a wide range of features including, a fast streaming video player, streaming video hosting, monetization features, live streaming and more. JWPlayer is also one of the few services that offers content recommendations. 

JWPlayer Pros

  • • Content recommendations
  • • Player customization
  • • Monetization features 
  • • Live streaming
  • • Analytics
  • • CDN
  • • API Access
  • • Private Video

JWPlayer Cons 

  • • Limited streaming data
  • • Limited file storage
Wistia video player
image via Wistia.com

Wistia

Wistia was founded in 2006 as a tool to create, distribue, and measure video content. Wistia strives to provide a quality experience for their clients. Wistia prides itself on being independently owned. The company makes marketing software, video series and education content about video. 

Wistia Features

Wistia offers video hosting and streaming to its customer base. Videos may be embedded on any website via a fully customizable player. These videos may be enhanced with CTAs, email collection forms, links and more. 

Wistia Pros

  • • Hand-selected content recommendations
  • • Player customization
  • • Live streaming
  • • Subscription/channel tools
  • • Analytics
  • • CDN
  • • Private Video

Wistia Cons 

  • • Pay per video uploaded
  • • No monetization
  • • Not a social network, relies on content creator to bring users
Instagram TV YouTube Competitor

Instagram TV

Instagram TV, also known as IGTV, is a video sharing platform that is integrated into Instagram or shown in a standalone app. Creators can make short videos of 15 seconds to 10 minutes in length, with larger accounts being given a 60-minute time limit to videos. These videos are designed for mobile consumption in a portrait, or vertical format, though horizontal video is now allowed. IGTV was launched in 2018 and is less of a YouTube competitor and more of a social network focused on videos. 

Instagram TV Features

Instagram TV is a video social network brought to you by the photo social network. Boating over 1 billion users, IGTV integrates with users’ Instagram accounts, allowing users to to see videos from accounts they follow. Designed as a mobile experience first, the app shows videos from people you follow as well as popular videos. It gives users the ability to see their watch history, save videos, and comment on videos.  

IGTV Pros

  • • Large user base to consume videos
  • • Monetization available to popular accounts
  • • Follow/subscribe feature
  • • Allows embed on 3rd party websites
  • • Unlimited videos, unlimited views
  • • CDN
  • • Sharing feature

IGTV Cons

  • • Smaller accounts have a shorter video time limit
  • • User tracking
Metacafe video sharing website

Metacafe

Metacafe is another youtube similar company that focuses on allowing user generated content to be shared and consumed on the web. In other words, Metacafe is a great place to go to find short, entertaining videos to watch. Videos are uploaded by users as well as large media companies. The site was founded in 2003 in Tel Aviv, Israel, and boasts 17 million user visits per day. It has since moved headquarters to Palo Alto, California. 

Metacafe Features

Metacafe uses a system to rank videos by level of enjoyment, helping populate user feeds with videos that are sure to be a hit. The site uses social features such as video discussions, subscribe-able channels, and easy sharing via other social media or iFrame embeds. The site contains a significant amount of advertising, and does not share any ad income with content creators. At one point there was a monetization system in place, but it has since been discontinued

Metacafe Pros

  • • Large user base to consume videos
  • • Follow/subscribe/channel features
  • • Allows embed on 3rd party websites
  • • Unlimited videos, unlimited views
  • • CDN
  • • Sharing features

Metacafe Cons

  • • No monetization
  • • Lots of distracting ads
  • • 10 minute max video length

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