Streaming Platforms:

A Complete Guide To Leading the Industry

The way we see it, the world’s obsession with watching content on streaming platforms is a direct reflection of an even bigger realization: We’re all content creators inside. 

For many of us, that actually is totally accurate. You’re probably on this page because it’s true — whether you’re in brand marketing, creative content creation, or you’re just out there trying to get the best ideas out to the masses. And we get that because we’re content creators too. (You’re reading this content after all!) 

But while there is an ever-increasing need for content streaming, meaning there’s also an ever-increasing competition for eyeballs. So how do you break through the noise and make your mark as a personal brand or an organization? You have to optimize the video streaming platforms you employ so you can be seen as a thought leader, attract viewers (or qualified prospects), and win over your market. To start, you have to understand what your options are, what’s great about them, and what they mean for the future of your content. 

So let’s get started.

What are streaming platforms?

So what is a streaming service, anyways? You’re probably familiar with what a streaming platform is — or if you don’t know the actual details, you’ve still most likely come in contact with one. 

By definition, a streaming platform is an on-demand online entertainment source for TV shows, movies and other streaming media. For example, think of things like Hulu, Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, Vimeo, and Sundance Now. And while these may not be in the same league as, say, a YouTube, by this explanation, websites like TikTok, Facebook, Instagram, Twitch, and Vimeo are also examples of streaming platforms. 

At this point, you’re probably thinking, so what? That’s fair because how do these streaming platforms really help you as a content creator versus viewers?

Here’s the truth: Video streaming platforms are the bread to your butter and the white to your rice if you’re in the business of telling stories, building brands, and engaging audiences. Why? Because in the Age of Technology, people are increasingly giving up on television and turning to online streaming sources. In fact, U.S. viewers aged 18-43 spend more time streaming TV than they do watching traditional cable, broadcast or satellite.

That’s huge, and part of the reason for that is the rise of over the top (or OTT) and everything it stands for. Now that everyone is going online for their content, it’s definitely where you should be going to. But where is the best place? That’s a great question, so let’s talk about your options.

Video Transcript

Today, we’re going to talk about video streaming. Here’s the problem, video files are huge. So, to keep you from spending forever downloading, just so you can watch a short clip, streaming chops that massive video file into pieces and sends them to your device one at a time. Sounds simple and it is, but smart people can get confused by concepts like codecs, formats, and transports. Like if Mr. Bit said he was going to stream an FLV file in the H.264 codec using RTMP, you might find that a bit, shall we say, opaque.

Streaming is confusing because it is time-based and multi-process. Unlike basic computing where you create a file in a single format like .doc with streaming, you have a core video format, a container used for moving the data, as well as the time-based dimension of moving the data itself in a continuous stream. Video streaming contains three layers of data management. One, the encoded bits like H.264 for video. Two, the container that holds the encoded bits together, such as FLV or MP4. And, finally, the transport that is used to move the stream from the media server to the player, such as RTMP.

Here’s a fun way to look at streaming. Imagine that you like assembling giant jigsaw puzzles, like with 50 billion pieces. The puzzle is so huge that it has to be shipped to you on a freight train. Every box car contains a billion puzzle pieces. The train pulls up. You start unloading the box cars in order to assemble the puzzle. In this allegory, the box cars are pieces of the FLV file. FLV is a container for encoded video data. The puzzle pieces are the H.264 encoded representation of the video. The train tracks are the network transport such as RTMP. A special file called an M3U8 tells the player the order in which to play the stream. It’s like a cargo manifest telling you which car to unload first.

As with so many other processes that occur in computing, all of this happens so quickly that you hardly realize it’s going on. Mr. Bits hopes that this explanation of streaming will help you understand better what’s going on when you watch a video on your PC, or mobile device.

What are the best streaming platforms? Here’s what you need to know about video players.

When it comes to the best streaming services, there are a few that reign supreme: TikTok, YouTube, Facebook, Instagram, and Twitch. Here are some stats to show you just how prominent these video platforms are.

Without a doubt, YouTube, Twitch, TikTok, Facebook, and Instagram are some of the best streaming services — they have massive amounts of daily users, quality metrics and analytics, and platforms to grow your audience. If you’re a content creator or an influencer with a massive following, you’re probably already on one of these streaming platforms. And that’s a great thing because that’s where audiences are. 

However, your strategy would be incomplete if you were only using one of these streaming platforms to reach your audience, and you even might be overwhelmed if you’re using all four to reach your audience. 

Another thing to consider? The revenue payout schedule. When it comes to YouTube, the company has a very strict payout segment for creators to make money with views. In the end, it can often feel like the person who’s really getting paid for your content is the platform you host it on. Facebook (who also owns Instagram) can feel the same way — the payout structure just isn’t as fair as it should be. And as a creator, that can be a challenge, because growth in numbers often comes down to content, and without the revenue to grow your ideas, things can plateau.

Video Transcript

If you are creating content that is unique and interesting, it doesn’t matter where you are, people will find you.

Hi, I’m Devin Nash. Today we’re going to talk about, where should I stream? No, all right. Look, I get this question so much that occasionally so many people ask me a question that I have to make a YouTube video just so I can link it and I don’t have to keep repeating myself so that I can save the oxygen that I have left in this mortal coil. One of the questions that I get asked all the time is, what platform should I stream on? What platform should I stream on? Should it be YouTube or Mixer or Facebook or Google or what, or Twitch? Today we’re going to talk about what platform you should stream on, and we’re going to do it in a sort of unorthodox way. It’s going to be something that the answer is not going to be what you expect. Whoa, it’s a twist so you have to watch the whole thing to learn what it is and give me watch time and more CPM, which if you want to support this, you should watch it as long as possible.

Where or what platform should I stream upon, the choices being Twitch, Mixer, YouTube, Facebook? These are really the choices. There are other channels, but these are really the choices. Don’t stream anywhere else besides these places, because it’s not a thing. The first question that you have to ask on what platform should I stream upon, and this is not a gotcha because I’m going to answer the actual question, but the question is, should you stream at all? That’s the first thing you should ask yourself, should you stream at all, because understanding that broadcasting is going to be a thing that is astronomically difficult to succeed at. Should you stream at all is a really good question, rather, should you make YouTube videos? Should you do articles? Could you do something with more discoverability? Why are you broadcasting?

If you are going to start broadcasting with the goal of being a full-time creator, then you should seriously rethink that, because the number of you that are actually going to succeed at becoming a full-time creator is very small, but you can do it if you set your mind to it. There are a lot of people that are making careers off of it, and there are lots of people doing it on these platforms. I don’t want to totally discourage people, but I just want you to be aware of the odds. The numbers are very bad.

Should you stream at all? Let’s assume that you’ve got that question answered and you said, “Yes, Devin. I want to.” Smile. Okay, then my first question is, why not all of them? You can use a service like Restream.io, which is a really neat website where you can go and you can multistream to multiple different platforms. If you are not locked into exclusivity with Twitch, i.e, you don’t have a partner contractor or an affiliate contract that locks you into exclusivity, you can multistream to multiple different platforms, and this is what everyone should do when they start out. They should stream at the same time to at least two or three of these different platforms.

[ View the full transcript here ]

What you need to know about OTT networks

But the good news is, video streaming platforms aren’t the only ways people are viewing content these days. Just think about all of the places where you watch content: Hulu, Netflix, Disney+, Amazon Prime Video, Peacock, Paramount+, and more. These content gurus are all doing their content over-the-top, or OTT, and it’s another great opportunity for more established content creators and brands to catch their audience where they are

But the best part of these platforms? Definitely the prestige. There’s a lot of audience viewership everywhere, but for many, the big draw to creating mind-bogglingly creative and captivating content is to one day get your big break and make it on these mainstream channels. 

Why? Because OTT platforms like Hulu and Netflix produce and license the best content to deliver a second-to-none customer experience through apps, user profiles, recommendations, easy-to-use guides, multi-platform access, and more. These OTT networks aren’t just beloved for their content (although they should be!), it’s also that these brands are delivering a curated experience to the customer. 

According to a recent study, 86% of customers are willing to pay more for a great customer experience. And to be truthful, we see that every day. YouTube has lots of free content, but Disney+ can still sell their subscription, and it’s not rocket science. It’s because it’s not just about watching something, it’s about what is being watched, how it’s being watched, and whether it’s fitting the needs of the ultimate consumer and delivering the ultimate curated experience.

What you need to know about the companies that do both

So we learned about video streaming platforms and we learned about OTT networks, so here’s what you need to know about the guys like AppleTV, Roku, and Amazon who make both possible. 

When it comes to brands combining the strategy of video streaming platforms and OTT networks, it’s really a best of both worlds situation for content creators. These multi-channel networks, or MCNs, are a lot like the CBS and ABC of the digital realm, offering up a collection of different content from different sources on one big platform. Think of them like a library, hosting and sharing content from many different sources. 

But more than just hosting and sharing, MCNs also do something huge: They help promote. And not just promoting, but:

Funding
Cross Promotion
Digital Rights Management
Monetization
Audience Development, and more

For content creators, this can be a HUGE bonus for your ideas, your videos themselves, and your brand as a whole, because getting help with the growth aspect is one of the hardest things to do on your own. By leveraging the audience of a multi-channel network, you can get the exposure and resources you need to move forward with your agenda.

The Top 5 Streaming Platforms You Should Know in 2022

1. Netflix

There’s a reason Netflix is the go-to example when people think of the best streaming services. Netflix has been a fan favorite for years. Its best qualities are its functionality (Netflix boasts a very user-friendly interface), affordability, the fact that it’s ad-free, and the ability to download content and watch it offline. If you want to study the gold standard of launching a streaming platform, take notes from Netflix.

2. Disney+

Hot on the heels of Netflix is Disney’s family of streaming platforms: Disney+, ESPN+ and  Hulu. Disney+ added 7.9 million users to its platform in Q1 of 2022 alone, whereas Netflix had lost 200,000 subscribers compared to its previous quarter. An advantage for Disney is that it offers a bundle of its popular services Disney+, Hulu, and ESPN+. But the bundles don’t stop there. They just announced a unique bundle that includes a six month promotion with Uber Eats. Obviously, this isn’t an option for every streaming platform, but possible partnerships are definitely something to think about as you scale your business.

3. YouTube

Old reliable. YouTube has been there for us since 2005. The reason it’s remained so relevant is because of the flexibility it gives content creators (and it’s free!). Scheduling, uploading, and community management are pretty much entirely in the hands of the creators. If you want to build a streaming platform with the intention of attracting a variety of creators, this type of flexibility is certainly enticing, but YouTube alone is often not sufficient to build an OTT business. 

4. Twitch

Twitch continues to be a top platform for live events–especially live sports and esports. Best known as a platform for people to watch their favorite online gamers play video games, but it’s also useful for performers, musicians, organizations, vloggers, and, more recently, live action sports. A recent live boxing event achieved a peak of more than 3.3 million concurrent viewers, a new record for the platform. Twitch has positioned itself as a live event hub for creators by utilizing live comment sections and donations. In addition to YouTube, Twitch offers a great model if you’re looking to build a broad creator community.

5. Roku

Head to the electronics section next time you’re shopping and you’ll notice that Roku is literally built into many TVs these days. Rather than trying to directly compete with the likes of Netflix and Hulu, Roku actually embraces the biggest streaming platforms by allowing users to download their respective apps within their own platform. This has propelled Roku to success. In addition to acting as a middle-man for other streaming platforms, Roku also provides some live TV channels and content through the Roku Channel. Because money is earned from ads and partnerships, Roku itself is free to use—that’s never a bad selling point.

Here’s how these streaming platforms are affecting you

What is a streaming service going to do for you, as a creator?

Here at Endavo, we use the term creator inclusively, meaning a lot of people can wear it as a hat, but it’s not necessarily the ONLY title they have in their job description. When we talk about content creators, we mean people like the Duffer Brothers, companies and organizations like Coca-Cola and Red Bull, or even marketers for sports teams, cities, and more. Anyone or any organization can be a content creator. In fact, most are creators in some form!

Why do we take this approach? Because everyone out there has a story to tell, and content really is king. So if we’re all doing it, we should all consider how it’s affecting us as though we were content creators not in theory, but in practice. 

So whether you’re a .org, a Fortune 500, a university, a small business, an artist, or a kid hanging out with a camcorder in your living room trying to capture your next big idea, here’s how streaming platforms are your best shot at getting the audience you deserve and generating real income with your content.

Manage

You can organize your content in a central place to make it easy to search, easy to find, and targeted at your ideal audience.

Distribute

You get opportunities to take your content to new heights by getting picked up by other platforms, other creators, other networks, or even stream live.

Monetize

You can earn revenue to support yourself and grow your channel with a video monetization platform.

Your big takeaway? You need an option that does it all. 

Mastering video streaming platforms, whether you’re a business or a single creator, comes down to three things:

KEY TAKEAWAY 1: Find out who and where your audience is, and then outline where you want to be in five years. If you don’t plan on staying on one platform forever, consider an OTT distributor that gives you flexibility to scale and maneuver.

KEY TAKEAWAY 2: Make sure your hosting platform helps you manage your content AND streamline your distribution. You shouldn’t be spending time uploaded to 15 different platforms unless you just like doing that. If you want to be efficient, work with a video distribution platform that allows you to distribute across platforms from one dashboard.

KEY TAKEAWAY 3: Making money matters, so work with a platform that allows you the flexibility to create an OTT video. monetization strategy that aligns with your goals, the content you’re producing, and your audience.

Have more questions about streaming platforms? Check out our FAQ section below, or get in touch via our contact page.

OTT Networks: A Side-by-Side Comparison

So you’re ready to take your content over the top! How will you decide which platform or network is best for you? It’s important to know the differences between Netflix vs. Hulu and Prime Video vs. YouTube. We’ve put together a comparison sheet to illustrate the key differences between some of the top OTT streaming platforms below.

Want to Compare Features Across the Most Popular Streaming Platforms?

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Video Transcript

You spend countless hours creating masterpieces like this. In order to make people feel like this.

Everybody’s talking about it!

You want to get your stuff out there and get it seen and heard. But let’s face it, the traditional way of content distribution is, well, it’s not good. It doesn’t serve brands and creators and it isn’t inspiring innovation. You want to spend your time making content that moves people, not cutting through the red tape and fine print of standard media channels. We think it’s time to ditch the standard.

Thank God, because for a second I thought this was just a thing.

Say hello to the in Endavo way. Endavo is revolutionizing digital video streaming by allowing communities to create and distribute video content without the need for traditional media.

Fantastic.

With Endavo, anyone can monetize and share their content with the communities they love. From super niche to large-scale audiences, Endavo empowers storytellers and marketers to get those masterpieces to their people. So go ahead, build stronger communities with video content. Easily share, managed, and distribute it with our video distribution automation platform. Show the world your inner Spielberg.

Thanks for keeping this thing civil. That’s for you.


FAQs: The Differences Between Streaming Platforms

Have you got questions? We’ve got answers. Here are the most frequently asked questions about the differences between streaming platforms.

What does video streaming mean?

You’ve found the source of the least complicated video streaming meaning! Video streaming is the process of serving content across the internet to an array of devices like smart TVs, mobile devices, and computers.

What is a streaming service?

A video streaming platform, or streaming service, is any website, app, or channel that facilitates this process by distributing said content.

What is an example of online streaming?

Online streaming is exactly what the name suggests: content streamed to devices over the Internet.

How many streaming platforms are there?

There are tons of examples of online streaming, including YouTube videos, livestreams on social media, music apps, and movies and shows from online subscription services like Netflix or Hulu.

Which online streaming platform is best?

Everyone looks to Netflix as the model for streaming content, and for good reason. Some of the characteristics that have established Netflix as one of the best streaming services are its monetization model, user interface, breadth of content, and of course its lack of ads. That being said, you can build a custom network with Endavo with many of the same integrations and some additional features as well.

Which platform is best for live streaming?

When it comes to live streaming, there are some notable platforms that stand out among the crowd. Twitch has become popular because of its live comment section and donation capabilities. YouTube has also pivoted to being more friendly for live-streamers. Endavo offers a robust and flexible live event and virtual live event streaming platform for all accounts.

What are the best streaming entertainment platforms?

The biggest streaming entertainment platforms are names you’ll recognize: Facebook, Instagram, TikTok, and YouTubeLive. For a content creator trying to make the best decision for getting their content to their audience, they should definitely consider starting with one of these three, or better yet, work with a platform that can combine all these streaming entertainment platforms into one streamlined solution.

What are the top OTT streaming platforms?

Ask around and you’ll get a different answer for who takes the #1 spot, but it’s easy to name the big players: Hulu, Disney+, HBO, Amazon, and Netflix all take the cake for the best OTT streaming services. That might all change soon, however, as more content creators and content companies start creating their own streaming platforms. Here’s how companies like Disney, Comcast, and more are catching the streaming bug, creating their own video streaming platforms, and making waves throughout the industry.

What are the upcoming streaming platforms I should know about?

Other than the one you’re about to create? Perhaps Paramount+ and Peacock have piqued your interest. Both of these streaming subscriptions see high satisfaction with subscribers. 69% of Paramount+ users and 64% of Peacock users report that they are Very Satisfied or Satisfied with the value of the service. Check out our rundown of the upcoming streaming platforms and what they’ll mean for streaming in our post here.

What can I do to stream to multiple platforms at once?

Get multiple devices, hook up your content to each one, and then get ready for a content overload. Just kidding. The best way to stream to multiple platforms at once is to find a platform that offers the option of distribution in one platform. Endavo is a video distribution automation platform, or VDA, and that’s exactly what it was designed to do. You can learn more about it here.

Want more information about the next big thing in video streaming platforms? Ask Endavo.

 

Your content strategy relies on your distribution platforms, but managing so many different outlines isn’t the most efficient use of your time. With Endavo, you can streamline all the best options out there, provide an unforgettable, personal experience, and get paid for all of the great work you do. Those are the three pillars to the most efficient video content strategy on the market, and they’re also the three pillars of the Endavo platform. Give us a call today to learn more