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Streaming Platforms:

A Complete Guide To Leading the Industry

There’s a Storyteller in All of Us

The way we see it, the world’s obsession with content is a direct reflection of an even bigger realization: We’re all creators inside and we all love a good story.

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 creators too (you’re reading this content after all).

There is an ever-increasing need for content, meaning there’s also an ever-increasing competition for eyeballs. So how do you break through the noise and make your mark as a creator and storyteller? In today’s digital world, 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 audience. 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?

In this day in age, you may be familiar with what a streaming media platform is. However, you might have a limited definition of what a streaming platform CAN be and what it can do for you.

By definition, streaming platforms are on-demand online entertainment sources for TV shows, movies, and other streaming media. For example, think of services like Hulu, Netflix, Disney+, and Amazon Prime Video.

There are also other examples of social media platforms that are free to publish content and free to watch, such as TikTok, Facebook, Instagram, Twitch, and Vimeo. Let’s break these down even further.

Subscription-Based Streaming Platforms

For this example, we’ll classify the likes of Hulu, Netflix, and Disney+ as subscription-based streaming platforms. Typically, you have to pay on a per-month basis to use these platforms. Often, the content on these platforms is professionally produced by studios and media companies, and there is a significant barrier to entry to getting your content on those platforms. These platforms are also called OTT Platforms or Services.

Non-Subscription-Based Streaming Platforms

On the other side, platforms like TikTok, Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube can be classified as non-subscription-based streaming media platforms. Although you can watch, follow, and subscribe to creators on these platforms, there is typically no cost to watching content on these platforms. In addition, these streaming media platforms are considered to be social media platforms, which means they allow creators to create and share their content for free and interact with their followers. They also allow users to be introduced to new content and creators through each platform’s algorithmic suggestions.

At this point, you’re probably thinking, so what? How do these viewer-centric streaming platforms really help you as a creator?

Here’s the truth: Video streaming platforms are the bread to your butter if you’re in the business of creating content, 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 if you want to get your content seen. Let’s take a look at the best streaming platforms creators should be using for their content.

What Are the Best  Social Media Platforms? Here’s What You Need to Know.

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

Without a doubt, YouTube, Twitch, TikTok, Facebook, and Instagram are some of the best  social media platforms—they have massive amounts of daily users, quality metrics and analytics, and platforms to grow your audience. If you’re a 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 social media platforms to reach your audience, and you might even be overwhelmed if you’re trying to use all of them to reach your audience. The inherent problem is that these platforms help you share your video on their platforms, but they don’t help you share your content with other platforms.

Another thing to consider? The revenue and payout schedule. For example, 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 since they keep most of the money generated on their platforms. Facebook (which also owns Instagram) can feel the same way—the payout structure just isn’t as fair as it should be. As a creator, that can be a challenge. 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 ]

The 5 Top Social Media Platforms Creators Should Use in 2023

1. 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 creators; and the fact that it’s free. Scheduling, uploading, and community management are pretty much entirely in the hands of the creators. If you want to build a channel with the intention of attracting a variety of viewers, this type of flexibility is certainly enticing, but YouTube alone is often not sufficient to build a content business. You should be supplementing your YouTube video strategy with an OTT streaming tech platform like Endavo to enhance the viewer experience and take full control of your content.

2. Patreon

Although Patreon has been around since 2013, the company has been growing rapidly recently, going from being valued at $148.38 million in 2016 to now around $4 billion. Patreon is different from YouTube because it gives creators more control over who sees their content, and there is no algorithm or guidelines that prevent monetization options. However, the downside is you can’t grow your audience with Patreon. It doesn’t have the algorithmic advantages of reaching new audiences, but it does allow you to transfer your current audience over from the social media and streaming platforms you have been establishing.

3. TikTok

TikTok shifted the streaming landscape when it became one of the most popular streaming platforms on the market. Like its predecessor Vine, TikTok emphasized short, digestible content tailored to each viewer’s particular interests. With the right video strategy, TikTok makes it easy for creators to grow their audience. What’s important is creating new and interesting content that hasn’t been seen before, and formatting it to be optimized for TikTok’s User Interface (i.e. captions, under a minute, captivating, etc.)

The downside to TikTok is the uncertainty of its future. With TikTok getting banned all across the world, no one really knows where the app will be in ten years’ time. But for now, it’s still an excellent option for creators getting off the ground running.

4. Instagram

Instagram, like TikTok, now provides the Reels feature, which makes it easier for creators to be discovered on this popular streaming platform. Although TikTok is still the more popular platform, diversifying your streaming platforms to get maximum reach is a crucial strategy for creators building their audience. There are a lot more differences between TikTok and Instagram Reels out there, but it is important to note that Reels do get the highest reach out of any other Instagram content type.

5. Twitch

Twitch continues to be a top platform for gamers and  live events–especially live sports and esports. Best known as a platform for people to watch their favorite online gamers play video games, 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.

What You Need to Know About OTT Platforms

But the good news is,  social media platforms aren’t the only ways people are viewing content these days. Just think about all of the places where you watch mainstream TV and film: Hulu, Netflix, Disney+, Amazon Prime Video, Peacock, Paramount+, and more. These content gurus are all distributing their content over-the-top, or OTT, and it’s another excellent opportunity for more established filmmakers to distribute their content to mass audiences.

But the best part of these OTT platforms? Definitely the prestige and money. The big draw for creators creating mind-bogglingly captivating content is one day getting the big break and making it onto these mainstream OTT distribution channels through a licensing deal.

Why? Because OTT platforms like Hulu and Netflix produce and license the best content available and deliver a second-to-none customer experience through premium content, of course, but also apps, user profiles, recommendations, easy-to-use guides, multi-platform access, and more. These OTT services aren’t just beloved for their content, but also because they 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. 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 consumer and delivering the ultimate curated experience. So, how does that relate to you, the creator?

OTT distribution is not limited to the big players. Any creator or content platform is able to distribute directly to consumers through the OTT ecosystem by using an OTT tech platform (we’ll get to that later) or by building it out yourself. When you stream with OTT, you can take your content business to the next level. Creators can supplement their video content strategy with a subscription or other monetization model to develop sustainable revenue for your business, while delivering an amazing experience to your viewers.

Tired of fighting crazy algorithm’s to get your content seen?

Now you don’t have to.

What You Need to Know About Streaming Delivery Platforms

Now that we’ve learned about social media platforms and we now have an understanding of OTT, it’s time to explore streaming delivery platforms like AppleTV, Roku, and Amazon Fire TV. These platforms help drive the distribution of big streaming media platforms like YouTube and big OTT channels like Netflix. However, these platforms also support niche creator channels: they are the gateways to OTT consumers and are open to mainstream and niche channels alike.

When it comes to these consumer tech brands combining the strategy of streaming video delivery and aggregating channels published inside their channel stores, it’s really a best-of-both-worlds situation for creators. These platforms act somewhat like multi-channel networks (MCN) since they host and distribute many creators and channels. They are also like the new cable TV network of the digital era, offering up a large collection of different channels from many different sources on one centralized platform with massive audiences.

Think of them like a giant library of channels. They host and deliver content from various creators and media brands, including the most prolific ones in the industry. Hundreds of millions of OTT content consumers buy their Roku, Apple TV, and Amazon Fire TV devices to watch Netflix, Hulu, Disney+, and the rest of the big OTT channels. However, this also means these massive audiences instantly have access to additional channels from the most niche content creators, greatly increasing the overall addressable market for creators and content platforms.

But more than just hosting and distribution, streaming delivery platforms also do something huge: They help you build your direct-to-consumer content business and brand with:

Accessibility and Discoverability
Unified User Experience
Direct Monetization

And so much more. For creators, this can be a HUGE bonus for your content channel 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 your OTT delivery platform’s audience, you can give your viewers a great experience, increase discovery of your channel, and ultimately help build your content business.

How Streaming Technology Is Affecting You

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

The big social media platforms are great for gaining an audience, growing followers, and getting exposure. Best of all, they’re largely free. However, that may not be enough for the serious content entrepreneur. If you have amazing content with consumer value, you might try to get your content distributed on the big OTT platforms we explained above. Yet, this is very difficult and even impossible for many creators, even amazing creators. That’s where streaming OTT tech platforms come in.

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 creators, we are talking about any individual, business, or organization that is creating video content for the purpose of monetization, brand awareness, or community building. We mean people like MrBeast, PewDiePie, and the Botez Sisters, but also companies and organizations like Coca-Cola and Red Bull, or even marketers for sports teams, cities, special interests, and more. Anyone or any organization can be a creator. In fact, most are creators in some form!

Why do we take this broad approach to defining creators? 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 creators not just in theory, but in practice.

So whether you’re a .org, a Fortune 500, a university, a small business, a live performer, a filmmaker, or a kid with an iPhone and a mic 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 should be able to 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 building your own direct-to-consumer destination or getting picked up by other distribution platforms and networks.

Monetize

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

The 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:

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

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

3. Making money matters, so work with a platform that allows you the flexibility to create an OTT video monetization strategy that aligns and adjusts 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

Are you ready to take your content over the top? How will you decide which platform or network is best for you? 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

What is an example of online streaming?

An example of online streaming would be a creator posting their video content to YouTube for the world to see. Another example could be a person watching their favorite TV show on Netflix.

What does video streaming mean?

Video streaming is the process of serving digital video content across the Internet to an array of devices like smart TVs, mobile devices, and computers

What is a video streaming platform?

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

How many streaming platforms are there?

Of course, there are the big OTT platforms like Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon Prime Video, and the big social media platforms like YouTube, TikTok, Patreon, and more. However, there are thousands of lesser-known streaming platforms in the US and across the globe.

Which online streaming platform is best overall?

Everyone looks to Netflix as the model for streaming video 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 (although that has now changed). That being said, you can build your own OTT channel or platform with Endavo. It has many of the same integrations and some additional features as well.

Which platform is best for live streaming?

When it comes to livestreaming, 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 livestreamers. Endavo offers a robust and flexible live event and virtual live event streaming platform for all accounts.

What are the best social media platforms?

The best social media platforms are names you’ll recognize: Facebook, Instagram, TikTok, and YouTube. For a 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, like Endavo.

What are the top OTT content 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 creators and content companies start creating their own streaming platforms.

What are the upcoming OTT content 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.

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 management overload. Just kidding. The best way to stream to multiple platforms at once—including your own OTT apps and the big social media platforms—is to find a platform that offers the option of distribution in one centralized dashboard. Endavo is a video distribution automation (VDA) platform, and that’s exactly what it was designed to do. You can learn more about it here.

The Next Big Thing in Streaming

Your content strategy relies on your distribution platforms, but managing so many different outlets isn’t the most efficient use of your time. With Endavo, you can streamline all the best options out there, provide an unforgettable user experience, and get paid for all of the great work you do and the content you make. Those are the three pillars of 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, or get started with our 30-day free trial.