Choosing an online video hosting service

YouTube may be the most popular online video service but there are many alternatives that offer various benefits. When deciding which video service to use, there are many factors to consider.

  • Who is my audience and where are they most likely to find my video?

  • Is there a niche or existing online community around the video service that can easily connect and further promote my work?

  • Am I allowed to attach a Creative Commons license so others know they are free to re-distribute my video?

  • Can users download a high quality copy of my video for screenings or use on TV?

  • Does the video service contain advertising, and if so do I have any control over this, or receive a cut of revenue?

  • Is it possible my work will be censored? What is the editorial policy?

  • Are the values and principles of my video host in line with my own, and are they worthy of supporting with my work?

  • Am I able to raise donations or receive micro-payments for my work?

  • How secure is the video service in terms of the information it retains and shares about me and my audience?

  • Can anybody add subtitles for translations of my video?

  • Do I have to pay to use the service, or for things like more server space or to upload High Definition videos?

  • Does the video service provide a video podcast or feed of my videos?

Downloading video files

When considering a hybrid distribution strategy that allows you to reach the widest possible audience, make sure you pick a video service that allows people to download the video and therefore easily re-distribute it offline. Services that allow you to easily download video files include The Internet Archive, EngageMedia and Vimeo.

There are also tools you can use to download videos directly from video sites that may not officially allow this – such as the cross-platform Firefox browser plugin NetVideoHunter.

Video Podcasting

Video Podcasting or syndication via RSS feeds is another way to share and find videos. Some internet TV shows have managed to use these technologies to reach large audiences. Podcasting your videos will help you present your videos in a high-quality manner as the files are downloaded to the user’s computer rather than streamed in the web browser. The key to video podcasting is to use a video service that automatically creates an ‘RSS feed’ of your videos. Services include Vimeo, Hipcast and EngageMedia. This feed is basically an up-to-date list with links to all of your latest videos as you publish them. These feeds are also often referred to as video podcasts, or vodcasts.

You can generate video podcast feeds out of YouTube but they don’t make it easy. If you are feeling technical you can check the guide.

Viewers who subscribe to your podcast using a program such as Miro or iTunes will receive your latest videos as soon as you upload them. Video podcasts are a great way of distributing a web series, for example, as viewers will always automatically get the next episode.

The easiest way to make a video podcast is to post your videos to a video service or other websites that produces a feed for you.

You can also use RSS as a way of pulling in videos from other video podcast feeds (from other sites or other video makers) into your own website automatically. Consult your website help section for more info on how/if this is possible using your website software.


A note on players

We recommend VLC media player – it will play back just about any kind of video file and can also be used to play DVDs.