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Why not just put everything on YouTube or Facebook?

The obvious solution is to simply partner with YouTube and Facebook, putting your videos up on their site and participating in their ad revenue sharing program. But if you choose to only distribute through YouTube and Facebook, not only are you leaving money on the table, you’re putting your fate in someone else’s hands. What’s the problem? YouTube’s business model is more mature, so let’s use them as an illustration.

Reduced revenue. A few years ago, YouTube made it extremely easy for anyone to monetize his or her video. As a result, the already tough competition (with 500 hours of video uploaded every minute) has become even fiercer. To this we should add the 45% cut that YouTube takes for every ad sale. Some YouTube producers have been very vocal about YouTube’s aggressive revenue split. We find that YouTube’s average CPMs are well below industry averages for premium content. Many Kaltura customers monetize on the order of $10-$40 CPM and are in direct control of distribution costs.

No control over advertising. Publishers have no control over what ads are displayed alongside their video. Potentially, a competitor’s video could be shown before (pre-roll) or right next to your video (display) and you will have no control over it.

Limited user engagement. As a publisher, your #1 goal is to get viewers to consume as many of your videos as possible. However, YouTube’s algorithm and site design display a variety of content suggestions around and in the video player. As a result, repeated viewing and user-engagement could be low within the YouTube environment.

Cat videos (and other competition). Yes, they’re cute, but unless your brand is cats, they’re distracting your audience…along with all of the other content on YouTube that has nothing to do with you. The “related videos” section on YouTube is a mixture of content based on previously viewed content and sponsored content. Here, too, a competitor’s video can be displayed right next to yours. In fact, if YouTube’s algorithms are working correctly to find similar content, this is pretty likely to happen.

Limited player customization. YouTube offers a set of tools to customize the player to your brand’s look and feel. However, these options are quite limited and require development knowledge. One the other hand, a Kaltura video player, for example, gives you dozens of templates as well as a site dedicated to easy player customization and configuration.

Video format limitation. YouTube ingests only 9 video formats. In addition, live streaming capabilities are currently blocked for small publishers.

Limited security. YouTube videos are public by default. You may assign a password to them but YouTube doesn’t offer any content control tools or DRM protection. In fact, any video on YouTube is extremely easy to download using free web services. Facebook’s video strategy, on the other hand, is in its infancy. While they are currently pushing content producers to upload more content, it’s still not clear how this will work in the end. Which is not to say that distributing to YouTube and Facebook is a bad plan—just that it shouldn’t be your only strategy.

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