For a time, if you wanted to watch video content, there was one major player in the game: YouTube. But as the popularity of online video has grown—as well as marketer demand for premium content—competitors including Facebook and Vimeo are staking a claim in the space. Netflix, Amazon and Hulu are now destinations for award-winning shows on a digital platform. Then there are social networks, including Instagram, Twitter and Vine, which are now offering bite-size clips.
Slowly but steadily, however, there is another tier of video players—a collection of startups purporting to provide solutions to common complaints surrounding YouTube and other existing video platforms' offerings; namely, poor revenue splits, creators' inability to interact with viewers, and the challenge of finding new, related content.
Here, we highlight four innovative platforms and how they've set themselves apart from the pack.
Founders Sam Rogoway, Michael Todd and Bing Chen
How it works The mobile-first platform lets creators have a hub for their content, including apps. There are also more ways to interact with fans and share content off-platform.
How it makes money Standard ad formats, in-app purchases, e-commerce
Who’s on board Top YouTubers RocketJump, Michelle Phan and Ryan Higa
Founder Greg Isenberg
How it works The mobile app recommends content, which is divided by categories, to users based on their previous ratings of videos. It allows people to privately share and chat about clips with fellow viewers.
How it makes money Brand sponsorships for categories and highlighted videos
Who’s on board Burger King, Gap and Old Navy—and StumbleUpon, which acquired it
Founders Jason Kilar and Richard Tom, both former executives at Hulu
How it works Vessel hosts premium shows from top online publishers and creators. Subscribers have access to first-look content. The site also boasts a more favorable revenue split for creators than YouTube.
How it makes money Subscription fees; also, brands can buy five-second pre-roll or “motion poster” pop-ups
Who’s on board Old Navy, Chevy
Founders Nick Grouf, Tom Ryan and Ilya Pozin
How it works The platform, which operates in a similar fashion to linear TV, curates videos from various publishers into more than 100 channels. They are presented in an easy-to-discern channel guide.
How it makes money Pop-up banner ads, interstitial videos
Who’s on board Brand partners include Complex Media and HitFix; plans for future ad sales