While Vimeo and YouTube still rule the world of online video, it's a different world as a video professional than it was a few years ago. I can't exactly complain about YouTube, with its completely-free business model, incredible ease of use, and compatibility that no other service can rival. However, it's not exactly "business friendly" with constant distractions to view the latest random video and feels cluttered, ad-ridden and plain unprofessional.
Vimeo is a slight improvement, although it's had recent copyright issues , complaints of slow loading time, and an almost necessity to upgrade to a paid account to do anything useful (with accounts ranging from $50/year to $200/year). It makes perfect sense to pay a subscription fee to remove ads, gain some control of your content, and have slightly higher quality, but with common issues hampering the viewing experience, many are looking for alternative solutions besides the big two. Enter Wistia....
I was introduced to Wistia several months ago by good friend and Director of Photography Mike Collins. I signed up and was immediately impressed by the clean UI, the ease of managing content, how well the embedded player worked consistently, and the massively expanded metrics and information now instantly available to me. The unfortunate blow occurred once I had seen their pricing, as I immediately knew I couldn't afford the service based on the amount of content I currently post online (at the moment), no matter the tremendous improvements. It was a sad decision but, I continue......
Low and behold, I discover this morning Wistia has bravely decided to join the realm of Dropbox and Wipster by offering a redesigned fully functional free account : Up to 50 videos with no size limit, 200GB of monthly bandwidth, basic tools and analytic data (see below for examples), and customization of the player. No trial, no severely limited feature set, no annoying ads, just a fully working account with, "basic analytics and customizations, easy embedding and sharing, and a branded Wistia player". While Wistia previously offered a free account, it was significantly more limited and had similar issues as a Vimeo free account. Those issues are no longer as limiting, as you can see above in the screenshot.
This is a hugely positive "disruptive" shift in the business model for video hosting, and one I hope truly echos across the competition. As Dropbox can illustrate, offering a free account that isn't treated like a "extended trial" with major restrictions can be hugely beneficial to the content creator, their audience, and the company offering the service itself. I myself can attest to using Dropbox's free services for several years before realizing I was so attached to a few of it's specific features, that it served me best to simply convert to a paid plan. It is my hope that the same future will hold true for Wistia, starting with today's introduction of the smartly redesigned free account and revised paid plans starting at $25/month aimed at small businesses.
Now, while many of you simply want the nitty gritty features and details of a service, I want to mention how awesome the staff of Wistia have been in my limited encounters with them. As a colorist, I had a few questions about their compression and they were not only quick to answer, but extremely friendly, available, and willing to assist should I have any further issue or concerns. Not something I've experienced from any other video host, free or paid.
Whether you are actively looking for a new platform for your professional video content or simply heard about "Wistia" thing this morning, I urge you to drop by their site and take a try their newly redesigned free account. I, too, was originally perfectly happy with my content on YouTube & Vimeo, but it didn't take long before I changed my mind. I'm sure you will have a similar reaction.