Dave’s blog: Vimeo versus YouTube

A whole lot of people have asked me about the difference between YouTube and Vimeo.

OK. There were two, but both were business starters trying to get a sense of what these platforms offer, beyond the obvious impression of places you go to watch videos.

I’m not an expert and haven’t performed a side-by-side comparison, but I do use both platforms, and have picked up a few subtle but significant differences that might help you make a choice if you need to set up a channel for streaming.

First, I have no idea which one offers better quality streaming. They both look great to me, and offer amazing service for nothing or very little money. Both are great for embeds and Facebook.

YouTube is the sandbox where everyone plays. It’s utterly massive and offers it all for free. Last I checked, it allows you to upload individual files of 20 gigabytes. That’s something like two full hours of minimally compressed, high definition footage. You can upload 4K, 8K, anything.

WHY I USE IT: That’s where you want to be for promotion. It’s the most-searched site on the internet. YouTube also offers a plugin that works pretty well with WordPress. I’ve set up a channel where I upload most of the videos I’ve made, and can easily port them over to a gallery on my website while controlling the order.

Vimeo, by comparison, is pretty tiny. I’ve never heard of anyone say they wasted the afternoon watching Vimeo. It’s geared more toward artists and filmmakers. You can still watch and upload videos free, but I pay a small fee to increase the amount of monthly upload space. I see it more as a workspace: I don’t gear my channel toward viewers, so it’s a bit cluttered with multiple versions of projects I’m working on, no branding, and some junk I should clear out one of these days.

WHY I USE IT: In a word, control. I can send a video link to a single client while blocking everyone else, and control whether it can be downloaded or embedded. I can also swap out a video while retaining the same URL and viewing statistics. In general, Vimeo is a lot less cluttered and serves as more a community hub for artists. There are no ads, and also allows people to make their work available for a fee – a great feature for indie filmmakers.

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