Themtube: the 7 challengers chipping away at YouTube’s dominance

YouTube may be the most popular video site on the planet, but a pack of competitors are close behind

Periscope app video playing on an iPhone


An array of new video services are going after YouTube’s viewership, advertisers, and talent. Here’s what you need to know about them:

youtube-vs-amazonAmazon Prime Instant Video

For about $100 a year, Amazon Prime members can stream unlimited movies and TV shows from Amazon’s online library.
Key metrics: In 2014, Amazon spent US$1.3 billion on video content (including the award-winning series Transparent). Its subscriber base grew by 53% worldwide last year.
Revenue model: The service collects membership fees, but that isn’t the primary driver, says Mitch Joel, president of Mirum. The data Amazon collects on each customer is worth “10 times” more than any commercial exchange, he says.
Outlook: It’s hard to predict. “YouTube, in terms of raw viewers, is very far ahead of what Amazon is offering right now,” says Joel.

youtube-vs-yahooYahoo Inc.

All of Yahoo’s digital verticals offer video content. Yahoo Screen, an on-demand streaming service, features original content produced by in-house editorial staff. The company teamed with Live Nation Entertainment to stream concerts.
Key metrics: The company reported575 million monthly active users last year, with digital content generating more than US$1.1 billion in revenue.
Revenue model: The site features 30-second ads that play before videos. Yahoo purchased BrightRoll, a company that automates the sale of video ads.
Outlook: Unlike YouTube, Yahoo takes a more curated, polished approach that costs money. “It’s more predicated on major players wanting to have video presence,” says Joel. Yahoo probably won’t usurp YouTube, given the latter’s younger, larger and more engaged user base.


The mobile app allows users to send and receive videos and photos that self-destruct after one to 10 seconds.
Key metrics: Of its 100 million monthly active users, 71% are female and under 25.
Revenue model: The company doesn’t comment on its ad prices, but reports suggest the app commands up to US$750,000 per day for brands to post ads.
Outlook: Of all the video platforms, Snapchat has the best chance of being profitable, since its user base is the coveted teen demographic, says Neil Bearse, marketing director at Queen’s School of Business.


Acquired by micro-blogging site Twitter in March, Periscope is an app that enables live broadcasting.
Key metrics: Twitter boasts 302 million monthly active users, leading observers to suggest it has a much larger user base than its rival Meerkat.
Revenue model: Very unclear. Experts say it’s likely being kept afloat by its parent company.
Outlook: Periscope must find a way to generate revenue, says Bearse. “Twitter has proved quarter after quarter that it doesn’t know how to monetize [its offerings],” he says.


This app enables users to stream and share live broadcasts from mobile devices. Twitter restricted Meerkat’s access to its platform in March.
Key metrics: It has about 156,000 users; the app’s base grew by 36,000 since Twitter blocked it.
Revenue model: Like other apps before it, Meerkat is likely initially focused on building and maintaining a user base. “Meerkat is still very early in building their audience in any scalable way that advertisers will be interested in buying,” says Jeff Thibodeau of MediaVest Canada.
Outlook: Tech companies, such as Samsung and Apple, may adopt it for live launches of their new products in order to appeal to younger consumers. The app could also monetize push notifications, meaning Meerkat could charge brands for notifying users about their live streams.


In 2012, Twitter purchased this app, which enables users to record and share looping video clips that are capped at six seconds.
Key metrics: The platform has 40 million users, and 12 million Vine videos are uploaded to Twitter daily.
Revenue model: It increases Twitter’s user base, enabling its parent company to make money off user data.
Outlook: Crafting a message within the six-second allotment is proving a challenge for companies looking to advertise, says Thibodeau.

youtube-vs-facebookFacebook video

The social-networking site launched a native video platform, enabling users to publish video directly to their Facebook pages.
Key metrics: Video content on the site nets approximately three billion views per day, the company has said.
Revenue model: By striking strategic partnerships with brands, Facebook gives companies direct access to users’ news feeds.
Outlook: “It’s going to be a challenge for Facebook to stay relevant,” says Thibodeau. “The next generation of consumers will not be on Facebook.”