Welcome to the ultimate battle between the world’s leading video-sharing websites – YouTube vs Vimeo. Both heavyweight platforms have pros and cons and are considered equally suitable for content creators. But are they?
What is YouTube? What is Vimeo? Both are video-sharing platforms - YouTube has been around since 2005 and is one of Google’s many subsidiaries. Vimeo has been around since 2004 and is a subsidiary of IAC.
Here we explore the similarities and differences between Vimeo and YouTube, and what makes creatives, businesses and producers favour one over the other.
Looking for more creative tips and tricks on how to get started with video production? Check out our expertise to find out everything you need to know, from what equipment you'll need to start a YouTube channel to how to create the best film treatment.
Or perhaps you’ve found yourself here looking for some production music to use in our YouTube and/or Vimeo video(s). In this case, please feel free to head on over to our production genre page where you can find playlists such as comedy, drama, tv music themes and more.
The Differences Between YouTube & Vimeo
Round One: Quality
As one may expect, both of these global video hosting platforms allow content creators to upload in 4K definition. However, it’s well known that YouTube compresses videos more than Vimeo. This means that pictures appear clearer and more vivid on Vimeo than they do on YouTube.
But don’t just take our word for it! Watch the two 4K videos below and see if you notice a difference.
4K On YouTube
4K on Vimeo
Round Two: Business
‘Business’ is an extremely broad term which makes this round extremely hard to call.
For example, business may mean that you’re looking to upload your videos online for your creative portfolio. In this case, Vimeo is the more suitable option. Why? Well, because Vimeo is recognised in the industry as a platform that’s a little more – dare we say it – professional than YouTube.
However, if by business you mean you’re an aspiring vlogger looking to reach high engagement numbers, or you’re an independent business looking to spread the word about your goods, we’d suggest you upload your video to YouTube. Not only do more people use YouTube on a daily basis than Vimeo, but a YouTube video is much more likely to rank well on Google, as YouTube is a Google subsidiary.
In the below video, Brighton West evaluates the business benefits of both video hosting platforms.
Round Three: Copyright
Now, this round is much easier to call. YouTube scans each new upload for copyright issues. If YouTube detects copyright infringement, the user will be alerted almost instantly after they upload their video. Vimeo, on the other hand, doesn’t scan users’ videos. Therefore, Vimeo is unlikely to notice if a video is breaking copyright laws. That being so, YouTube is the safer option of the two.
Watch the animations below to discover more about Vimeo and YouTube’s take on copyright laws.
Vimeo Copyright Laws
YouTube Copyright Laws
Round Four: Monetisation
Yes, it’s possible to make money by uploading content on both Vimeo and YouTube, but the question is: how?
Content creators can earn money on YouTube by showing adverts before and during their videos. To monetise their channel, YouTubers must first join the YouTube Partner Program – commonly referred to as the YPP – which you can read about right here.
As Vimeo is an ad-free platform, content creators do not have the option to earn money via ads. Instead, they can sell videos and subscriptions directly to their viewers with Vimeo OTT (Vimeo Over The Top). To start selling videos on Vimeo OTT, content creators must first have a Vimeo Pro subscription.
Check out the videos below to find out more about YPP and Vimeo OTT.
Vimeo Over The Top
YouTube Partner Program
Round Five: Filmmakers
Filmmakers may automatically assume that they’ll gain more views on YouTube than Vimeo, but that may not necessarily be the case.
There’s no denying that more people use YouTube than Vimeo on a regular basis – two billion people have a YouTube account and 170 million people have a Vimeo account. But 170 million people is still a huge number, which is why it should be considered by filmmakers – especially those who are inexperienced.
Another reason filmmakers may favour Vimeo over YouTube is that Vimeo feels like an online community. Creatives who use both platforms find people engage with their Vimeo videos more than their YouTube videos. Vimeo viewers regularly leave positive and constructive comments under videos and also watch videos from the beginning all the way to the end.
Round Six: Pricing
Is Vimeo free? Is YouTube free? Well, both video platforms can be used by creators and viewers for free; however, YouTube is much kinder to its free users. Here’s why. As YouTube relies on ad revenue, their primary aim is to drive as much traffic to their site as possible. For this reason, YouTube allows its free users to access almost all of its features.
As Vimeo relies on subscription revenue, however, they dramatically limit the features non-paying users can access. For example, the weekly upload limit for free Vimeo users is super-low – encouraging serious content creators to pay the subscription fee.
Round Seven: Weekly Upload Limit
As mentioned previously, the Vimeo weekly upload limit for basic (free) users is eye-wateringly low – to be precise, it’s 500MB a week. To put things into context, that’s around a 15 minute-long high definition video. Plus, basic users are limited to 10 uploads every 24 hours. Naturally, Vimeo users with a paid membership have a higher weekly upload limit: Plus members have a 5GB limit; Pro members have a 20GB limit; Business, Premium and Enterprise members have no limit.
On the other hand, YouTube has no weekly upload limit in place for any of its users, including free users with a verified account. One of the only restrictions YouTube has in place for its users is a 128GB limit or 12-hour limit for each video… Yes, per video. Below, is an example of a super long YouTube video.
Final Verdict: Is Vimeo Better Than YouTube?
YouTube wins! But, ultimately, the decision is yours; you must decide which video hosting platform is most suitable for you and your content. To help you make your decision, here’s a brief overview of the pros and cons we’ve covered:
YouTube vs Vimeo: The Debrief
Why Vimeo Over YouTube?
So, we’ve established that YouTube is, overall, a more practical video platform, especially for those looking to make money without spending. So, why do people still choose Vimeo over YouTube?
Vimeo is a space for creatives to share their work with like-minded individuals. Explore Vimeo, and you will discover high quality, judiciously created content produced by aspirational visionaries and respected professionals.
As we all know, the downside of the freedom YouTube grants its users is that the platform stores a tonne of videos of questionable merit. Unfortunately, disreputable videos can potentially sully YouTube’s reputation; this is not the case for Vimeo, which is often considered a more prestigious platform. Thus, if you’re a creative (think videographer, animator, musician etc.) who’s looking to share their work with potential clients and/or employees, you may consider choosing Vimeo over YouTube.
Making Money on Vimeo
As we touched on above, Vimeo is free of commercials, which means Vimeo users are unable to make money in the same way as YouTube users, but they do have the option to make the most of Vimeo OTT (over the top). Let us run through the ins and outs of the service.
Essentially, Vimeo’s OTT service allows Vimeo Pro users (and those above Pro statue) to create their own subscription service, something akin to Netflix, Disney + and Amazon Prime. They have the opportunity to store their high-quality content on Vimeo, and subscribers will pay a fee to access the creator’s online player and stream videos.
Vimeo’s team of experts – who proudly offer support round the clock – are also on hand to help you develop and launch your very own custom website and streaming app! If this isn’t a content creator’s dream, we don’t know what is.
Vimeo Ad Revenue
As you now know, there are no ads on Vimeo, meaning that there’s no such thing as Vimeo ad revenue. Interestingly, Investopedia claims that the platform would earn around $25 million a year if they forced their 170 million unique monthly viewers to sit through commercials.
Why does Vimeo shy away from earning money from ads? Well, it roots back to the company’s mission to be the world’s leading credible, respectable platform. There’s something a touch more professional about sharing a video that’s not preceded by a commercial. Just imagine your client having to sit through an ad for boxer briefs before checking out your content!
Vimeo Pro vs Business
Currently, there are five different Vimeo plans to choose from – Plus, Pro, Business, Premium and Enterprise; and most content creators find themselves stuck between the Pro and Business plans. The Pro plan is priced at an affordable £16 a month (billed annually), has a 20GB weekly upload limit and allows three team members to access the account, whereas the Business plan is priced at £40 a month (billed annually), has no weekly upload limit and allows 10 team members to access the account. Here’s a summary of what each plan has to offer:
To understand the differences between the Pro and Premium plan, it’s important that you’re savvy to the available features of the cheapest plan, the Plus plan. Here are the noteworthy features a Plus member has access to for just £6 a month:
- 250GB upload limit a year
- Create and publish unlimited videos (supports 4K & HDR videos)
- Unlimited screen and webcam recording
- Customisable video templates and video player
- Video file transfer capability
- Analytics dashboard with social stats and custom reports
- Support within four hours during US business hours
- Custom end screens and playback speed control
- Unlimited bandwidth
- Domain level privacy
As well as offering everything that comes with the Plus plan, the Pro plan also includes a slew of other benefits. Here are the features a Pro member has access to for £16 a month:
- 1TB upload limit a year
- Customisable showcase sites
- Premium video templates
- Unlimited stock photos, videos and licensed music
- Review and approval tools
- Custom sites with your own domain
- Customisable portfolio
- Engagement and duration graphs
- Support within two hours on business days (including overnight)
- Sell your videos directly to fans worldwide
Building on the features the Plus and Pro plan offer, the Premium plan also includes extra features. Here are the additional advantages to the Premium plan:
- 5TB total storage
- Video creation with custom branding
- Showcase SEO
- Access to Google Analytics
- Custom cards and calls-to-action in the player
- Collect contact information from leads in the player
- Marketing software integrations
- Support within one hour on business days (including overnight) and limited weekend support
Music for Your Online Videos
Once you’ve decided on your preferred platform, it’s time to start creating content.
Choose from over 200,000 tracks, created by some of the best composers and musicians on the planet, which you can discover by checking out our editor's toolkit, our albums, composers and playlist pages, or by using our filterable search bar.
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