The downsides of Vimeo and YouTube video hosting for churches

November 24, 2020

How do you make sermons, devotionals, and other gospel-centered content available beyond your church’s walls? By incorporating a church media hosting and streaming solution into your digital strategy, you enable your community to revisit and engage with your meaningful content, while expanding your reach in the process.

Vimeo and YouTube are big names in tech that have been embraced by creatives and content producers. However, there’s a long list of good reasons why both Vimeo and YouTube are not ideal for churches. Both platforms are significantly limited when compared to solutions built for the needs of churches, ultimately leading to a challenging workflow for church staff and low engagement among congregations.

Here are the top reasons why you should avoid using Vimeo and YouTube as your church’s video hosting and streaming solution:

ADS AND OTHER DISTRACTIONS

YouTube is one of the largest online video-sharing platforms with approximately 500 hours of new video content being uploaded every minute. If that sounds like a lot, you’re right—that’s over 80 years of new content a day! 

This is one of the main reasons why YouTube is not the ideal environment for church video hosting. Your meaningful church content—sermons, devotionals, worship songs, and more—should not have to compete with advertisers for your audience’s attention! Additionally, YouTube’s algorithm suggests “related videos” to each viewer drives even more focus away from your church media. 

YouTube’s latest update to its Terms of Service has made advertising an even bigger nightmare for churches. Whereas ads were previously shown only on videos uploaded by members who opted into the YouTube Partner Program, this update extends YouTube’s “right to monetize” to all videos on its platform. This means that unless your church has met the program’s strict requirements, you’ll have no say in what kind of ads are displayed alongside your content—plus you won’t see a penny of ad revenue.

What about Vimeo? With over 170 million monthly viewers and its main contributors being filmmakers and video professionals, there’s much less clutter when compared with YouTube. But Vimeo still doesn’t make the cut for church video hosting because it also displays “related videos,” and lacks the ability to create a church-focused environment for your media. 

Subsplash Media, on the other hand, allows your content to be seamlessly connected to your church’s mobile app, TV app, and website, giving you a clean, branded experience. Unlike with Vimeo and YouTube, the only content users see is your own. No ads, third-party content, or “related” videos!

COPYRIGHT & CONTENT OWNERSHIP ISSUES

Initially, using YouTube for church video hosting might seem appealing because it’s a free and familiar platform. However, one of the prices churches end up paying is giving up ownership of their content. Because YouTube’s Terms of Service asserts its right to monetize your content, you can be completely left in the dark as to how your content is being distorted and used in ways beyond its intended purpose. 

Furthermore, you may run into issues around others’ copyrighted content. Many churches obtain licensing agreements in order to use copyrighted music during live-streamed services and events. However, when copyrighted material is used in church videos hosted on YouTube, it is subject to removal, censorship, and muting at YouTube's discretion. Since YouTube scans for copyrighted materials automatically, they’re unable to take into account existing licenses your church has legally acquired. 

       

 

If that’s not frustrating enough, YouTube’s algorithm for identifying copyright infringement is far from perfect; there are many instances of church videos mistakenly being taken down. For example, The Episcopal Church of St. Peter and St. Paul in Marietta, Georgia recently had their Easter service disrupted mid-sermon with this message: “This video has been removed for violating YouTube’s Terms of Service.” A representative of YouTube reviewed the video several days later and found that it was removed in error. 

Vimeo, while less strict than YouTube, also retains the right to remove your video content and suspend your account at any time. The fact that the Vimeo logo cannot be removed from embedded videos in its lowest-tier plans highlights how content uploaded there is never truly yours again. With church-focused media hosting providers like Subsplash, you’ll never have to worry about ownership disputes—your content belongs to you!

LIMITED MEDIA MANAGEMENT

While your church’s videos on Vimeo and YouTube may be easy enough to upload and play on demand, distributing this content to other channels can be extremely tedious. Vimeo and YouTube videos are embeddable on your church’s website and app, but that requires extra time and technical know-how. 

Media management is far better when using a video hosting solution built with churches in mind. With Subsplash Media, you can create and manage your content from a single dashboard and easily distribute across a variety of channels. For example, when your church’s live-streamed service is finished, it can automatically appear as on-demand content on your app and website—eliminating the need to reupload or embed your videos.

NO AUDIO-ONLY OPTION

Whether catching up on a daily devotional during a morning commute or listening to a recent sermon while doing chores around the house, having the ability to listen to your content—rather than just viewing it—maximizes your ability to engage your community through your app and website. Having an audio-only function is crucial for making your meaningful content even more accessible to your audience! 

Vimeo is not ideal for churches that want to offer this important accessibility feature. As a video-focused business, Vimeo does not support audio formats (such as MP3s). While Vimeo does allow for offline playlists, where you watch a downloaded video without an internet connection, this is only available for paid plans and when the users’ screen is on.

Unlike Vimeo, audio-only listening can be enabled for churches that use YouTube for media hosting. However, this requires an extraordinary amount of effort for your audience, requiring them to download third-party apps or subscribe to YouTube Premium ( $11.99/month). It’s safe to assume most of your audience, especially those that are not tech-savvy or on a budget, will not take the extra steps to enable this function. 

Subsplash Media is set up for optimal audio and video, allowing your audience to enjoy your content offline by downloading it to their mobile devices. Unlike with Vimeo and YouTube, your church media hosted on the Subsplash Platform is automatically enabled for audio-only listening, and it allows users to switch between video and audio—perfect for on-the-go listening! Plus, audio keeps playing even when other apps are in use and when mobile screens are off, and the video always stays synced with the audio for whenever the phone screen is turned on again.

Media hosting on the Subsplash Platform takes it a step further by adding audio and video podcasting to the mix—something YouTube and Vimeo do not offer churches. Churches using Subsplash Media are able to easily create a podcast feed from existing media, or upload podcast episodes and publish them on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Stitcher, and more in a matter of clicks.

LACK OF SUPPORT

Even the best technology can leave users occasionally in need of extra support. The question is: If you run into issues, where do you go for help?

Your church should never be left to troubleshoot alone if anything goes wrong while uploading, managing, or streaming your video content. This causes headaches at a minimum and blocks your community from accessing meaningful content at worst. 

The best church video hosting solutions include access to support teams that are dedicated to equipping your church for success. However, most media hosting providers—including Vimeo and YouTube—don’t offer robust support services by default.

Vimeo, for one, bases its support access on each customer’s subscription: the more expensive the plan, the better the support. For example, on the “Plus” plan, support is only guaranteed via email during U.S. business hours—and even then may be delayed by up to four hours. On the more expensive “Premium” plan, customers have access to live chat, as well as limited weekend and holiday support. Weekends, of course, are prime time for most churches, when getting quick support is most important!

Neither your budget nor your technical knowledge should dictate your workflow. This alone makes Vimeo a poor option for churches. 

YouTube might also seem like a promising option due to its popularity and low price point, but it too lacks the support that the vast majority of churches need. Getting connected with an actual support person can be difficult: YouTube first prompts users to explore the Help Center for answers to common questions, and then the Community Help Forum, a discussion board for YouTube users to help answer each others’ questions. 

Only members of the YouTube Partner Program are eligible for email support. This exclusive program is only available to applicants who have a minimum of 1,000 subscribers with at least 4,000 hours of watch time on their videos over the last year. Most churches won’t meet these requirements, meaning their best shot at getting support is reaching out to other YouTube users.

Unlike Vimeo and YouTube, churches that use Subsplash for video hosting automatically receive dedicated support, plus access to onboarding specialists and client success managers! Whether through email, phone calls, or live coaching, someone is always there to guarantee your church is taken care of.

Due to numerous issues and limitations that will negatively impact your church staff and community, Vimeo and YouTube should not be your go-to video hosting solution for your church. Subsplash Media is built with churches in mind and allows you to easily connect your content to your website and custom mobile app for a better experience all-around! 

Want to learn more about how your organization can take engagement to the next level with Subsplash media? Check it out!

Already a Subsplash Client? Log in to your Subsplash Dashboard to start uploading your church’s media today, or schedule a call with your Client Success Manager!

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