YouTube? Or The Corporate YouTube?

Video is increasingly the means by which businesses communicate and share valuable information. As organizations continue to find new value in video – creating online training videos, streaming live executive broadcasts, webcasting events, offering on-demand presentations and product demos, and more – the question of where to keep all this video has become critical.

Guy At Laptop - Panopto Corporate YouTube platform

Every video your business creates will need to be stored somewhere – where exactly that is will make a big difference to what your team can do with that video and how your business might leverage it in the future.

Today most companies use a mix of 3 options for storing video files:

  1. Public video hosting or sharing sites, like YouTube and DropBox
  2. An internal video content management system (often called the “corporate YouTube”)
  3. Internal file share or SharePoint sites

While saving to the team LAN folder or CMS is commonplace for text documents, it’s often not the best long-term answer for video files. Why?

  • Difficulty at scale – video requires significantly more storage space than most documents – even short videos can exceed SharePoint’s maximum file size
  • Difficulty with search – without a central video storage and sharing site files end up scattered across the company. These systems can’t effectively search video contents, so once a recording is saved there it’s nearly undiscoverable for anyone who doesn’t already know it exists
  • Difficulty with viewing – file shares and SharePoint sites just store your videos — they don’t do anything to ensure playback compatibility with the devices employees may be using to watch your videos
  • Difficulty with sharing – stringent firewalls prohibit these file systems from making even the most public-facing videos available to the public

Simply put, to make sure your organization gets the most out of your video, it needs to be accessible – either on an external video host like YouTube, or on your own corporate video content management system.

So What’s Better for Business Videos — YouTube or The Corporate VCMS?

The answer to the question isn’t necessarily about which is better so much as it’s about which is right for the video. Let’s take a look at each option a little more carefully.


What it is:
YouTube is a video sharing website that allows users to upload, view, and share videos. Wholly owned by Google, YouTube is the most popular video-sharing site online. More than 1 billion users visit YouTube each month, watching more than 6 billion hours of video.

How do other businesses use it?
Users manage video on YouTube through a system of sub accounts called “channels”. Anyone logged into Google can create YouTube channels as part of their YouTube account. As a best practice, it’s wise to set up a YouTube channel using a generic, corporate-managed email address and password.

Panopto YouTube ChannelOnce your channel is created, YouTube allows you to brand it with customizable colors and space for your logo and links to your website and other social accounts.

YouTube channels are public by default, and always indexed by Google for search. You can opt to have YouTube not show your channel, but if someone searches for the username YouTube will return the channel’s thumbnail image and some basic information in its search results.

However, while the channel itself will be public to one degree or another, the videos your business uploads to your YouTube channel do not have to be. While all videos are set by default to be shared publicly, each video can be individually set to either “private” (which can only be viewed by people you invite via email) or “unlisted” (which are public but unsearchable, meaning someone can only view them if they have the direct link).

Why would a business host a video on a YouTube channel?
Three reasons: YouTube is easy, shareable, and big.

First, YouTube is a well-known site most people are already familiar with and use regularly. It works well on almost every web-connected device and accepts most types of video. And it’s free. If you’re just looking to host and share video, it has a near-zero barrier to entry.

Second, YouTube is a Google property, which means the public videos it hosts are optimized to be found. For businesses hoping to share ideas with a wider public that might be searching for relevant topics, hosting video on YouTube is a proven way to get found in search.

Third: 1,000,000,000 monthly viewers. That’s a billion with a “B” or roughly 1 in every 7 people alive. Access to an audience the size of YouTube’s is a big plus for many business use cases. If your next ad, next report, next demo, or next anything else finds the right audience on YouTube, your business could wind up the next viral sensation. Just look what YouTube did for Dollar Shave Club, Old Spice, or the good folks at Blendtec, the masterminds behind the “Will it blend?” series.

Why would a business NOT host a video on a YouTube channel?
Not all enterprise video is right for YouTube. It’s one thing when your latest ad goes viral – it’s quite another when it’s your internal financial forecasts. A quick YouTube search finds returns, as of this writing, more than 442,000 videos for the search “Internal Meeting” – one hopes nothing too confidential has been inadvertently shared there.

Much of the value video is bringing to the enterprise today is in improving internal communications, presentations, and meetings. Video can give your team better insight into competitive strategy, executive policy, product development priority and more – but while those improvements are good reason to enable video at your organization, they’re also good reason to want to lock down that sensitive information so others outside your company can’t find it.

YouTube’s privacy settings help to minimize the risk of inadvertently sharing company secrets, but for many organizations the risk of using any outside hosting system like YouTube is just too great.

Along with privacy and security concerns, other businesses may choose not to upload video to YouTube because YouTube may be simply too disconnected from the rest of their business systems. Corporate VCMSs can generally integrate with existing content management systems and employee directories – making them a little easier to use for hosting video, especially if it’s content for internal viewers anyway.

Video Content Management Systems (VCMS)

What it is:
A video content management system is a video library specific to your organization – often thought of as “the Corporate YouTube”.

A VCMS can be built from scratch (at no small expense), but they are more often sourced. There are a number of VCMS providers, and solutions range from simple video libraries to enterprise video platforms with video recording, screencasting, and live webcasting capabilities. They can be locally hosted on your servers or deployed in the cloud, depending on your vendor and your contract.

How do other businesses use it?
While every system is different, just about every video content management system is designed to be the central library for all things video in an enterprise.

Once the library is set up, select employees are generally given access to upload video, as well as to search and view just about anything stored there. Companies at the forefront of using video as a tool for improved communication, social learning, culture development and knowledge exchange often open these libraries to many or all their employees.

Since a VCMS is generally set up to be private, it should be a great place to keep more sensitive information. Most enterprises with a VCMS instruct employees to look to the video library for the latest training videos, quarterly financial reports and forecasts, and communications from executives on priorities for the coming quarter and year.

While privacy is typically a first concern, many VCMS solutions do offer the ability to make selected videos public or sharable. These features typically work like the inverse of YouTube’s privacy features – videos or folders must be individually selected and shared with the desired audience.

The corporate YouTube is a smarter place to keep sensitive presentations and information, like those discussing employee benefits programs

Why would a business host a video on a VCMS?
In a word – privacy.

Social learning is all about encouraging employees to share institutional knowledge and best practices – the kinds of competitively sensitive information that helps them do their best work and help your company thrive.

Top-down communications like executive messages or corporate training deliver their best results when they can be candid and explicit – sharing the kinds of details that help employees truly understand corporate direction and how to apply it.

You want your business video to communicate clearly, to show the details of how things work and the directions for where you’re going. That’s incredibly sensitive information for many businesses. You wouldn’t open up your email or your SharePoint sites for public view – many businesses feel the same way about their enterprise video.

Hosting on a VCMS makes privacy concerns a less of an issue – and lets your people tap the power of video for sharing ideas.

Why would a business NOT host a video on a VCMS?
When a business chooses not to keep a video on their own VCMS, there is usually one of two reasons at play:

One: The video in question is actually designed for public consumption, so it makes sense to share it in a more public space. Ads and other promotional and public-facing content make perfect sense to keep on publicly searchable libraries.

Often, this type of content lives a dual-life – hosted both on a public site like YouTube for customers, prospects, and anyone else to see, as well as on the VCMS (where previous versions, future versions in development, and other for-employee-eyes-only content may make the videos even more valuable to your team).

Two: The organization has no VCMS to store their video. Whether it’s concerns around price for small businesses or technical capacity for deploying a local VCMS, some organizations haven’t invested in video content management. Often this is the decision that leads to employees storing files in less searchable, less compatible, less scalable places like team SharePoint sites. ICON - WP - Selecting between a YouTube Channel vs the Corporate YouTube VCMS

So how do you know when to use YouTube & when to use the corporate VCMS?

For every video, there are four factors that should help your team decide where to upload. Learn about each, and help ensure your team always selects the right place to keep your videos — download your copy of our white paper, The YouTube Channel vs. The Corporate YouTube today.

Published: May 25, 2016

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