When it comes to the range of video streaming platforms available on the internet, believe it or not, it does not begin and end with YouTube. Sure, YouTube is, by far, the most popular and widely used. Which, of course, comes with intrinsic benefits of its own. But there are some definite downsides to YouTube, some of which are frequently opined and publicly criticized to next to no attempts at improving on the part of YouTube itself.
The number one complaint that people have with YouTube has to do with the number of ads that it shoves in users’ faces. Before, during, and sometimes after videos, YouTube has become just as bad as traditional cable television when it comes to commercials. Frankly, it results in an extremely unenjoyable experience. And, unfortunately, it seems like YouTube is on the path to only continue to increase ads, as opposed to hearing the public frustrations out and scaling them back even a little bit.
Another issue that many people take with YouTube concerns its policies on censorship. Increasingly, over the last 10 years or so, YouTube has become almost Draconian in the way that they deal with censoring content on their servers. All it takes, it seems, is a single complaint about a video to be taken down. That or if YouTube does not agree with what you say in your videos, well, they can simply demonetize your channel. This is very troubling for the matter of free speech, something that people (understandably) take very seriously.
These slipups on behalf of YouTube have allowed other (similar) video streaming platforms to rise up and amass hundreds of millions of unique monthly users. One such video streaming site that comes to mind is Vimeo, which has successfully managed to brand itself as a sort of anti-YouTube, with cooler censorship policies and absolutely zero ads. Unfortunately, though, Vimeo has not yet been able to even scratch the surface of engagement that YouTube has, which means that the range of videos available on Vimeo is going to be relatively very limited.
Another video streaming service, however, that has seen a somewhat meteoric rise to fame and acclaim is Daily Motion. Perhaps you have heard of it or even come across it while web surfing before. Although it hasn’t really come close to matching the popularity of YouTube, it has managed to outshine Vimeo. With 300 million active monthly users, Daily Motion is certainly not a passing fad to roll your eyes at. But could Daily Motion actually be viable as a dependable alternative to the regime that is YouTube? Well, let’s dive and take a look, shall we?
Benjamin Bejbaum and Olivier Poitrey founded Daily Motion in March of 2005. The website went live from the living room of Poitrey’s Paris apartment. Between Bejbaum, Poitrey, and 4 others, a small group of 6 people was able to pool together €6,000 in order to get the business started. These were very humble beginnings, however, seeing as in September of the following year, Daily Motion was able to raise investments from Atlas Ventures and Partech International to the tune of 7 million euros. According to French Web 2.0, Daily Motion received the most funds raised of any site in 2006. From there, the money just kept rolling in.
In October of 2009, the French government actually contributed to Daily Motion via a federal Strategic Investment Fund. And on January 25th, 2011, the company Orange purchased a 49% stake in the company, evaluated at 62 million euros. The company, then, was worth a grand total of €120 million.
By the time 2013 rolled around, Orange was able to acquire the remaining 51% of Daily Motion for 61 million. And in May of that same year, the French government blocked an attempt from Yahoo to purchase the majority stock.
Fast forward one more year. In 2014, Orange announced that it had been negotiating a deal with Microsoft to extend Daily Motion into the US market. Orange’s CEO said that there was “great hope” that a deal could be made, so long as Orange retained the majority stake in the company. Talks with other potential partners were also made public. And in 2015, Vivendi purchased an 80% stake in Daily Motion, increasing it to 90% September of that year, keeping the company largely France-based.
Daily Motion has a very professional look about it. Honestly, upon first visiting the site, it may more closely resemble a news site than it does a proper video streaming platform. It is not nearly as flashy as YouTube, for example. You’ll find on the home page, a vertically cascading list of Featured videos, subtitled “top stories today,” to give an even better idea of what I mean.
At the top of the page, there is a very subdued site menu bar, allowing you to navigate Daily Motion by type of content. Choose from the default home page, Featured, or browse the site by clicking on News, Sports, Entertainment, or Music. It is very sparse and barebones, sure, but it gives the page a very classy and minimalist feel.
Honestly, of all of the video streaming sites on the web, Daily Motion is the first one that I have visited that has made me think, ‘you know, I could see myself potentially benefiting from making this my home page.’ The fact that it is designed in the mold of popular news sites, perhaps, is where this instinct comes from. It is perfect for keeping up with current events, not just falling down a rabbit hole of potentially meaningless entertainment as one may be wont to do on YouTube. Maybe it could be said that Daily Motion is YouTube for the more serious or worldly video viewer.
Again, the content on Daily Motion, too, feels somehow more serious than competitor sites. This is probably due to the site’s bent toward current events. The content on Daily Motion feels more productive and beneficial to view than most video streaming platforms enable. It is also of a higher caliber, typically speaking. This is probably due to the fact that the majority of the videos on Daily Motion are from certified content contributors – brands, record labels, well-known websites, established artists, etc., whereas on a YouTube, for instance, a great deal of content is simply uploaded by any bloke with a camera and a desire to make content. There is a definite emphasis on quality here.
That being said, Daily Motion will be a little more limited in terms of the scope of content available. So, it is the classic debate: quality or quantity? If you are the kind of person who tends to prefer the former, I think that you will be very happy with what Daily Motion has to offer.
Desktop and Mobile Experience
One thing that may take some getting used to when it comes to Daily Motion is the fact that there is a bit of a lag on videos as well as page loading. Videos also sometimes waver in and out of resolution qualities, depending on what you are doing. One thing that is nice, however, about the desktop experience is the fact that as you scroll down a given page (below a playing video), the video will minimize itself into a bar above the content you are viewing, allowing you to keep browsing without missing out on the current content.
The app, actually, may provide a bit of an overall better experience. It seems much more streamlined and intuitive than the site’s experience tends to provide, with less lag and better performance, this might be the best way to go in order to fully enjoy everything that Daily Motion has to offer. And others seem to agree – the app has an average rating of 4.5 stars on the Apple App Store.
Pricing and Plans
Daily Motion is 100% free to use. There are no paywalls or subscriptions necessary to unlock the content. Simply visit the page (or open the app) and enjoy hours of uninterrupted content.
Suggestions that I have for Daily Motion
Maybe a slight redesign of the desktop and mobile web browser version of Daily Motion is in order. I don’t necessarily mean from an aesthetic standpoint, because I think that the site actually looks very nice, I’m speaking more from a functionality standpoint. Perhaps there are some coding shortcuts to be looked into so as to avoid video playback lag and make pages load more quickly. +
All in all, if what you are looking for are well-executed videos that will help you stay in the loop on current events, Daily Motion is the site for you. There won’t be as many videos compared to YouTube, but they will, on the whole, likely be of a higher caliber.