We want to tell you a secret: the purpose of introducing a free plan was to raise awareness of Wistia (shocking!). With the free-account videos out there doing their thing, we wanted to give people a chance to learn more about Wistia without interrupting the viewing experience for anyone else. The Powered by Wistia banner that appears on the free Wistia player is a way for people who are paying attention to web video to trace the technology back to its home, rather than a distraction for those not actually interested in that information.
We wanted to make the banner on free accounts as "Wistia-like" as possible, something that would feel like a natural part of the already-existing Matador player that's designed to get out of the way and let content reign supreme. With that and the goal of using the banner to educate rather than advertise in mind, we (Ben and Joe in particular) put a lot of time into figuring out just how to incorporate the banner into our player.
We didn't want the banner to change the aesthetics of the page a video is embedded on at all, so the banner only shows up when you interact with the player, after you've pressed play, and adapts to any player customizations. When you mouse-off the video, you still get the pure video experience, with nothing to obstruct that experience. Design-wise, the banner is as unobtrusive as functionally possible: we really feel like it's the precise minimum size and opacity to fulfill its function, and it fades with the exact same logic as the player controls, so it feels like a part of the player itself.
One issue that we encountered along the way was making the meaning of the banner clear -- when we only included our logo or ambiguous text like "I <3 Wistia" it was confusing; was this Wistia's content or Wistia's technology? When we changed the banner to say "Powered by Wistia" it was more obvious that we were responsible for the experience and delivery of the video, not the content of the video itself. It's a way to show that we're not only proud of our player and playback, but also the content of our users.
And don't worry, paid users -- if you find the banner simply irresistible, you can add it to your players too, under "Player Customization" in the SuperEmbed Builder!