Step-By-Step Guide to Developing a Video Streaming App

January 31, 2024 14 min read
live video streaming app development

There was a time when the viewer had limited choices and would depend on what the channel would show. They didn't have any say in the videos shown to them. Times have changed with the OTT platforms, where the viewer is spoilt for choices. With the rising number of platforms, there is more choice and varieties.

When most businesses struggled to operate during the Pandemic, the OTT platforms gained more viewers. With the onset of remote working, rising insecurity owing to the unknown virus, and the inability to step out, people moved to these video streaming apps to divert their minds.

The smartphone revolution, combined with the fact that these streaming platforms were available on the mobile, led to massive adoption growth. With people being able to watch the series on their devices without sharing the screen with others or being dependent on someone to choose the show, there was an increase in the demand.

As demand increased, the competition in this segment grew. For new businesses that want to set their foot in the OTT segment, the cutthroat competition demands setting a differentiated stage that can improve experiences and enhance usability.

If you plan to step into this segment with live video streaming app development, we would like to take you through the different things you need to consider.

Benefits of a Video Streaming App

We just saw how video streaming apps are growing to be popular. With their ease and accessibility, more businesses are considering entering this domain. Why are more videos being streamed through the OTT platform?

Better Reach: When you present your video or movie in theatres or related platforms, the reach may not be as high as needed. You may be unable to attract the people who don't have the money to spend on every other movie or access to a theatre.

However, you reach all subscribers when you present it on a video streaming app. They will be able to access the video through OTT.

benefits of live video streaming app development

  1. Cost-effective Medium: It is a win-win approach for both the end-users and the streaming business. The end-users have to pay for a yearly subscription, which will be cost-efficient compared to renting a movie. Even the rent on an OTT platform is lower than what you will spend elsewhere. The video makers or filmmakers don't have to pay for the ads or sponsors. They can quickly gain more customers with less spending.
  2. Fresh Content: Your customer will always access fresh content with this medium. The content is more in sync with the needs of the end-user. OTT has democratized content creation, which has given users a sense of ownership of content.
  3. On-the-go Videos: With video streaming apps, users can access videos on the go. As a result, it helps you improve accessibility and convenience. With this level of access, you can get more downloads and increase subscriptions. As a result, you increase earnings for the business.
  4. Privacy: With the rise in OTT platforms, piracy has also increased. You should now focus on offering privacy and security while streaming videos. With OTT platforms, authentication, tokenization, and domain restrictions can help improve the overall security.

What is the Revenue Model for Video Streaming Application?

A live video streaming app development needs to have a monetization strategy as well. You cannot create an app without knowing how you aim to generate revenue.

video streaming app development revenue model

  1. Subscription Models: Most of the OTT platforms work with this revenue model. You get a fixed monthly amount from the users of the platform. As per their needs, they can go for higher or lower plans. This assures a fixed amount in your business every month or year.
  2. Ad Revenue: Platforms like Hotstar earn from advertisements. They have live streaming and run promotions that fetch a good amount of money. For example, they have ads alongside live matches, which adds money.
  3. Affiliate Marketing: You can place the brand's ad or text banner in your video. Youtube does that mainly to earn money. The channel earns a certain amount whenever the user clicks on the banner from YouTube. If more people are interested in the particular offering, they will click, and it will help both the channel and the business. 
  4. Rental Systems: The OTT platforms create a rent-per-view system for some series or movies. The viewers will need to pay a certain amount to watch that specific movie, which can add to the revenue.

You can go for a fixed revenue model or incorporate more than one model to improve the business profits. However, thinking through your revenue generation model at the start of the live streaming video app development is essential.

Must-have Features in Video Streaming Application

Planning to build a video streaming application akin to Netflix? You should define the features immediately to ensure a more process-driven development approach. Here, we will take you through some of the must-have features of the live streaming app.

must have advanced video streaming app development features

1. Signup/Login

Treat these as separate features, though we have added them as one. Let's understand the importance of getting your user to sign up. You need to know your users better to nurture them to a premium plan or help them maximize the benefit. When they signup, you get the basic details that can help build a profile and a persona for your user.

The registration page should be easy-to-use and have a low learning curve. You can also add social integrations to allow users to sign up with their social media profiles.

Once the signup process is complete, the user should be navigated to the login page, where they can enter the video app using their credentials.

2. Profile Management

Every video streaming application, Amazon Prime & Netflix included, allows you to create profiles. They know a single family member will not be watching the show. They need to know who is watching and what kind of programs they are most likely to watch. How does this help? Suppose two people from the same family have started watching a series separately. They have reached different episodes, which results in them wanting to start from the same place. However, with the same profile, they will have to go ahead or back, depending on who watched it last. The different profiles ensure that the watch history is maintained, and you can keep your video life separate from your family's.

3. Content Search

You may realize that not every content is listed on the home page. Some of the content is hidden in the inner pages, and looking for them can prove futile. However, with the right content search feature, you can allow users to search for and start watching the content they want.

4. In-app Payments

When you have a subscription-based system for monetizing your application, you must ensure that the payments are done comfortably. For this purpose, you should link your payments to a proper subscription tool and build the payment feature.

If the payments are easy and multiple modes are accepted, users will be more than happy to direct the payments, encouraging more retention. More people will download the application and stream the videos when you make the usage easy and friendly.

5. Social Sharing

It will encourage more users to your application. Users are more likely to recommend when you add social sharing to your shows. People start watching shows recommended by their friends and family. When the link is shared to their inbox, the chances of conversion are higher. As a result, this is a recommended feature.

6. WatchList

We just discussed in one of the features how people love resuming their watch from where they left it. It is also essential for people to know the shows they watch. The watch list is more like a history of the shows they watched and allows them to resume it from where they left. 

Advanced Features You Need

With the advent of current technologies and many new trends, you will need to add advanced features of live streaming app that can improve the usability and accessibility of the application.

advanced features for live video streaming app development

1. Personalized Recommendations

This is one of the best features that set Netflix apart from most OTT platforms. Incorporating the strength of Machine Learning, the platform has been able to study the users, what they generally prefer, and offer recommendations.

Artificial Intelligence at the core of your video streaming application can improve the user's experiences. They may get to see more content that syncs with their viewing preferences. For example, a person who watches Stranger Things may get similar recommendations from the channel.

Apart from user experience, it also helps the user check out some exciting variety of content they didn't know existed.

2. Filtering Options

Again a Machine Learning is driven feature that can help you combat the excessive content on the particular steaming platform. Instead of delivering all the content and overwhelming the user, you can limit the content to the preferences and filter out the content they may not be interested in. AI algorithms and training sets can help with collaborative filtering models.

3. Multi-lingual Options

You should include an option for multiple languages. For instance, the user should be able to switch to subtitles in the most comfortable language. Similarly, they should be able to view the content in their preferred language. It is this multi-lingual option that can increase viewership.

4. Analytics

This is more for you. as a business, you need to know what data the user watches, what kind of content they like and how often they use the app. it will help you get more original content on the platform and encourage viewership.

5. In-video Advertisements

It has become important to place advertisements that are relevant to the end-users and the particular geography. Your video will be consumed by people across the globe. Ads in a particular country may not be relevant to the user in another country. Having built a profile and understanding the user’s demographic details can help you place ads that are relevant.

The AI algorithms will help dynamically replace the ads using pre-determined factors such as gender, preferences, interest, and of course geography. The training sets are derived to improve the placement and enhance the experience of ad viewing while watching the videos.

How to Build your Video Streaming Application?

If you are planning a live video streaming app development for the next big idea you have, here are a few things you need to consider.

how to build live video streaming application

Choose your Streaming Niche

Right at the start, we want to tell you that you may not always be building an OTT platform for on-demand videos. Nowadays, even the educational industry is making its live streaming platform. We have the fitness industry entering this segment. As a result, you need to choose your niche and sub-niche. Are you planning to create a live streaming video platform to help fitness enthusiasts offer entertainment or something completely different?

Content Offering for the Platform

The content is the second most crucial aspect of building an OTT or live streaming platform. How do you plan to get content your subscribers or viewers will like? Many platforms tend to strike a deal with the content creator and showcase them on the platform.

For example, Netflix started by airing content created by others before they started making it too. Would you like to offer renting solutions?

The content is the most crucial part of your on-demand live streaming platform.

The Monetization Model

Knowing how you plan to generate revenue after you build a streaming app is essential. For example, you can ask subscribers to pay monthly or yearly, which could be your prime source of revenue. You could also offer free ad revenue for those joining the platform.

It is equally important to plan the monetization model when planning the application. It will help you with adding the essential features.

Your monetization model’s profit depends on the streaming costs. A lot of businesses are looking at high-quality, low-cost streaming solutions. They want more customers to adopt the streaming service, which is why there is a demand to lower the cost.

For this purpose, you need to ensure that the streaming service consumes less bandwidth and occupies lesser space. With the help of Artificial Intelligence’s neural networks, you can optimize the bitrate, which can eventually lead to low latency and high-performance solutions. The training sets can help reduce the bitsize, which impacts the overall cost.

Plan the Pre-requisites

The technology pre-requisites, including the bandwidth and the infrastructure, are essential for your application development process.

You need to check the Internet speed before you plan the application. What speed would be the best fit for the streaming service you plan to provide.

The infrastructure should always be available, and the uptime should be high. That's why you need cloud hosting platforms that allow you to access video content. You will notice that the cloud infrastructure can improve the platform's flexibility and scalability.

Decide the Tech Stack

During the planning phase, you need to define the technology stack that can help improve the quality of streaming and add more video content for the business. Here we have defined the ideal technology stack to help you build the video streaming solution for your business idea.

  • MySQL, Cassandra, and Oracle for Database.
  • Java, Python, Swift, and Kotlin for languages.
  • Amazon EC2 and Amazon S3 could be your cloud service providers.
  • You could use the Node.Js framework for your backend application development. You can also use several JS libraries for frontend and mobile app development.
  • It would help if you indulged in DevOps for fast application development using version control tools like GitHub and Continuous Integration with Jenkins.

This is not a recommended tech stack; you will need all these technologies or tools to improve your business application.

Cost of Building a Video Streaming Application

When planning a business app for video streaming, you must also prepare for the cost. Here, we will discuss how you can calculate the cost of building the application.

how to calculate the cost of building the video streaming app

  1. UI/UX Design: how simple or complex your UI and UX design plan will help you plan the cost of building a video streaming application.
  2. Technology Stack: We just talked about this. You might be able to build a few things or a simple application with the free or basic version. However, if you plan to move beyond that, you need licenses or probably a subscription plan. That can add to your cost.
  3. Developer experience: A slightly experienced developer can do an excellent job if you are building a simple application. However, you need some specialists if you want expertise in adding data analytics and futuristic technologies. The cost goes up when you add another year to the experience. At this point, you also need to plan for the engagement model – hourly or fixed?
  4. The complexity of the application: If the application is simple with a subscription, no API integration, and basic UI, you can build it in approximately 400 hours, and the cost would be anywhere between $20k to $40k. A moderately complex application with custom features, backend, and other features can take up to 800 hours, while the most complex app will complete all customizations, animations, and real-time features. The developer timeline can go up to 1500 hours for the complex app solutions.

Note: All costs and approximations depend highly on the considered geographies, developers, and other factors. This is just a vague number; the actual cost can go above or below the mentioned number.

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How can Expert App Devs Help Deliver Cost-efficient Video Streaming Solutions?

Expert App Devs, as a leading video streaming app development company, offers extensive technology support. We have dedicated developers and specialists in all fields to create a video streaming app solution. You can say we have our full-stack of a development team that can help you translate your vision into reality.

With our expertise and successful deployment of AI/ML-based applications, we can reduce streaming costs, enable intelligent applications and enhance the viewing experience. We incorporate AI/ML at the core of the application to make it more personalized and experiential for the end-users.

Our experts build training sets that canlower the bitsize, optimize the video and how to make it available for lower bandwidths without compromising on the quality.

If you want to hire a dedicated developer for your next video app idea, connect with our team by filling out this short form.

Jignen Pandya-img

Jignen Pandya

Vice President at Expert App Devs

Responsible for creating a sales funnel, attracting top-of-the-funnel customers, and converting the target market.

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