As video consumption is growing worldwide, building the next video streaming app seems like a great idea. However, it takes a wealth of preparation and skills to implement your product and make it shine.

Thus, we share what it takes to create a profitable video streaming service. Learn how to survive in an over-crowded market and explore steps you should take in your app development journey.

What types of video streaming apps are there?

All video streaming services can be divided into 3 categories:

1.Video apps with user-generated content 

These apps let users create content and broadcast it to others. Think of YouTube or Likee as examples. Besides creating and sharing content, Likee also offers access to various video shooting & editing effects such as 4D Magic.

2.Video streaming applications with original content

View the content that you can’t find elsewhere. Hulu has been producing its original series since 2011 such as the HandMaid’s Tale, Casual and others.

3.Live TV streaming apps

Streaming from ordinary TV channels, these are useful whenever you can’t access TV. Hulu+Live TV streams all kinds of content from TV channels such as shows, sports, and news. Note also fuboTV – a football & sports streaming service that has become widely popular in the US.

Why create a video streaming app now?

In 2020, the video streaming market is growing and this tendency will continue. Videos are becoming easier to access and users tend to watch them more often. Thus, it now might be the perfect time for new players to enter the market.

Live video streaming application

More so, the PwC survey reveals some surprising statistics. 50% of consumers would subscribe to new services despite currently-existing video streamers. Even though they are satisfied with current services, they are still looking for more. Precisely, 64% of them would end the current subscription and make room for a new service (such as Disney+ and Apple TV+).

How do you win the battle for consumers with a new video streaming app?

Step 1. Differentiate by finding your niche & content type

Both large and small video streaming service providers have chosen to differentiate. Most of them offer specialized content for a specific group of users such as horror or comedy lovers. As you can see from the chart below, HBO Go focuses mostly on drama while Hulu makes 35% of all the upcoming comedy shows. Thanks to such distinct positioning, a new-born service Shudder has become a reputable source in the horror & thriller genre. 

Probably, you already have an idea of a video streaming app you want to create. You could stream one of the following content types:

  • Shows and news from TV channels
  • A particular genre of TV series
  • Sports events 
  • Conferences, webinars, courses
  • Live gaming events
  • Cartoons & educative videos for children
  • Japanese cinema etc.

To help you decide, here is the chart of popular streaming content genres in US.

Once you’ve figured out what content you will deliver and for whom, it’s time to plan the specifics.

Step 2. Plan the licensing

Unless you’re creating an app for non-commercial or private use, you will need a license. It serves as a kind of permission from the copyright owner to use any third-party content. Apps with user-generated content will also require their permission to stream it. 

The cost of your license depends on many factors:

  • Video format (whether it’s HD, 4K or SD)
  • Reach area (regional, national or worldwide)
  • License duration (2, 5 years or interminable) 
  • Intended use (for education, commerce or else).

Include this into your app development costs and know your license provider beforehand. For instance, you might contact sports leagues and associations to stream their events and matches in real-time.

Learn from the leaders

At the time, Netflix spent millions on licenses from US studios and production houses. As a result, they gathered a large collection of TV shows and movies in one place and won users’ attention. Low price of a single package brought in a large number of subscribers and high revenues. Precisely, 167 million streaming subscribers in 2019.

Step 3. Choose your target OS & platforms

Smartphones and tablets are currently two leading platforms in a video streaming market. The key reasons for this are easy access to the Internet and portability. However, the smart TV segment is predicted to grow as well, thus more apps are targeting this device.

It’s smart to begin with a single OS and expand to others later. This way, you can test your app with users and see how well it’s perceived before moving to other platforms. At the end of the day, you want to reach your target audience when they need it. Thus, study your users’ behavior & develop an app fitting their lifestyles.

Step 4. Choose your monetization & revenue model

In 2020, the cost is among the primary factors influencing consumer’s choice of a streaming app. As new services enter the market, 60% of users expect to pay more for video services a year ahead. 21 % of them are willing to pay more for the ad-free content. What does it mean for you? Via your app, offer various subscription & pricing plans to answer each user’s unique needs.

More and more companies choose a hybrid subscription-and-ads model. This way, you can ensure flexible pricing while speeding up revenue growth.
For instance, users could access the ad-free and original content via a Premium plan or choose a free trial with ads included. Figure out what works for you – that’s the key to success.

Step 5. Get the development done

Once the main business aspects are well-thought-out, it’s time to start the development fun. Some of the core features of video streaming applications are:

  • Registration
    You can offer several registration options – via Facebook, Google account, or email. Also, consider adding an onboarding guide to help users navigate through the app.
  • Admin panel
    You need this to manage users’ accounts & content.
  • Search & filtering
    By browsing through various genres/types of videos, one should find fast a necessary item. Filtering by user ratings, popularity, data or genre can simplify user journey.
  • Payment option
    Integrating several payment options can simplify user purchases. Stripe and PayPal are the most commonly used methods.

Some other recommended features are: 

  • Videos download option
  • Chat & discussion forums
  • Social sharing

Discuss with your video app development company what the best-fit technologies to implement your app are. Since each project has its own requirements, there is no one-fit-all solution. Even using Node.js for a similar-type project doesn’t mean it will fit yours as well. Thus, identify your priorities, app structure and get help from a reliable technology partner.

Step 6. Publish

Once your application is developed and tested, it’s time to release it to App stores and make it go live. To publish the application on the App Store and Google Play you will need to buy a developer’s account.

The pricing is as follows:

  • App Store: 99 USD / year
  • Play Market: 25 USD one-time.

Specifics of video streaming apps – what should you know?

Low latency and high bandwidth

Video streaming apps need to transfer and process large amounts of data superfast. Since video files are huge, they are chopped into pieces and sent to users one by one. 

In tech terms, video data is compressed by an encoder and placed into a container. 

To speed up content delivery, many services tend to use global Content Delivery Networks (CDNs). CDN is a network of servers distributed around the globe. Using a source closer to a user, one can reduce the video latency and get the content delivered as fast as possible.

Users can view videos via a web browser, a mobile device or a smart TV. Each device has another resolution, the Internet connection speed and might require a different streaming protocol. Some of the commonly-used video streaming protocols are:

  • HLS by Apple (required for iOS devices)
  • RTMP (platform-independent: works with Linux, Windows, Mac, Android, iOS)
  • SRT (Secure Reliable Transport)
  • HDS by Adobe (for devices supporting Adobe Flash Player).

Streaming protocols define how the content will be delivered over the web to the end-users. Thus, it’s crucial to make the right choice.

Summing up

If you still have questions, explore how Vakoms client has turned from a small startup into a leading football streaming service in the US. It’s all about great ideas and the right software development team to implement them. Get advice from a reliable tech partner to find out whether your idea is worth building now.