Technological progress and the pandemic in particular have drastically changed how people treat entertainment and watch video content.
For example, YouTube had 2 million monthly active users in 2020. Users spent 100 billion hours watching more than 40 million+ active gaming channels alone in 2020. According to data collected from YouTube, Twitch, Facebook, and other streaming services, the popularity of the video streaming industry rose by 99% in 2020.
Why watch traditional television when you can watch whatever movie or TV series you like, or any other content, at any time?
Netflix, a streaming platform for on-demand videos, is popular all over the world. It surpassed major cable providers for viewers in the US in 2017. As of October 2018, Netflix had a market cap of $131 billion. In 2020 it had nearly 200 million subscribers.
Video on Demand services “steal” up to 15,000 more people from traditional television every day. It’s predicted that in a few years, the market will be overcrowded with video streaming services. The best time for your own streaming application development is now!
Read on to learn more about live streaming apps:
- Types of video streaming apps
- Steps to making a video streaming app
- Features streaming software should include
- How to monetize the app once it’s ready
- HQSoftware shares its own experience in video streaming development
Types of Video Streaming Apps: a Market Overview
The number of streaming services available today is so overwhelming you can easily get lost going through them!
Video on demand (or VoD) apps like Netflix and Hulu, streaming services such as YouTube and Twitch, even streams in Instagram and video chats in Skype can also be considered part of this group.
But it turns out, all of these apps can be categorized into just two groups.
Types of video streaming apps.
Here they are.
Video streaming apps
In this type, the video has been uploaded previously, and now users can watch it any time they wish.
The best examples here are services such as Netflix, Hulu, and HBO Now. These applications provide access to previously downloaded content from movie and series distributors, sometimes focusing on live TV, too. They may even produce their own media content.
Video broadcasting, live video apps
Here, you can only see video being broadcast right now.
There are two subtypes:
- TV providers who have decided to keep up with trends and customer preferences by offering live TV channel streaming, on-demand video, and pre-recorded past shows.
- Applications that allow any user to stream their personal content. Twitch is the most popular example — a live-streaming platform for gamers. Some mobile apps that were first designed for different purposes now provide streaming tools, too, such as Instagram, Facebook, or Periscope.
There is huge market demand for video content, and businesses can benefit from this.
Here’s some evidence:
The popularity of video streaming apps.
Between 2018 and 2019 the number of people who watched video streams rose by nearly 73%. Isn’t that impressive?
And according to GoGlobe, 60% of marketers who work for businesses state that video streams motivate customers to provide real-time feedback and point out that this content can be reused later. Which is great for any company’s marketing department.
So let’s figure this out: How exactly do you make a video streaming application?
Making a Video Streaming App: The Process, Step-by-step
Before you read on, let’s clarify something.
In this guide, I will be talking about the process to be followed in terms of partnering with a video streaming app development company.
Because streaming services demand advanced technologies and software development methodologies and best practices, they need various types of technical specialists to be involved, from System Architect to developers with various skills.
Once you have found a reliable software development vendor, you’ll be ready to create a live streaming application.
How to make a video streaming app?
These are the steps.
Understand your needs
First, determine what type of Video on Demand app development service you need. It mostly depends on your business purpose.
If you have a hard time deciding whether what you want is live streaming app development or a VoD app development, or are otherwise hesitant about the next step, ask for help.
Head of Production
HQSoftware is a reliable software development company that will provide you with help from a professional business analyst.
This specialist will help you determine your business goals and advise on how to achieve them with the help of a particular streaming application.
Determine technical requirements
What amount of content do you want to store for users? Will users be able to upload their own content? What streaming codecs will provide the best backend performance?
The list of technical requirements can go on and on:
- Platform and device support
- Number of online sessions started simultaneously
- Suitable architecture (e,g. microservices) and other questions
But don’t worry!
A business analyst and other technical specialists will help you build a thorough technical specification. This will include a detailed description of the project and all back- and front-end requirements to ensure that your video app turns out great!
Build a team
Usually, the team required to build a live streaming app consists of the following specialists:
A streaming software development team: list of required specialists.
- Project manager
- Software developers
- Business analyst
- UX/UI designers
- Web developers
- Android and/or iOS developers
- Testers and Quality Assurance engineers
A project manager is responsible for managing the team efficiently and with attention to the budget. The team often follows a methodology that has been proven effective, e.g. Scrum.
Choose a Content Delivery Network and Reliable Hosting
A reliable Content Delivery Network, or CDN, is a must-have if you are planning on scaling your server. This is an issue that needs to be solved ahead of time for any type of project; you never know when you’ll need extra server capacity.
A faultless CDN will allow for error-free content delivery. Another facet of a good video experience is reliable hosting.
Picking a reliable CDN and hosting.
Wisely chosen hosting provides faultless streaming, ensures that video quality is high and that numerous users can watch a stream at once uninterrupted.
There are good off-the-shelf solutions like Amazon S3 that will suit the majority of streaming apps. But you can always turn to your development team for a different solution.
Build attractive design — both UX and UI
An attractive design and a well-thought-out user interface wins customers, am I right?
Appearance means a lot, especially when your application is targeting a wide audience. All your future users will judge the application by its initial look.
A skilled UX/UI designer will analyze competitors, find the keys to successful promotion on the market, apply modern, efficient interface design and architecture patterns, and there you are: a perfect-looking application with a user-friendly interface.
Add basic features and maybe even some advanced ones
Choose the functionality of your application wisely!
The functionality of streaming apps.
All features can be divided into two groups:
- Basic features. With these features, you can build an MVP or your application, test the business idea, and use an application by yourself before releasing it to the market. These features often display the core functionality of the product.
- Advanced features. These are features specific to your business or that provide extra functionality that your users will love — but could live without.
You will learn more about features in the next block of this article.
The rule is simple, though.
First, develop the MVP and see how your application works; does it meet your expectations and those of the market?
If everything is okay, start adding some extra features!
Perform testing of your streaming application
It’s a disappointing experience when you use an app and it doesn’t work well. It freezes, buttons do not trigger actions, the content doesn’t load — this is an easy way to lose the audience.
To deliver a fault-free experience with your app, it’s important not to ignore rigorous testing — the process of finding bugs and errors in software before it is released to the market.
That’s especially true when it comes to applications as complex and loaded as streaming services. That’s why you definitely should include testers and Quality Assurance engineers in your development team.
Develop a video streaming solution with us!
At HQSoftware, we are ready to provide you with the best-in-class developers that will share their experience in video solutions development.
Head of Sales
Once you are done with testing, you are ready to deploy!
Now that you know how the development process proceeds, it is time to think about what exact features you want in your video streaming app.
Let’s dig deeper into the topic and learn more about features.
Features of video streaming applications
There are a huge variety of features that can be included in media streaming software development.
They can be divided into two groups:
- Basic features
- Advanced features
This group includes features significant to any type of streaming software. Your users expect to find these features in the app because they represent its core functionality:
Usually, the simplest way for a user to register in the app is to enter their email and get a confirmation link. After that, the app provides the user with a personal account.
Creating a personal user profile
The next step to using an account is to create a user profile: entering the user’s name and other personal data, adding a profile description and photo, etc.
Basic features in streaming apps.
Depending on the type of app you’re building, this will be a feature for users to conduct their own streams, or for streaming of pre-uploaded content.
A skeleton option for any application that offers content. The search function allows the user to find relevant content by name, type, category, author, etc.
This feature is not visible to users but is very important for providing a good user experience. A well-thought-out back end on the server side is able to convert stream content into the codec that best suits various users, depending on their device, platform, or internet speed.
To add some extra functionality to your app, turn to advanced features.
These features are those your MVP doesn’t need in the beginning. But if you want to enhance your product and attract more users, see the list of features below:
Signup via social network
The easiest way to access any service, one that the majority of users love. Allow them to choose the preferred social network to sign up with one click.
Personal profile management
Go further and offer even more profile management options — let users add their own interests, manage subscriptions, see their search history, and more.
Advanced features in streaming apps.
For applications that allow users to set up their own streams, you could develop options such as donations, user chats, comments, and so on.
Advanced search filters
Let users find what they want to watch using a broader variety of filters, for instance game title, actor name, series description, release date, and so on.
There are a variety of privacy options for both types of streaming apps. But both must protect personal user data. Additionally, those apps that allow any user to stream may offer to hide a user’s content from particular people, or hide live status. Streaming services like Netflix should keep your payment and other personal data safe.
Now that the stage of media streaming software development is over, what’s next?
Monetization is definitely your next step.
How to Monetize Your Video Streaming App
Now we’ll take a look at monetization methods you could use with your new app.
But first, it’s important to know how much it will cost to develop the app itself. With this information, you can choose the most appropriate method of monetization.
How much does it cost to make an app for video streaming?
Ask any video streaming app development company and they will say that the maximum price depends on the client’s wishes. The more features they want to add, the higher the price.
Other factors that affect the price of a streaming application app are:
What parameters affect the price of a streaming app.
- The number of users the application will be able to serve simultaneously
- The ability to convert streams on the go
- The quality of pre-uploaded content
- The look of the app and the quality of UX
The more complex and loaded the application will be, the higher the price.
But how exactly do various features affect costs?
Let’s take a simple streaming app and address its features and development stages separately:
What parameters affect the price of a streaming app.
- Simple wireframing and design. With this and all subsequent services provided at an hourly rate of $50, the cost of design will be $900 and the process will take up to 18 hours.
- Core features development. All the basic features we have mentioned above will take at least 60 hours of development and will cost $3000.
- At least one advanced feature. Let’s take social components, for example. They will take around 24 hours of development and will cost $1200.
- Testing and QA. At least 60 hours will be spent on testing, which will cost around $3000.
So in total, for a very simple streaming app you will pay at least $8100. To cut these costs, you can turn to companies with lower rates that do not compromise quality; take a look at software development companies from eastern Europe, e.g. Estonia and Belarus.
Now, let’s examine how to turn all these investments into a solid revenue stream.
How to make money on VoD apps
There are three main monetization methods after the media streaming software development is done. This is how OTT platforms earn money:
Paid applications. The simplest way to earn money on your application is to make users pay for it. Once the transaction is completed, the user can install your software and access all of its features at once. This is a rare type of monetization for a streaming app because the majority of them sell paid subscriptions, which we will discuss next.
How to monetize streaming apps?
Freemium. This type of monetization implies that any user can get the app and even some of the content for free. The rest of the content and some premium features are distributed only to subscribers. Take into account that, for example, Netflix had up to 200 million subscribers in 2020 with subscription costs around 8 to 12€ per month. It seems that freemium is the most successful monetization method for such apps.
Ads in the app. You can show your partners’ ads in the application to thousands of your users. If they don’t like seeing ads, they can access a paid ad-free plan. For example, Hulu has a standard subscription and a premium one that removes ads from the app and costs twice as much.
You are all set up! Just pick a team, develop your application, and choose how to monetize it.
Read on to learn about our experience and find something that inspires you.
Our experience: how we built and enhanced video apps
We at HQSoftware developed a Video-on-Demand application for travelers who take a medium-haul flight.
The application streams licensed media content, including live TV. The application is available for travelers while they are on the plane, at the airport, and in the city.
The features include:
- Live TV streaming
- Pre-recorded TV content delivery
- Partner advertising
- Hotel booking, car rental, and other third-party services
Entertainment Application for Air Travelers, on and off board
A telecommunication services provider partnered with us to improve their users’ experience.
They have an online cinema application on their website that they wanted to update by introducing a new slider player and a video player to streamline content. The developed application works on any mobile device and looks good on screens of any resolution.
Developers at HQSoftware enhanced the performance of the player, making sure that visual hover effects look attractive and perform smoothly.
Enhancing Performance of Online Cinema
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