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Online streaming services play a vital role in today’s tech-driven world by allowing you to watch anytime, anything, on almost all the smart devices available in the market. According to Grand View Research, the size of the video streaming market is globally expected to reach $224 Billion by the year 2028.
There are a number of online streaming applications that have captured the market efficiently such as Netflix, Amazon Prime, Hulu, etc. If we talk about Netflix, it is a leading video streaming application with a list of more than 110 million paid subscribers in the United States of America only.
In this article, we will take a look at how to create a live streaming app along with looking at some important information about the growing mobile streaming industry before comparing apps for broadcasting and watching mobile video content.
So, let us dive in!
What is a Live Streaming App?
A live-streaming app is an app that allows users to record and broadcast video simultaneously. Such apps have grown in numbers in recent years, thanks to high-speed internet and advanced camera technologies.
These apps have fueled influencer marketing, entertainment, business marketing, and the way people interact over the internet. The following are some of the live streaming apps that are highly popular amongst users:
- Facebook Live
Facebook Live is well known for its Live calling features. On the other hand, Twitch is a well-known platform for gamers to broadcast their gaming sessions. Additionally, Douyu is the Chinese alternative version of Twitch, which boasts a higher number of active users.
What are the Types of Streaming Applications?
There are a number of different live streaming apps floating around the various popular app stores. So if you plan to find out how to create a live streaming app, we suggest finding out what kinds of video streaming apps there are:
Live Broadcasting Apps
It is one of the most popular types of streaming media. This is when you watch videos in a real-time mode. It’s recorded and broadcasted simultaneously. You can build a live streaming app that broadcasts how users play games(Twitch), how they talk about different things, or even how they simply answer questions online(Periscope, Instagram Live, Facebook Live). The most popular live streaming apps are Facebook Live, YouTube Live, Livestream, Periscope.
In this type of streaming media, the principle is the same that users can listen to music without downloading it. Everything is simple. Pandora, Spotify, Apple Music are the most popular music streaming services you can find today.
Video on Demand Streaming (VOD)
This one makes it possible for users to watch TV series and movies without downloading them on devices. However, a distinctive feature is that they can pause content, resume, and rewind it. As a rule, users have to pay for a subscription to have access to the content. Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon Prime Video are leaders in this area.
TV Live Streaming App
The final streaming type that allows users to watch TV online. But, when they switch to on-demand video streaming services, they lose their favorite TV shows, sports channels, series, and so on. That’s why companies create live streaming apps with TV broadcasting. Hulu, Youtube TV, Amazon Prime Video are video on demand platforms but they also have plans for TV live streaming.
What are the Considerable Factors While Creating a Streaming App?
There are 4 key factors that you must consider before creating an online streaming service: market niche, platforms, monetization strategy, and license. This will help you in defining the project goal, target audience, and the way how you will make money with your video streaming app. A license is required to ensure compliance with the law.
1. Defining the Market Niche
To create a successful application, you should choose a niche on the market. Apart from on-demand video streaming service, there are many other options. Will you provide users with live broadcasts of sports events or show them world-famous cartoons, it depends on your interest.
Here are the types of content that you can stream:
- Sports events
- Video games
- Personal content
- Educational content
- Live tours
- Events such as meetups, conferences, speeches
2. Operating Systems
Although a top priority is to create a streaming service application, consider building your product for iOS and Android, too. This will help you in attracting more customers while increasing their satisfaction.
It is suggested by the following: first, build a web solution and analyze user feedback that you can collect through reviews, comments, social networks, polls, surveys, etc. Then, if based on user reaction you see that many people really want to have a smartphone app, you will launch a mobile version, too.
3. App Monetization Strategy
Integrating the right monetization model is a critical issue to generate profit and not to disturb the user experience. While Netflix provides paid subscription, there are plenty of other monetization strategies that you can choose between.
- Advertising: Display ads and charging companies for placing them inside your video streaming app.
- Freemium: Some content is available for free but users have to pay in order to access exclusive videos.
- Ad Blocking: As multiple ads can disrupt the user experience, you can charge customers for blocking them.
- Paid Subscription: One of the most popular strategies in video streaming solutions. To access video content, users make payments on a weekly, monthly, or annual basis. You can offer a free trial as Netflix does, so that people can try your product first.
4. Content License
In order to distribute content, every organization should ensure law compliance. You should buy a license to meet the required standards and stream videos. You can acquire a license by:
- Directly contacting the copyright owner.
- Renting the desired content from a distributor who has the right to provide such licenses.
You can use both options to meet user demand. Additionally, think about purchasing exclusive rights for streaming certain TV shows, films, or series. No other website or application will be entitled to show them, which means that you will have more loyal customers.
How to Start a Streaming Service App?
There are enormous steps that you need to follow in order to create a powerful streaming services app of your own.
STEP 1: Finding the Niche
The first thing to do is to decide what content your app will stream to users. To give you a clue on profitable steaming niches, we have mentioned some key ideas below:
- Entertainment. Netflix and HBO show us that entertainment streaming services are very profitable. The audience is big enough to accommodate a new streaming provider.
- Fitness. Fitness is another prospective niche for VOD services. People would love to pay for a subscription to have access to fitness-related videos anytime. Besides, you can add different video categories, like yoga, dance training, or a healthy diet to enhance a wider audience.
- Education. Nowadays, people are more likely to watch “How to” videos, rather than reading tutorials and instructions. Moreover, you can choose from many sub-niches, like magic tricks, cake making, or even origami to attract a specific audience.
STEP 2: Deciding the Availability of Content
As the content is the basis of your on-demand streaming service, you need to determine what your content will be.
- Would you use videos from other distributors?
- Or, would you want to create your video content?
If you want to cooperate with video distributors, you need to get a license for public performance. There are two ways to deal with that:
- Renting a movie from the authorized distributor with licenses
- Contacting the copyright holder
Both options are great, and the choice depends on the goals of your business. If you choose the first option you might contact one of two leading authorized distributors or movies and T.V. series in the USA:
- Motion Picture Licensing Corporation (MPLC)
- SWANK Motion Pictures
STEP 3: Choosing the Model of Monetization
For an on-demand video service you can opt between three methods of video monetization:
- Pay-Per-View: It is the most straightforward pricing scheme which means the user pays for each video to watch. You can apply this model if you want to develop a platform to broadcast concerts, trade shows, conferences, or sports events, like boxing and MMA.
- Advertising: You can charge other companies for running video advertisements on your platform. Still, this monetization strategy would only work if your platform will become famous among users.
- Subscription: As you remember, Netflix uses this exact monetization strategy. Besides, the subscription model is used by a third of professional broadcasters. Subscribers are charged a monthly fee to receive access to a content library. You can use this monetization technique if you will regularly release new content on your platform.
STEP 4: Analyzing the Requirements of Your Streaming Service App
You will be needed to maintain a balance in the following performance characteristics for efficient working of your video:
1. Speed of the Internet
Internet speed impacts the platform’s ability to stream on-demand videos. The minimum internet speed to stream standard definition movies is more than 2 Mb/s (megabits per second). But to broadcast HD, 3D or 4K, your Internet speed must be much higher. Let us check the Netflix example.
2. Computing Architecture and Cloud Hosting
For keeping video content we recommend using cloud hosting platforms since cloud hosting has the following advantages:
- Cloud hosting platforms are flexible and increase the amount of space automatically.
- Such platforms allow quick access to video content
- Cloud hosting platforms are cheaper than hard drives
An on-demand video platform requires complex architecture. As your business develops, the complexity of your architecture will only increase. Subsequently, you need to think about your platform scaling from the very beginning. In this way, you can avoid complex data migrations.
Moreover, you can use cloud computing capabilities for many operations, including:
- Search engine
- Recommendation system
- A\B testing
- Streaming service
- Caching architecture
3. Network Connectivity
Even if your online streaming platform doesn’t grow quickly, consider that it will scale up in the future. To achieve this, you need to integrate a content delivery network to your service. The content delivery network (CDN) broadcasts videos to subscribers via a server network. CDN turns your streaming app into a scalable system to handle significant traffic.
You need to consider content protection from unauthorized access across customer devices. To ensure that your video streaming service is secure, consider the following:
- Network background provides 24/7 monitoring and content availability in the case of server failure.
- Token security prevents access to the videos of a 3rd-party source without your approval.
- Domain restriction locks content to a specific domain. Thanks to this feature, other users cannot see the embedded link in the source code and insert it into another platform or website.
- Geographical restriction excludes specific locations due to licensing agreements.
- Watermarking provides an extra level of live stream security. Thus, you maintain the rights to your content.
5. Payment Gateway
In order to provide your subscribers with various payment options, you can use the following popular payment solutions:
- Stripe, which supports subscription services, has premade UI components and an API-first approach to customize the payment gateway for your platform.
- 2CheckOut, which supports payments via Visa, Discover, MasterCard, JCB, PayPal, or other credit/debit cards.
- PayPal Payments Pro, which allows you to create and host your own checkout pages for complete control.
- Braintree. This payment gateway operates in over 40 countries and accepts payments in more than 130 currencies.
STEP 5: Creating an On-demand Streaming Service MVP
The last part of our article on how to start a streaming service is the development stage. During this stage you must clarify functional and non-functional requirements, set timelines, think about the design, and so on.
Moreover, Pay extra attention to your proposed platform design since a number of user experiences are the key to the success of the streaming service app. The platform needs an intuitive user interface. Thus, users can easily navigate films and shows, create “lists,” search by genre, actor, director, and so on.
STEP 6: Gathering the Feedback
After the MVP launch, you need to gather user feedback from your platform. First, you need to find out how they like the existing features. Then, you can ask them what features they would like to add to your on-demand video service. This step will help you to understand the experience of real users with your service. You can gather user feedback in several ways:
- Email survey.
- Social media.
Alas! We are done with the development part finally.
Now, let us move ahead and understand some of the key features of a streaming service app.
What are the Key Features of a Streaming App?
Here are some of the important and must-have features that a live streaming app must possess:
- User sign up/sign in – A simple registration form for the users to create an account and log in to the app with the credential.
- Live Streaming – Allows the user to record and broadcast a live stream to members who have subscribed to his/her channel or the public.
- Search – A search box that lets users search content by topic, popularity, trending, channel, location, or interests.
- User Profile – Show the user’s personal info and profile picture to friends and subscribers.
- User Gallery – Store and organize recorded videos on the user’s profile.
- Commenting/Rating system – Live streaming apps thrive on social engagement. Therefore, it’s important to include a commenting/rating system to allow users to leave feedback on the video.
We hope that you will find our article helpful if you are a professional streaming service app developer or even at a beginner level and planning to develop your own live streaming application. Now, you will have a better idea of which platform is most viable for streaming content and the process it takes to build a live streaming app.