How to build a Video Streaming App like Netflix, Amazon Prime or Hotstar?
There was a time when home entertainment was synonymous with television. Today the millennial generation wants entertainment on-the-go. As a result, apps like Netflix, Amazon Prime, Hotstar etc. are enjoying huge popularity.
Two easy conclusions can be drawn from these apps’ wide acceptance and reach. First, the demand for online movie streaming is enormous. Secondly, there is ample space for newbies to recreate the phenomenal success enjoyed by these popular apps.
Reasons for the success of movie streaming apps
Statistics prove that today these movie streaming app owners are making millions of dollars probably every second. So huge is the success and so stable the continuity that today almost everyone wants to replicate this success. But what makes these apps so successful. To understand that, a brief idea of video streaming becomes a necessity!
Streaming is a technical term used to denote continuous and non-stop data transmission using the internet thereby enabling payback to commence even before the reception of the data is complete. The data offerings can encompass a myriad of different subjects like:
- Access to videos on smartphones: The term “Mobile” is indicative of the portability of these phones. The compatibility of video streaming apps with the mobile makes it possible to view videos from anywhere and at any time. The choice of videos that can be watched is relatively much higher than the content that is available on television.
- Updates and notifications on common topics: These apps collect information about a viewer’s video-watching behaviour. Subsequently, they keep sending updates about various topics like weather broadcasts, current affairs, COVID-19 latest happenings etc. Notifications about upcoming online events, web series episodes, programs etc. are also sent based on the viewer’s choice.
- Fresh content: New content gets uploaded with frequent regularity. Thus there is never any dearth of content to watch; an important factor which enables non-stop data transmission by these apps.
But is it only the ocean of varied content available that makes these video streaming apps see such resounding success?
No, there are other important factors which co-contribute to the same as:
- Multi-platform support: Mobiles to desktops, tablets to laptops, smart TVs etc.; these movie streaming apps offer compatibility across all screens and cross-platforms. Even social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter etc. can be used to access these apps. This increases the utility of these apps.
- Multi-lingual support: Global viewership demands multi-lingual support. The demand for languages is as vast as the number of countries these apps stream videos and movies to. Catering to this demand ensures a huge increase in the target audience range and increases viewer engagement exponentially.
- Quality of video streaming: Bandwidths and quality of internet connections dictate the video quality that can be watched. Thus these movie streaming apps offer video qualities ranging from the superlative 4k to the very standard 240p. This increases the video viewing experience and enables the viewer to have a good movie watching experience.
- Social media integration: Networking is the key to online success. Video streaming apps facilitate this by integrating with social media platforms. Thus viewers can not only watch videos, but they can also invite friends to watch the same and build a network. Some apps also offer rewards for network building.
Used as a promotional tool, the social media apps provide a platform where views and opinions can be shared about common movies or videos watched. This entices others to go to these video streaming apps and see for themselves what others are commenting on. Effectively social media integration increases web traffic and brings in more users to the apps.
Monetisation of Video Streaming Apps
While the viewer gets so many benefits, what is it that makes their video watching experience such a lucrative business? How do these apps earn revenue? Subscription of course!
These apps provide multiple subscription options which cater to the different video demands of the users. Generally, the more unique the content, the better is the demand. This means that unique, original and interesting content draw the maximum number of viewers. Based on the user-base, a video enjoys video streaming apps like Amazon Prime, Netflix etc. have different types of subscription options like:
- Free Video Streaming: All of these apps have a system of providing new users or first-time users the facility to view their contents for free. This free viewing facility is given for a specific time after which, if the viewer wishes to continue, he needs to pay for the same. This enables the apps to collect data and build up a database of potential users for conversions.
- Paid Video Streaming: Herein users have to opt for a subscription plan based on the content that they want to view. After paying the subscription amount, the plan is added to their account and they can continue watching or streaming movies, videos, web series etc. till the plan stays valid.
- Profit Earning Apps for Video Streaming: There are contents over which an app has copyright claims. Such content can only be viewed after the viewer pays the required amount for the same. This is a good strategy for generating profit for app providers.
With such huge viewership, it becomes only natural for people to think of building a video streaming app to rival the current popular apps of Netflix, Amazon Prime etc. But before going on to talk about how to build a video streaming app, it is important to quickly summarise why these apps are so popular. Qualities which make these apps so popular are:
- Offering a certain fixed number of movies or during the initial trial period,
- Versatility wherein these apps are compatible with multiple viewing platforms,
- Availability of multiple in-app purchase options,
- User management and profile management can be easily done,
- Security is given top priority,
- User interface is designed to be catchy, interesting and visually appealing etc.
Steps to make a Video Streaming App
Making an app to rival apps like Netflix, Hotstar etc. is not an easy business. But it is also not impossible provided the maker ensures highest standards of adroitness. The whole process of movie streaming app making includes:
- Formulation of a good strategy by determining the scope of the project embarked upon,
- Forming a team of experienced and hardworking professionals who are experts in their fields,
- Identifying the software architecture pattern,
- Getting a PaaS account along with a reliable service for cloud streaming,
- Applying for the MBaaS account to make the app mobile compatible,
- Formulating a user subscription management policy along with enabling in-app purchase using relevant e-commerce APIs,
- Facilitating app development, coding it, testing it and then deploying it,
- Creation of mobile app user interface,
- Developing the app separately for the Android and iOS platforms and testing it before enabling its availability on Google Play and iOS platform respectively,
- Developed app needs to be published on iOS and Android stores separately and
- Enabling proper project management by the use of PM tools.
While iOS and Android are quite popular OS platforms for smartphone, there is a percentage of users who also use Windows and other OS platforms. For the movie streaming app developed to be successful, it needs to be compatible with as many OS as possible.
Technical Requirements for making a Moving Streaming App
For the smooth functioning of the app, there are certain technical specifications which need to be kept in mind like:
- Promising Interface: A rich, easy-to-use and easy-to-navigate interface designed using appealing themes helps attract traffic and enhances the movie streaming app performance. A simple login, great messaging options to deal with user queries, on-point reminder options for movies, web series, programs etc. are some tools which make for an attractive user interface.
- HLS Protocol: The user must get a superlative video viewing experience. Implementation of the streaming protocol HTTP Live enables broadcasters to stream the best quality content for the available internet connection at any moment.
- Cloud or On-premises hosting: Hosting possibilities should be flexible, scalable, secure and with ample scope for personalisation.
- CDN or content delivery network: CDN refers to the presence of a network of proxy servers and data centres situated across the globe in various geographical locations. The CDN network choice is important since it should have the ability to hold all the in-app content and also make it easily accessible. Selection for the same needs to be done based on the video buffer time, app bandwidth and performance etc.
- Security features: Cyber threats are the biggest challenge that an app faces. Thus the security of the app needs to be given priority. The app needs to have relevant protective measures in place so that financial and personal user data comes to no harm. App providers also need to protect their videos from hackers. Thus security features like video encryption, integration with digital rights management or DRM platforms, access control etc. need to be added at every level to counter any cyber threat that might attack the integrity of the app.
- Video player: This can easily be said to be the heart of every video streaming app for it determines the video output quality.
- Video content management: Organisation and management of content present in the app is a very important requirement. A good content management platform will help store the videos in the app library and also help with video scheduling. Thus it is very important for the smooth functioning of the app.
- Payment gateway: Security of the payment gateway is of utmost importance. It also needs to have multiple payment options to enhance user convenience. Integration of deals, offers and discounts in the payment gateway is another aspect which needs to be taken into consideration.
- Social media integration: This is a powerful marketing tool which will enhance the visibility and reach of the movie streaming app. Empowering users with the ability to share app videos, can increase viewership. Incorporating the social media ID login along with email or username login options will enable the app to increase viewer engagement.
- Analytics: This will help the app keep track of the user search history, videos and movies watched and downloaded and other such actions. Analysis of this data will enable app providers to further improve the movie streaming app and offer personalised notifications and suggestions to viewers.
- Monetisation: Revenue generation can be done either from subscriptions or from displaying ads. Thus options for the same also need to be incorporated. Other monetisation options include pay-per-view, incorporation of coupons and other promotional options, catch up TV etc.
But building the movie streaming app from scratch is quite an exhaustive process. While it is not impossible, it is always better to either:
- Customise a pre-built app as per requirements or
- Outsource the movie streaming app development to a third party.
This will ensure a good movie or video streaming solution which will be scalable, have impeccable features and enable customisation.