interactivated blog

magento & ecommerce

How to Start a Successful Video Streaming Platform

The video streaming industry is currently booming. Total revenue of US video streaming apps grew from $7.1 billion in 2015 to over $24.1 billion in 2020. Furthermore, experts forecast this trend to continue for the next five years at least. If you believe you’re capable of repeating the success of Netflix, then this guide is for you.

We’ll share everything you need to know about starting your own video streaming platform. We’ll list the common video service types and monetization methods, core functionality, and licensing requirements. Read and find out which points to consider at every stage of the process.

Choosing the Platform Model

Not all video streaming platforms are the same. The first step in creating your own site or app is deciding on the business model. Below, we’ll share some of the most popular video streaming platform types along with examples.

OTT

OTT stands for over-the-top media distribution. OTT video platforms deliver unique and premium content typically unavailable through other sources. Such services enable users to access their favorite TV programs via an Internet platform. Sometimes, OTT platforms make money from ads and their content is available for free. But more often, they use a subscription monetization model. Examples of OTT streaming services are Disney+, Netflix, HBO Max, YouTube TV, Hulu, Prime Video, and Sling TV.

Reselling or VOD

Launching an OTT streaming service requires immense investments. Instead of creating completely new content, you may consider reselling content from existing OTT services or other sources. Reselling is also commonly called VOD or video on demand, as such services offer entire catalogs of content. This model is based on purchasing licenses to videos and selling platform users access to them, often with additional functionality. Naturally, this model only works if the content isn’t available somewhere else for free. One of such platforms is Striv.TV. Apart from providing access to sports streaming videos, the platform lets users upload and manage content via a customizable dashboard.

Open Platform

An open video platform is one where registered users can freely upload their own content. It doesn’t require the platform owner to create any content or purchase licenses. The most well-known example of an open video streaming platform is YouTube.

Educational

Educational video streaming platforms enable users to improve their skills and knowledge without leaving their homes. Such platforms typically implement some sort of user testing to ensure the uploaded content is reliable. Examples of such platforms include Opencast, Panopto, and Skillshare. Often, educational streaming platforms take a specified fee from the teachers for allowing them to upload the content. Teachers or institutions, in turn, collect a fee from users willing to learn something new. Another common way of monetization among educational streaming services is a flat subscription fee.

Live Streaming Service

As the name suggests, such platforms provide access to live streams. Sometimes, the platform’s content relates to a specific topic, for instance, gaming or sports. The most popular examples of such platforms are Twitch and YouTube Live.

Live Streaming Service

Conducting Market Research

To define the most suitable business model, you should first conduct market research. There are plenty of video streaming platforms on the web, and to attract your audience you should find a free niche. There’s no need to reinvent the wheel. Even some of the most popular platforms aren’t available globally. For instance, Netflix is unavailable in the Middle East and Asia. Some video streaming services also may not offer content in your local language. Finally, the interface of available platforms may lack something important which you can improve. Use the lack of local offering for your advantage to launch an alternative to already existing services.

Choosing the Monetization Model

The core objective of any business is earning revenue, so choosing the right monetization method is crucial for business success. In this section, we’ll list the most common video service monetization types and their pros and cons.

Subscription

Subscription is a flat fee charged periodically. Users purchasing the subscription get access to the complete content catalog for a specified period. Afterward, they must repeat the payment to retain the right to watch their favorite shows. Subscriptions are commonly used by OTT, VOD, and educational video streaming services.

Pay-per-View

Another common monetization method among OTT, VOD and educational video services is pay-per-view. Users pay for every piece of content they want to watch individually. This monetization method can be combined with the subscription model to give users who don’t want to use your service regularly but just to access specific content.

Advertising

Open video streaming services typically earn money on advertisement. Ads can be placed into the content or as banners on the site. This method is often a part of the freemium model, where users pay extra for removing ads.

Freemium

With the freemium monetization model, all content or some part of it is available to all users. Users can pay a subscription to get additional perks, such as access to exclusive content, higher streaming quality, or removing ads.

Defining Platform Functionality

Now that you’ve found your niche and decided on the business model, it’s time to think about the app’s functionality. A consultation with a professional developer is of great help here. However, it’s worth learning about essential or commonly used video streaming platform features in advance to make the conversation more efficient.

Cloud Storage

Some features are optional for a video streaming service, though cloud storage integration is essential. A cloud storage system enables the platform to store endless amounts of content on external servers provided by third parties. Cloud storage reduces the risk of platform crashes during peak activity and ensures easy scaling. If your platform becomes successful and rapidly grows, you can simply connect more servers.

Cloud Storage

Recommendation Algorithm

A recommendation algorithm helps your users discover new, relevant content. It’s another essential feature of any video streaming platform. Firstly, all the major video services have it, so that’s already an industry standard. Secondly, users rarely know what exactly they’d like to watch. People often come to video streaming platforms for entertainment, and the platform’s goal is to let them relax and enjoy. Finally, the recommendation system boosts the platform’s revenues.

There are three recommendation system types:

  • Content-based system is a personalized algorithm that analyzes user’s preferences by certain criteria such as likes, searches, or genres. It then suggests similar content.
  • Collaborative filtering system recommends the same content to all uses based on overall user ratings.
  • Hybrid recommendation system is a complex algorithm that combines both approaches.

API

API stands for Application Programming Interface. An API takes care of your platform’s back-end and provides customization tools. It helps to encode, store, and optimize video delivery. Most modern video streaming services are utilizing API-based workflow.

White Labeling

White labeling is especially important for video reselling services. This term refers to the exclusion of any branding apart from your own. For instance, you purchase content from platform A to stream it on your site. White labeling enables you to change the A’s logotype on the video to your own, enhancing your brand’s recognition and professionalism.

User Registration

Registration is a basic feature of any video streaming platform. It enables you to provide personalized suggestions for users and receive payments. Registered users may also engage in discussions, save favorite content, or upload their own videos.

Reviews, Ratings, Comments

Most video streaming services are proper communities that let users engage in conversations and rate content. Consider adding these features to enhance the user experience and collect feedback.

Settings Panel

A typical video settings panel features video quality, sound level, subtitle selection, and playback speed control. This enables users to tailor the experience to their needs and preferences.

Social Sharing

Social sharing buttons help you reach new audiences, serving as a free marketing means. The ability to share favorite content and engage in discussions also transform regular video streaming service into a proper community.

Content Licensing

Like any business, video streaming platforms must comply with local and web legislation. The necessary licenses can be obtained directly from the copyright holder or authorized distributor. This point is only relevant for OTT and reseller video platforms. Such services typically spend immense sums on licensing annually. For a record, in 2018, Netflix spent nearly $13 billion on content licensing and production and earned about $16 billion. You don’t have to go as big as Netflix right away, though you’ll still have to make some investments.

High-Quality Interface Development

It’s up to you to choose which business model and monetization method are the best for your video streaming platform. However, application development requires a professional hand. Our team’s goal is to utilize the right tools to bring your ideas to life. Complex functionality isn’t an issue if you entrust its implementation to experts in the field. Contact us for a consultation or quote to start building a video streaming service that meets your highest expectations.

By interactivated • on August 10, 2021

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