On-Demand Streaming App Development: How to Build a Mobile or Web Application
The online streaming industry is in the prime of its life. No wonder, as such services can be a decent replacement for TV, radio, fitness studios, books & many other offline services.
The demand for streaming services has also significantly increased because of the COVID-19 restrictions.
According to Market.us research, users spend 32% of their time on streaming services. Moreover, 54% of them spend more time on these services than they used to before the lockdown. This shows us that the demand for online streaming services increases day by day.
One more thing we’d like to point out is that streaming services are often associated with movies and series platforms like Netflix and the ones for music like Spotify.
In fact, the scope of online streaming is much broader than some people assume.
There are services that offer cooking, yoga, sporting events, concerts, and even nature sounds streaming & so much more.
So, if your business has anything to do with audio or video content, you most likely will be able to broadcast it on the streaming service.
✅ Top Things Worth Attention When Making an On-Demand Streaming Platform
On-demand streaming platform development is quite a challenging process — all devices’ technical possibilities are different.
Thus, it’s complicated to build a solution that will be well-optimized for each and every user. Besides, there are other things you should consider before starting the development.
So before reviewing the functionality, let’s tackle some other points that are essential for on-demand streaming platform development.
Monetization Models 💲
One of the first questions all business-incubators will tell you to think about is: How do I make money with my idea?
And even if you have a successful offline business that brings you thousands of dollars monthly, online business monetization works a bit differently.
There are 3 main ways to make a profit out of your streaming service.
# 1: Subscription
This model is one of the most popular ones among streaming platforms.
If you go with this one, you’ll have to set a certain fee that clients have to pay to keep using your streaming site.
Besides, most services offer a free trial so their potential users get an opportunity to check whether they like the platform and are willing to pay for it or not.
You should also consider making various subscription options. For instance, “Basic”, “Standard”, and “VIP” — all of them will then have a different level of access.
Sometimes, companies also offer their users a free subscription with a limited number of features.
Additionally, there’s often a family subscription. It costs a bit more than other ones but allows users to add family members into the account and simultaneously use the service from multiple devices. It’s a good way for users to engage their friends and family members to use your services, too.
Don’t forget to inform your clients about how they can cancel the subscription or change the plan, as the absence of such instructions can be repellent. This way, you can create trustworthy relationships with your customers, as well as do everything in your power to see a profit increase for yourself.
|Case Study: CorepowerYoga|
|CorepowerYoga is an on-demand streaming service for yoga classes.
They offer on-demand yoga classes for various muscle groups and of different formats & lengths. They also make live streams from time to time.
Their monetization model is subscription. Before asking users to buy a certain subscription, they offer them a free trial which is one of the most popular models for such services.
# 2: Advertising
This one is quite simple — you charge other companies to place their advertisements on your platform. It’s also possible to add product placements in the video content itself (if it’s suitable for its topic).
Let’s take a look at YouTube. Their services are entirely free but you have to watch ads in the videos from time to time. However, if you subscribe to YouTube Premium — the ads will be gone.
If you have audio materials on your streaming site, look at what Spotify did. They put a short advertising record (no more than 5 seconds) while the song was playing. This went only for their free version. If users get the paid subscription, such things won’t be relevant anymore.
# 3: Pay-per-action
Normally, the name is pay-per-view but we decided to modify it so it would fit a wider range of business types.
It can fit you if you want to broadcast some events like concerts or sports — something to offer one-time access to.
It’s also popular to sell access to books, movies, and songs.
However, this business model is slowly fading aways — if you choose it, there will be someone offering similar services for a monthly subscription, which tends to be seen as more beneficial among customers.
Users’ Internet Connection 📶
Internet connection plays a significant role in online streaming services — it impacts the quality, the speed of loading, and so on.
If the speed isn’t fast enough, the loading can take ages which isn’t good for the user experience.
Thus, to prevent such an inconvenience, you should offer various quality options (from 360p to 4K is quite a wide range). And don’t load the connection with unnecessary requests.
The minimum internet speed needed for broadcasting definition movies is 2 megabits per second (Mb/s).
But for high qualities like 1080p and 4K, the speed has to be much higher of course.
In addition, it’s great to offer your clients an opportunity to download the content — the connection might not be stable all the time.
Thus, they’ll be able to download everything they want when it’s stable and access the materials when it’s not.
All of that is most important if you want to make a video streaming website because of the video quality.
Age Restrictions 🔞
If your website has content that can’t or shouldn't be freely broadcasted to all ages, you should notify your viewers about it.
Normally, such content will be marked as 14,16, or 18+, depending on its type. Alternatively, you can add a disclaimer.
Besides, you can ask for users’ age during the sign-up process and then show the relative content.
Another great way to deal with this aspect is by adding a so-called kids lock or kids account option.
Parents or adults can mark this account as “for kids” and the content will be automatically filtered according to the restrictions.
|Case study: Feel amazing|
|Once Feel amazing project reached out to us — the project of a British hypnotherapist and motivational keynote speaker Ailsa Frank. It helps people overcome their bad habits and grow as a person by offering motivational video and audio materials as well as live streams.
It’s quite a small on-demand solution but as we heard from Ailsa, her project is doing quite well on the market.
The content includes certain sensitive topics regarding alcohol and smoking. For that reason, we developed the Child Lock feature that hides courses with age restrictions.
Security & Video Encryption 🔐
For the sake of your content and users’ personal data security, you should undertake some action to provide this level of security.
Here’s the list:
- Regular technical audits to detect any failures or breaches in the security system.
- Locking the content to a certain domain so that the code can’t be copied and inserted into another system.
- Licensing and compliance with regulations. But that depends on the type of content you provide, though.
For example, to offer movies and series, you need to either buy them from an authorized distributor or get copyrights yourself.
Besides, you should encrypt your content while broadcasting as well as downloading.
To understand how encryption works, we recommend you to watch this video from Mashable. The information is visualized really well here:
That particular example is with text messages, but practically, the scheme with video encrypting works similarly.
It’s not only important to protect your copyrights and your content from being watched out of your service.
It’s not only important to protect your copyrights and your content from being watched outside of your service, but also to protect it from frauds since they can publish your content illegally which will lead to law violations.
Cloud Hosting 💭
To store content and show it to your viewers, it needs to be placed somewhere else first, right? Nowadays, one of the most agile places to do it is a cloud hosting server.
Cloud hosting is a network of both physical and virtual servers that aren’t dependent on but connected to each other.
The main difference from regular hosting servers is that the website isn’t placed on a single server but the content is spread all over the network.
To better structure the information, we recommend you to watch this video on cloud hosting from GoDaddy:
Cloud hosting is quite a popular option due to several reasons:
- It scales together with your business.
- You pay for the exact amount of storage you use — nothing more.
- It provides better sustainability meaning that if one server crashes, your service will keep working.
⚙️ Top Features for an On-Demand Streaming Platform
In this section, we’ll review the main features of an on-demand streaming service.
Keep in mind, all of the information mentioned in this article applies to both streaming websites and mobile apps.
# 1: Sign Up & Profiles 🔑
Normally, we recommend making this stage optional (at least in the very beginning), here you’ll most likely need a simple sign up.
Usually, the information that you require during the sign up process is:
- Email address to send the confirmation letter.
- Name (first and last).
- Password creation.
- Bank account details to conduct payment. However, we’d recommend thinking twice before asking for this piece of information that early — it might be rather disturbing and cause distrust.
Here you can show your care for customers and ask about their interests to provide high-quality content that’s best suitable for them.
For example, Netflix asks to choose 3 TV series that a user likes best. Based on that information, the system will offer similar content.
But again, this is just an example - it’s not that hard to develop and works well with various solutions and different scopes.
# 2: Home Screen 📊
This is the first screen that shows up after you either go on a website or sign in.
Often, websites put the Home Screen before the sign-in stage so that potential users could learn about their services. From here, they place the sign-in button so customers can access more advanced features and start using services.
Anyway, the content & information on the Home Screen will strongly depend on the type of content you provide.
Generally, there will be a:
- Search bar.
- Content list.
- “Sign in” button (if you don’t ask for registration in the beginning).
- Pricing & subscription options.
- Contact information & others.
Besides, here you can recommend the content to your users depending on what they like.
If you monetize your business by advertising, the Home Screen is where you can place it. However, don’t be too intrusive with it — users are much pickier and more demanding right now.
# 3: Filtering & Sorting 🔍
Depending on the type of content and its diversity, filters will most likely be different.
A generalized list with filters can look like this. Filters by:
- Categories (they will change depending on the type of your content).
- Price (if you use pay-per-... model).
- Length/duration of the content.
- Age & others.
Sure thing, you should add a search bar in case a user has a specific request.
# 4: Audio & Video Player ▶️
Dare we say that almost every streaming service has some type of video and/or audio content.
To provide better user experience, you can add some extended features like:
- Rewind & fast forward 10 seconds.
- Continue watching from the moment a user stopped last time.
- Change playback speed (0.25x — 2x).
However, there can be additional features for players you might need for your specific type of content.
# 5: Content Downloading 📥
To give users additional value, streaming platforms often offer the downloading feature so that video/audio files can be accessed even without an Internet connection.
Normally, this feature would be a part of a subscription package and not a free version (if you offer a certain part of your services for free).
Be sure to take care of security so that your content won’t be used illegally.
# 6: Metrics 📈
A streaming service has to be extremely user-oriented. To understand what users like and track the workflow of your solution as well as its quality, you need to gather certain metrics and analyze them.
It’s important for video streaming business to measure these stats.
These metrics can include:
- Daily active users.
- New users/subscriptions/purchases depending on what your monetization model is (over a certain period of time).
- The audience characteristics (demography, age, sex, and so on).
- Most/least popular content.
- The average duration of the visit.
- Bounce rate.
- Revenue & others.
Besides, it’ll be great if this data will be presented in the form of infographics instead of simple charts. This way, it’s easier to track the dynamics.
You can additionally provide users with some fun stats like the most watched content, how long they’ve been using your services, and so on. It can keep users engaged and excited. Some of them might want to share these stats on Social Media that will give you additional marketing.
# 7: Live Streaming 📣
If you want to make a video streaming service, think about adding a live streaming video feature.
Viewers on a live video streaming app are usually quite active because such apps give a feeling of personal real-time interaction.
You should also know that there are two types of live video streaming - private and public.
So if you want your live-streams to be accessible to everybody - choose public live video streaming, because that’s what it’s all about.
Conversely, private live streams are only accessible with a code or upon an invitation. If you want to livestream audio, it’s also not a problem as there are quite a lot of services that broadcast books reading live.
# 8: Payment Gateway 💳
So that users are able to pay for your services, it’s in your best interest to provide them with a secure and reliable Payment Gateway.
- Be consistent with your solution and different OS options.
- Allow clients to use all popular payment options such as credit card, PayPal, Google & Apple Pay, etc.
- Work fast with no delays.
- Strongly protect your and users’ personal data.
Make sure to take care of its security since, in most cases, streaming services ask their users to link a card for automatic monthly write-offs (if your monetization model is subscription). It means that as long as clients use your services, you’ll store their bank account details — high-security information.
# 9: Customer Support 🤖
In case something goes wrong during the payment procedure or a problem with the customer-related processes occurs, there should be a customer support employee to help fix it.
Great customer support should:
- Provide a chatbot (artificial intelligence programmed to deal with simple problems and connect customers with operators) and live chats.
- Be quick.
- Have a wide range of popular FAQs.
- Offer 24/7 phone customer support for an emergency.
- Provide contact information (email, various phone numbers, messengers like Whatsapp, etc).
So now you’re all set and ready to start the development process with your partners.
One thing we wanted to highlight once again is that you shouldn't be confused by the fact that the most popular streaming services are the ones that either broadcast movies like Netflix and HBO, or ones for music like Spotify and iMusic.
There are many more fields and companies that can and use streaming services than some people might think.
So, if you’ve been wanting to develop a streaming solution for your business but weren’t sure that it would be possible, you shouldn't doubt —it most likely is.
To sum up everything we’ve talked about, why don’t we briefly summarize what steps you should take to build a streaming solution.
- Look through all of the monetization models and decide what best fits you.
- Educate yourself on how to make the service secure.
- Decide on the features you want to have on your website or app.
- Find a Tech Partner (e.g. like Stormotion) and start the development.
If you need any help with the development or have any questions left, feel free to contact us. We’ll find a way to help you!