How To Build A Great Video Streaming App

Post written by

Haseeb Tariq

Haseeb is responsible for guiding the marketing automation vision for Fox (Film, TV and Sports). He also writes at HaseebTariq.com

Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Prime — everyone knows the names of the major players in the streaming business. But they aren’t the only ones bringing TV shows into millions of homes every night. There are hundreds of video streaming apps out there, with opportunities for new ones to emerge.

If you’re looking for an entrepreneurial venture, you might want to consider building a video streaming app that targets a specific audience. Because people can choose multiple streaming services, there are plenty of opportunities to deliver quality and original content that people love and can’t find anywhere else.

Because of this, marketers should pay attention to up-and-coming streaming apps. With opportunities available for streaming apps dedicated to original content, you can target a niche audience and monetize with strategic marketing partnerships.

Personally, I have experience with developing a successful streaming app. I was actively involved in launching Fox Nation, which is a streaming video on demand service, and I lead the marketing automation strategy.

If you’re looking to launch a video streaming app, here’s what you need to know.

The VOD industry

First, let’s talk about the video on demand (VOD) industry. A VOD service gives users options and lets them pick what they want to watch from a large collection of videos whenever they want. VOD has evolved over the years and has separated into a few subcategories: transactional video on demand (TVOD), subscription video on demand (SVOD) and advertisement video on demand (AVOD).

That’s a lot of acronyms, I know. The difference between these three subcategories of on-demand video is relatively simple.

TVOD: This type of on-demand video is based on transactions. You don’t have to pay to sign up. Instead, you pay as you buy (or rent) programs. Platforms like Vudu and iTunes are examples of TVOD services.

SVOD: This is a subscription model in which the customer pays a fee and, in return, has access to a full library of content indefinitely (or until they decide to cancel). Netflix is the best example of an SVOD service.

AVOD: This advertisement model gives users free access to video content that includes advertisement breaks. YouTube is an example of an AVOD service.

How To Start A Streaming Platform 

If you want to build a streaming app like Netflix, then you need to focus on the SVOD model. People often pay for TV subscriptions because they want to enjoy quality programs at a lower cost than cable. Here’s how to do it.

1. Save up (and get investors on board).

Have you wondered how much it costs to start a video streaming service? Based on my knowledge of the space, you can expect a startup cost of around $200,000 to build and launch a streaming service. You can build a minimum viable product (MVP) for less to test your content. There are also apps available that clone Netflix and allow you to adjust the code for your personalized platform, which cost significantly less. 

2. Focus on your audience before launching.

SVOD platforms have to be tuned in to what their audience wants. After all, without an audience, you don’t have a business. You also need to know where your audience is so you can market your channel to them.

The best way to do this is through social media. Engage with your audience where they are. Learn what they care about ,and use your social media platform to inform and educate potential subscribers about what your streaming service offers that others don’t. Gather as much information about your audience before you launch so you can create and source content they’ll love.

3. Develop a tiered payment system.

The goal of SVOD is to attract paid subscribers, but it’s really hard to do that when your audience doesn’t know anything about your platform. The way to get around that is by creating a hybrid model that has different payment tiers for subscribers.

A free subscription with ads will introduce your audience to your content while you generate ad revenue. As viewers become more familiar with your platform and more confident that you’ll deliver great content, they’ll become subscribers so they can access your videos ad-free.

4. Be ready to adapt.

Your channel will only be successful if it delivers content that your audience wants. That means you’ll need to monitor what people are watching and be flexible when creating and publishing content.

Track viewer engagement across devices so you have a good handle on which types of videos people love. Video completion rate is a key metric. When viewers watch a video the whole way through, it shows that they are interested in the topic and that the video was an appropriate length.

5. Deliver amazing content regularly.

This should go without saying, but to really succeed, you need to deliver amazing content to your viewers. It could be original content, third-party content or a combination. You’ll also need to add fresh content regularly to keep your subscribers engaged. You may start losing subscribers quickly if they watch all your content and are left waiting for more.

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Haseeb is responsible for guiding the marketing automation vision for Fox (Film, TV and Sports). He also writes at HaseebTariq.com