Video streaming apps are quite the rage these days. As per a study, 80% of users of digital devices prefer a live video to a blog. It all started with the tremendous success of streaming giant Netflix that, despite being a paid platform, soared past Sony’s free streaming service Crackle to become the numero uno OTT platform of choice for binge-watchers.
As per a survey, in just 10 years since Netflix went viral, the revenue for the application has gone from USD 1.36 billion to a whopping USD 15.8 billion.
Netflix is a spectacular blend of entertainment and portability that allows you to watch anything, anytime, and anywhere. Continue reading to understand how much it costs to develop a highly personalized video streaming application like Netflix.
A brief look into Netflix’s business model: What makes it so successful?
Netflix’s business model is focused on prioritizing the comfort of its audience. The pricing plans offered by the streaming service can be shared with family and friends at no extra cost. You can choose anyone out of the following four subscription plans:
- Basic Plan – It’s for people who use Netflix on their mobiles and tablets. It supports one screen at a time and the video quality is regular.
- Standard Plan – It supports up to two screens and you can opt for HD definition videos. If you plan to share Netflix with your partner or a friend, this is the plan for you
- Premium – This plan includes all the features of a standard plan plus compatibility with up to 4 screens. It’s best suitable for family members or a group of friends. It allows you to stream HD or 4k videos.
- DVD – Netflix allows DVD rentals of some of the rarest and difficult-to-find movies that you can keep for up to 6 months. However, this plan is available only in the US.
Is it just the variety of subscription plans that makes this platform so successful? Well, no. The concept and approach of the company are structured around attracting and retaining customers while compelling them to choose a paid platform over a free one.
As to how Netflix stands out between all its competitors, here’s a quick rundown of its USPs:
- Netflix almost never crashes. The 24/7 live streaming service ensures there are no network problems or service disturbances to provide the best experience
- A lot of Netflix’s original shows are more successful than most popular TV shows. From action, comedy, thrillers to anime and animation, there are a ton of choices for users. This helps Netflix stands apart from its competitors and the traditional forms of streaming movies and TV shows
- Netflix has a free trial period for its first-time users so they can evaluate their needs and determine whether it is the right video streaming app for them. It gives them a month to decide if they would like to opt for a subscription
- Netflix makes it easier for its audience to choose the movies or TV shows they can stream. It has authentic reviews and a rating system for the audience to decide what to watch and what to ignore.
- That Netflix offers Ad-free content is one of the main reasons the platform is so popular. This ensures binge-watching is uninterrupted and enjoyable.
What are the features an OTT platform should have?
To compete with Netflix in the market, an application should be able to offer better features and functionality than Netflix does. Here are some basic features of Netflix one can keep in mind for an OTT app development:
- Social Login: Netflix offers registration and authentication through social media platforms. It is important for online streaming apps to have a comfortable user registration process that makes integrating with other platforms and profile management easier.
- Live streaming: Netflix offers live streaming of stand-up comedy and fitness programs. This makes the OTT platform rather unique and outstanding.
- Filters: Users of streaming apps prefer an effortless and easy-to-use interface that allows them to filter their favorite content. Netflix allows you to filter content based on genre, language and popularity, among others. This enables an uninterrupted user experience.
- Video-sharing: Netflix has a video-sharing option for viewers so they can share their favorite shows with their friends. It is possible through social media or directly through the app. If you want users to stick around, you must make it easier for them to connect with their friends through your platform.
- Viewer Reviews: Netflix encourages reviews from its users so as to enhance its popularity. This is something every OTT app should include to promote its video streaming platform.
- Offline streaming: Movies and TV shows on Netflix can be downloaded and streamed offline. Very few streaming apps have this feature, which makes Netflix stand apart.
- Payment Options: Netflix offers multiple secure payment options so audiences can choose one that they are more comfortable with.
What are the factors affecting OTT platform development cost?
The truth is, OTT app development is a tricky process that takes a lot of time. So, before jumping into developing a streaming app, you need to make a list of the factors that will contribute to your app development bill. Here are a few pointers that will assist you in the OTT platform development process so you can minimize costs.
1. Content and Features
Before you consult an app developer, figure out what content you want to cater to your audience. This is important because the features of your app will entirely depend on the niche you select. And the number of features you include affects the cost.
Furthermore, the niche of your content also decides the kinds of users you will attract to your platform. For this, you need to narrow down your target audience, otherwise, you might end up spending more money than you should.
Once you decide on the niche for your platform, find out where you can obtain your content from. There are mainly two ways to fulfill this goal: Creating original content or procuring it from distributors. For the latter, you need a proper license and copyrights. You can also rent videos.
2. Pricing Model
It is important to determine how you will earn money through your app. Here’s a list of ways you can monetize your new video streaming platform:
- Netflix uses a subscription model to monetize its app. In the subscription-based model, you offer a monthly or yearly subscription so users can access your application and avail its benefits.
- You have the option of a Pay Per View model like the one used in iTunes. Here, users need to pay for every video they watch. A steaming app stands to earn brilliantly if it amasses fame and popularity among users.
- A monetization model that most free OTT platforms rely on is the ad-based approach. Users are reluctant to pay a fee for relatively new apps and so, streaming apps leverage content by offering free services but displaying ads in between the videos they play. They charge advertisement companies who wish to run their ads on their platforms.
3. Technology stack
The technologies that are used in the development of your app decide how costly its maintenance will be. With time, the number of users on your OTT platform may increase. To prepare your application for heavy loading, you must decide the right technology stack for your platform. This includes ensuring that adding new features to your app or updating it regularly doesn’t affect its performance or user experience.
The cloud platform you choose must have an expandable architecture that can store all your content and accommodate your future requirements.
4. App Development Company
Whether you develop your application in-house or choose a third-party developer, the important thing to keep in mind is that you have a streaming app that can stand the test of time. With technological disruptions so common these days, your app must be able to adapt to these changes easily.
A typical OTT app development team would include:
- UX Designer: You need UX designers to enhance the usability, design, and functionality of your application. It’s their responsibility to ensure you have a seamless and attractive interface that makes the user experience intuitive.
- Backend Developer: Backend developers work on the server-side application logic and modeling to ensure smooth functioning of the application and enhance its performativity.
- Front end Developer: Front end developers take care of the user-side application interface.
- Android/iOS Developers: You need developers that are familiar with the respective tools and technologies of Android/iOS platforms.
- Quality Assurance: You would need testers to ensure the quality and performance of your streaming app.
- Project Manager: To plan, execute and monitor the entire OTT app development process, you need a project manager.
If you go with an experienced app development company that specializes in OTT platforms, you stand to save huge bucks. It eliminates any recruitment and training costs plus it gives companies the bandwidth to focus on the core process of the streaming platform.
The location of your app development company also plays a huge role since different countries have different costs of living, which eventually determine the cost of a particular service.
- Video Quality and Internet Speed
Users mostly prefer HD and HDR videos in their video streaming apps, and these options are available on almost all OTT platforms. It is important to offer video options that match the internet speed of users to ensure an uninterrupted streaming experience.
Security breaches can prove extremely expensive. So, you must invest in the security and reliability of your app from avoiding trouble in the future. There must be safe practices in place to store user information and payment details. This involves hiring competent software testers to help eliminate any vulnerabilities, undesired functionalities, and security risks.
How much does an app like Netflix cost?
Having understood the factors that affect the cost of developing a streaming app, we will now evaluate the cost of an OTT platform.
The final cost of your streaming app majorly depends on the number of features you include and the design of your platform. Intuitive and user-friendly designs drive the success of OTT apps and help attract users to your platform.
Therefore, you need a competent UI/UX designer to provide an interactive and smooth streaming experience to users. Also, the higher the complexity of your app, the more time-consuming your app development process will be. This means extra effort on the app developer’s part.
An application with all the advanced features of Netflix, from video sharing to live video streaming and multiple-language support, and an exceptional user interface would require big bucks. Designing such an app would cost anywhere between $3k to $5k and would take 120 to 160 hours to complete.
Depending on the technologies you choose, the cloud platform, and the location of your app developer, your app development cost will vary. Asian countries charge a lot less than Europe or the US.
The final cost of OTT app development can be evaluated in terms of the hourly charge of the team employed on your project. Depending on the team size, this cost will vary.
Also, if you plan to launch your application on both Android and iOS operating systems, you need developers with competency in both platforms to ensure efficiency and high performance.
App development takes between 800 to 900 hours and you would have to shell out somewhere around USD 20k to USD 35k to develop an app like Netflix.
As we mentioned, this also depends on whether you outsource your app development or prefer to develop it in-house.
3. Quality Testing
The quality assurance of an application is evaluated separately from the development cost. It involves testing teams spending somewhere around 120 to 160 hours to eliminate any bugs, errors, or security risks. Quality testing is an ongoing process that spans the entire duration of design and development.
It costs anywhere between USD 3k and USD 5k.
As we mentioned before, the app development cost is directly proportional to the time an app developer gives to the process.
The minimum time that an app development team will dedicate to your platform will range from 1000 to 1500 hours. Accordingly, the total cost might vary from $30K to $50K.
However, the price might increase or decrease depending on the app development company you opt for.
The live streaming strategy is a must-have
OTT platforms are growing in number by the day. Being able to watch your favorite movies, TV shows and video clips from the comfort of your homes is an experience no offline medium of video streaming can match.
Video streaming is also an incredible marketing tool and independent businesses stand to gain heavy traffic through a competent OTT platform. But you need a strong USP to attract users to your platform. This will not just help you interact with your audience better but also keep them engaged on your platform.
As per a study, the number of live streaming subscribers will increase to 91 million by 2024. It’s an opportunity no business should miss out on. With the right niche, monetization methods, and app development team, you have all you need to create a successful OTT platform.