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A Quick Guide to OTT Video App Development For Entrepreneurs

5121 Views | 1 min | Published On: September 11, 2020 Last Updated: September 11, 2020
ott app development

There are basically two things behind the much-hyped term “OTT” – lower cost and convenience.

And, guess what. These are the two things modern-day users require to fully embrace a new innovation. If your app/service provides users convenience at less cost as compared to a traditional method – you can always make it to the top of the market. Else, you’ll end up anytime soon.

If you are a budding entrepreneur planning a venture in the OTT industry – you have it all – demand, market potential, and a huge user base to target. The worldwide OTT market size stood at $30.23 Billion in 2018 and is estimated to reach $86.80 Billion by the end of 2026, growing at a CAGR of 14.3% during the forecast period.

Aren’t these numbers alluring?

If yes, let’s find out what exactly OTT apps mean and how you can launch your own OTT app to make money out of this flourishing industry – easy and hassle-free.

What Are OTT Apps?

OTT apps stand for over-the-top applications that instead of following the traditional way to deliver services use the high-speed internet to provide convenience at the tap of a button. You can think of an OTT app as anything that disrupts traditional ways of providing services.

For example, earlier if you wanted to buy a share of stocks in the market, you would need to be physically presented at the location to shout out the numbers on your behalf. However, today, the entire process can be easily managed online with the help of stock trading apps like Robinhood.

So, here we can call Robinhood an OTT app that disrupted the traditional way of buying and selling stocks. Other examples of such apps include Uber, Netflix, Airbnb, Skype, and many more.

There are several types of OTT services presently available in the market and these are:

ott application development

Among these three types of OTT services, the one that has surfaced on the front line the most is the Video OTT apps. And it is also the focal point of our article today because of the immense opportunities and success this particular segment is offering for entrepreneurs worldwide.

In this article, we will look at how these apps have transformed the industry and how you can become a part of this transformation by building your own OTT video application. So, let’s get started.

5 Key Market Players of the OTT Video App Market

The number of key players in the global OTT streaming market is consistently rising. These key market players include worldwide giants, such as Amazon and Netflix as well as platforms like TVF Play.

Subsequently, the worldwide Over the Top (OTT) market is getting too competitive and congested because of the immense opportunity it offers to budding entrepreneurs. Furthermore, this trend is not going to end anytime soon if we look at the popularity of apps like Netflix and Hulu among Millenials.

ott video application development

If we talk about strategies and working models of key giants in this industry, it is unique and well-customized. Each and every player has its own set of rules and strategies that it follows to stay competitive in the market. For example, the biggest player of the market Amazon’s growth in the OTT industry is driven by two factors – the successful launch of its Fire TV, and the launch of its very own independent streaming video service – Amazon Prime.

On the other hand, the immense success of Netflix lies in persistently upgrading the standards for delivering unique and high-quality content and an incredible UX. Similarly, each player in the market has its own USP to sell its services along with their robust and engaging mobile apps.

So, if you want to earn a good share of this market – before you develop an OTT video app, you must ideate on what will be your USP that will attract users to your app leaving these giants in place. Only if you succeed – you will be able to make it big in the OTT video app market.

Now that you know about the market players of the industry and the strategies they follow – let’s get back to how you can develop an OTT video app to earn the market share.

6 Steps to Build You Own OTT Video Application

ott video app development

1. Select a Niche

To win a crowded market space – going niche specific is the key.

OTT video streaming application is a general idea, and you must decide first what niche you will be following when entering this industry. What kinds of pictures or TV programs your mobile app or website will stream? Or, maybe you want to create an OTT video app for kids that will stream Cartoon or Disney shows? 

It is very crucial to make a decision on the same. Obviously, you can make your own Netflix-like service that will serve every possible user, but a unique particularity of your service may turn into your climax.

2. Build Your Content Inventory

The heart of an OTT video app lies in its content.

When you plan to find how to make a video streaming app like Netflix, you should first figure out what your content will be. Since content is the real foundation of an OTT video app – you can not ignore building an inventory of content that you will stream on it after its launch. Also, remember that the content has to be amazing.

To begin with, you should first make a decision on how regularly you will update your content – daily, weekly, or monthly. Will you deliver the content in parts or everything at once? Will your content be mostly free or it will be available after subscription only? Decide everything and then move forward.

3. Decide Your Business Model

OTT services use three different kinds of business models, Advertising-based, subscription, and transactional model. 

Your app idea will suggest which business model you should use. These business models have their own set of advantages and disadvantages. Let’s take a closer look to understand better: 

  • SVOD: Subscription video on demand is the model where users get access to video content after paying X amount of money every month or year to the app. This model keeps users hooked and gives app owners immense opportunities to earn and increase revenue with the help of engaging content.
  • AVOD: Advertisement based Video on Demand model is one which provides content for free to stream. It doesn’t charge anything from users and they can stream content for free. The main catch is that this model compels users to see ads and app owners charge advertisers to generate revenue.
  • TVOD: Using this business model, users pay to access specific content through a pay-per-view model. This model is used less in the OTT video app market as compared to SVOD and AVOD.

Now you must be having a clear understanding of how each of these business models works in order to try them. So, go through your business idea once again and select the one model that suits your needs in the best possible way.

4. Create Your Website

When you know which business model you will follow, it’s now time to create the very first module of your OTT service – your website. Internet browsers are still the main hub of streaming and around 39% of users like to watch content using web browsers. It lets you:

  • Rank well in search engines
  • Take payments easily
  • Establish trust with your users
  • Handle queries easily

All in all, a website provides an overall easy experience to your users even if they aren’t able to access your OTT mobile app. So, consider building a website first and go for mobile app development later on.

5. Decide the Tech-Stack

Once you are done with analyzing the business aspect of building an OTT app, it is important to make an informed decision on the set of tools and technologies you will use to develop your OTT video app. 

While there are a number of technologies and third-party tools that you can use to build your OTT apps – the final decision will depend on your exact requirements and app idea. So, before you make your mind on technologies – we suggest you have a word with your video OTT app developers to get better insights.

Also, a number of companies take the help of third-party APIs and services to speed up the development process and get an MVP version of the final app to launch and test in the market. However, a number of third-party APIs are paid. So, you will have to analyze everything to make sure you don’t pay more and get what you need at reasonable prices. 

Here is an approximate tech stack to create OOT apps like Netflix:

  • Languages: Kotlin, Swift, JavaScript, Python
  • Libraries and Frameworks: React, NodeJS, Win.JS
  • Database and Cloud Services: MongoDB, Oracle, Amazon EC2, MySQL, Cassandra
  • Utilities: Amazon SES, Falcor, Urban Airship
  • Third-Party APIs: AWS, Web RTC,, Wowza
  • DevOps Tools: GitHub, Git, Jenkins

6. Get Your Mobile App Developed

Now that you are well aware of everything – the business and technical aspect of building an app like Netflix or Hulu – it is time to execute your planning and get your app developed. So, try finding a team of enthusiastic developers and move forward with a vision to win the OTT space. 

Let’s now see some of the crucial features:

10 Must-Have Features of an OTT Platform

ott platform development
  • Easy App Onboarding

The most crucial feature to focus upon while OTT video application development is application onboarding which includes user registration, verification, and profile creation. 

When it comes to easy app onboarding, limiting the necessary details in the registration form isn’t sufficient. You should let users register through social media as well. This will improve your app’s overall experience by letting users sign-in with just a single tap.

  • Search Feature

If you are building an OTT video app, there is no doubt that it will be having thousands of video content for users to stream in the future. Therefore, to let your users find easily what they are looking for – a search feature is a must-have.

With this feature, users will have the option to search for their preferred shows and movies dependent on various measures like type, language, genre, and so forth.

  • Multilingual Content 

For you to target a more extensive audience and grow your business beyond the borders of your country, it is important that your app supports multiple-languages and provide content in various local languages for users to stream.

  • Watchlist 

The next essential feature of the OTT video application would be the Watchlist integration in-app. This is where the users would add things that they wish to stream later. One way you can get them on this aspect of the application is through a strong notification strategy in-app.

  • Payment Gateway Integration 

There is no compelling reason to add your own payment gateway in your application if you are going to utilize an operating system from Google or Apple. 

Android and iOS both have their own mobile payment frameworks that permit making purchases in the App Store and Google Play easy just with a single tap. 

However, you must keep in mind that these companies charge around 20-30% of all purchases in-app.

  • Push-Notifications

In OTT apps, the users get a pop-up message when their membership gets over or when they decide to cancel the membership or update the same. This feature is also used to notify users about new content in-app or to increase app engagement rate. So, do not forget to add it to your OTT video app like Netflix. 

  • Social Feature

Adding a button for sharing the content to social media platforms not just increases the chances of new users coming back to back to your app. But also boost your word of mouth marketing and advertise your app for free. So, if you want to take additional advantages – make sure you add social features in your app.

  • Subtitles

When building an OTT app that will target the worldwide audience, it is crucial to integrate the features of showing subtitles in videos. This feature allows users to get engaged with non-local content and drives engagement to your app.

  • Ratings and Reviews

In OTT apps, the users are provided with a choice to rate and review the content that they just saw. This makes them more engaged with the application as they get a chance to share their experience with other users.

  • Admin-Panel

Having an admin panel is crucial with any app as it will let you manage everything seamlessly. Also, while having everything in place, you will be able to analyze how users are behaving in your app to improve their experiences.

While the above-mentioned features are of a minimum viable product only. You can also add some advanced features in your app to enrich the experience of your app users. But, we suggest you create an MVP first and then continuously add more features to it to provide a better app experience.

Let’s now see how much it will cost you:

How Much Will It Cost to Develop an OTT Application?

While we have already mentioned in our guide for entrepreneurs on mobile app development cost that no size fits all. Each app is unique in its own way and the amount of money required to build the same always comes out to be different. There are various factors that affect the cost of OTT app development, such as:-

Platform: The expense of OTT app development would increase as you move from one platform to both, and afterward would be higher when you include the website development with it.

Features & Tech Stack: Depending on what blend of application features you consider will additionally bring a distinction in the cost of OTT video application development. Also, the cost will depend on the tech-stack you chose. The more complex the tech-stack higher will be the cost of development.

Location of Hired App Developers: This factor will also affect the cost of developing an OTT video app. The price app developers charge varies depending on their country and expertise. While in countries like the USA or UK, the average hourly rate differs from $80 to $100, in developing countries like India, the cost would be somewhere around $20 to $50 per hour. 

So, the right way to know the exact amount that you will have to invest in developing an OTT video app is to OTT app developers, discuss with them your requirements, and get a quote based on the same.

To give you a ball-park estimate in OTT video app development cost, all we can say is the cost will come somewhere around $20,000-$50,000 for launching an OTT app like Netflix.

However, this is just a rough estimation and it will change depending on your exact requirements. If you want to know the exact cost of building an OTT video app – get a free quote by contacting our expert business analysts here.

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