How much does it cost to build an Arabic content streaming platform like Shahid?

Sudeep Srivastava April 20, 2023
Arabic content streaming platform development

During the COVID-19 lockdown, entertainment was a bright spot across the world which further acted as a blessing in disguise for Video-on-demand (VOD) platforms. These apps and platforms became exceptionally popular in the MENA regions and have witnessed tenfold surges in trial and subscription adoptions in the past few years. These surges have resulted in well over one million paying customers.

Arabic video streaming platforms like Shahid are an integral part of the entertainment landscape in the UAE due to a combination of factors like high internet penetration, rising smartphone usage, diversity in streaming content, affordable subscription plans, ease of use, convenience, and flexibility.

Its user-friendly interface, extensive features, and original content make it one of the most sought-after platforms for Arabic language entertainment. Thus, startups and enterprises across the UAE are now looking forward to understanding the cost to develop a streaming platform like Shahid and how it can benefit their business.

In 2020, UAE experienced a significant increase in the growth of Arabic originals, with a staggering boom of +383%. This growth can get major investors to continue investing in the film industry as part of UAE’s Vision 2030 initiative. This investment is aimed at supporting the industry’s growth within the country.

According to a recent Statista report, the Video Streaming (SVoD) segment market size will reach $157.10m in 2023. Furthermore, witnessing a CAGR of  5.75% from 2023 to 2027, the market size is expected to witness a revenue of $196.50 million by 2027. Thus, now is the right time if you wish to leverage the growing scope of Arabic streaming platforms in the UAE and make a name for your business in this lucrative video streaming ecosystem.

Recent Statista report

This blog will help you understand the cost to develop a video streaming platform like Shahid. In addition, we will also look at the multiple factors that impact the cost to develop a video streaming app, features to be integrated into the app, and various business models you can incorporate to achieve maximum ROI.

So without further ado, let’s get right into the costing details for OTT app development services like Shahid.

 Get exact cost of developing an Arabic content seaming platform

Understanding the Cost to Develop a Streaming Platform like Shahid

Shahid is a global entertainment platform for Arabs in the Middle East & North Africa (MENA). It is the first video-on-demand (VOD) service in the Arab world, powered by the MBC Group. Shahid offers the world’s largest Arabic library of content and Western, Turkish, Korean, and Bollywood titles. The platform also provides a whole range of safe, engaging, educational, and culturally aware content for kids.

To give you a brief idea, an Arabic content streaming platform like Shahid costs between  $40,000 to $300,000 (150k AED to 1100k AED). The development cost is further affected by multiple factors like the app development agency’s location, the app’s UI/UX design, the underlying platform, the coding process, etc.

Even though it is difficult to determine the exact content streaming platform development cost, a dedicated app development organization like Appinventiv can offer you the expected budget based on your custom requirements.

Furthermore, our genuine formula can help you effectively understand the cost breakdown of a content streaming platform like Shahid.

Cost of developing streaming platforms in UAE

Here the development hours are the time taken to complete the app’s wireframing process, prototyping and designing requirements, coding, maintenance, etc. The hourly rate of development further depends on the hired app development organization, the details of which we will discover later in the blog.

Factors Affecting the Cost to Develop a Video Streaming App

When setting aside the overall budget for developing a video streaming app, it is important to first understand the features and the technologies that will be used to integrate them. In addition to this, it is vital to know that hiring the right development team can guarantee maximum ROI.

Factors affecting the Arabic content streaming platform development cost

1. App complexity

The overall app complexity is a major factor impacting the app development budget. For instance, a highly complex content streaming platform like Shahid with an extensive feature list will cost you more than a simple video streaming mobile app with just minimal features integrated into it. Here is the estimated app development cost in MENA as per various levels of complexity:

Video Streaming Platform TypeEstimated average cost of mobile app developmentTime Frame
Simple$40,000 to $60,0003 to 6 months
Moderately Complex$60,000 to $100,0006 to 8 months
Highly Complex$100,000 to $300,0009+ months

2. UI/UX design of the app

Developing a robust mobile app requires a well-defined UI/UX strategy that is bound to ensure its success. A seamless UI/UX design is crucial for increasing user engagement and retention for the video streaming platform. To achieve this, multiple testing procedures are necessary to meet custom requirements. However, it’s important to note that these procedures can impact Arabic content streaming platform like Shahid cost accordingly.

Factors that affect the cost of UI/UX design of the video streaming app include:

  • Visual elements
  • Typography
  • Color psychology
  • Content writing
  • Button placements
  • Branding
  • UI optimization
  • Portrait or landscape mode

3. App platform

The choice of platform for app development has a significant impact on the budget. iOS and Android platforms have different budgetary requirements based on various criteria. Cross-platform apps also have their budgetary considerations. To optimize the budget initially, starting with a single platform and switching to a cross-platform app is recommended once it gains traction in the market. This approach helps to keep the budget in check and ensures a successful launch.

4. Team size

The team size of the hired app development team is another vital factor that can affect the overall Arabic content streaming platform like Shahid cost. For instance, if you hire freelancers for your project, the overall development budget will be comparatively less. Still, you will have to compromise on the quality, considering lesser expertise in the field. On the other hand, simply outsourcing your project to a dedicated app development agency can help you optimize costs while leveraging their years of expertise at the same time.

Team size required to build a dedicated video streaming platform:

  • 1-2 project managers
  • 1-2 business analysts
  • 2-3 frontend developers
  • 2-3 backend developers
  • 1-2 designers
  • 1-2 quality assurance analyst

5. Location of the app development agency

The location of the app development agency also affects the cost to create a platform like Shahid in the UAE. For instance, the hourly rate of development in areas like Asia is comparatively less than in the UAE, UK, or US. Here is the estimated rate of development as per various regions:

RegionHourly Rate of Development
Western Europe$80-$90
Eastern Europe$50-$55

6. Maintenance

Ensuring proper mobile app maintenance is a crucial factor affecting the overall cost of Arabic video streaming app development in the UAE. It is imperative to take significant actions to ensure the smooth functioning of apps on all platforms and to offer optimum performance. Proper maintenance ensures the app’s longevity and provides a seamless user experience. The maintenance cost includes charges required to ensure the bug-free nature of the app, along with charges required to offer app upgrades or implement new technologies as per market requirements.

7. Tech stack

A robust tech stack can offer the Arabic video streaming app instant traction in the market while paving the way for its imminent success. Furthermore, it is important to understand that the cost to develop a streaming platform like Shahid varies as per the technologies implemented in the app.

Tech Stack to make a platform like Shahid

8. Feature List

The feature list is crucial when determining the cost to create a platform like Shahid. Generally, the more features an app has, the higher its overall cost. To ensure success in the market, a well-defined feature set that sets the app apart from competitors is necessary. The app’s feature set should be capable of enhancing the user experience and increasing the app’s functionality.

Shahid Content Streaming Platform Features

A well-designed video streaming platform like Shahid should be equipped with features such as personalized recommendations, social sharing, and easy payment options. The platform can enhance user experience and drive customer engagement by incorporating these elements. Here are some of the necessary features to be integrated into a video streaming app like Shahid:

Features of Arabic Content Streaming App like Shahid

User Profiles: The platform should allow the users to sign up with their email ids or contact numbers while allowing them to adjust their preferences, watch List, preview recommendations, and more.

Video on Demand: The platform should be capable of offering video on demand which simply means allowing the users to watch their favorite picks anytime, anywhere.

[Also Read: How to Create a Video Streaming App like Netflix? Features, Tech Stack, and Costs]

Live Streaming: The platform should offer live streaming of the user’s favorite shows, events, sports matches, concerts, and more.

Personalization: The video streaming platform like Shahid should be capable of using algorithms to offer personalized recommendations to users based on their viewing history and preferences.

Multiple Languages: Another most sought-after Shahid content streaming platform features is support for multiple languages. The app or the platform should be capable of identifying with diverse audiences by offering them to stream their favorite picks in multiple languages.

Search Functionality: The platform should feature a search bar option allowing users to easily find the videos, TV shows, or movies they seek.

Social Sharing: The users should be allowed to share content on social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

[Also Read: How much does it Cost to Develop App like Instagram]

Parental Controls: This feature should offer parental controls to the parents for restricting their children’s access to certain content or genres.

Multi-Device Support: The Arabic content streaming platform development company should also offer multi-device support to your app. The video streaming app should be compatible with various devices like smartphones, tablets, smart TVs, and gaming consoles to offer a seamless watch experience to its user base.

Downloadable Content: The platform should allow the users to download content to watch offline with limited internet connectivity.

Get custom features that can help put your video streaming app on the growth trajectory

Revenue Models Used by the Arabic Video Streaming Platform Shahid

Like the major video streaming platforms, Shahid generates revenue through several sources. Here are the various monetization strategies used by Shahid:

Multiple Revenue Models Used by Content Streaming Platform like Shahid

Subscription Fees: Shahid’s primary revenue stream is a subscription-based model allowing users to pay a monthly or annual fee to access premium content available on the platform without advertisements. This model has proven successful for the organization while allowing it to continue providing its subscribers high-quality content.

Advertising: Another revenue stream the Arabic content streaming platform uses is advertising. The platform displays ads to the users or the non-subscribers watching the limited content available online for free. It inserts ads between the content during playback and charges the advertisers based on the number of clicks and impressions.

Sponsorships: Shahid collaborates with advertisers and brands to provide sponsorships like product placement, branded content, or exclusive sponsored events. The major purpose of these sponsorships is to enhance brand visibility and increase engagement with the target user base or audiences.

Licensing: The Arabic video streaming platform Shahid has the potential to generate additional revenue by licensing its original content to other networks or streaming platforms and receiving maximum compensation for using its content elsewhere.

Pay-Per-View: The video streaming app also used a pay-per-view revenue model allowing users to purchase or rent individual movies or TV shows at a fixed price.

You can also check out App Monetization Guide which includes seven strategies and models. The guide can help you effectively choose your revenue model as per your custom business requirements.

How to Build a Platform like Shahid?

You must carry out several steps and considerations to make a platform like Shahid. Let us look at the development process in detail below:

Define your target audience and niche

When developing a video streaming platform, defining your target audience and niche is important. To make your platform stand out from competitors, it is crucial to take the time to consider the features that set it apart. For instance, Shahid is a well-known video streaming platform in the MENA region that caters to Arabic-speaking audiences.

Decide on the platform’s features

After identifying the target audience and niche, it is important to determine the features that the platform will offer. Common features of video streaming platforms include live streaming, video on demand, user profiles, search functionality, and social sharing. You can finalize the feature set per your business requirements and target audience to gain traction in the market.

Develop a business plan

A well-crafted business plan is essential for the success of every new business. It serves as a roadmap to your overall development needs and outlines your goals, revenue streams, and strategies that can be implemented for growth. In addition, a solid business plan can help you secure funding by attracting potential investors. Creating a thorough business plan can set entrepreneurs up for success and ensure they are on the right path toward achieving their goals.

Choose a dedicated development team

Now that you have finalized the features to be implemented in the video streaming platform, it is time to hire a dedicated software development agency to help you realize your visions. Choosing an organization with previous expertise in developing video streaming apps with technologies like HLS and MPEG-DASH is recommended to gain easy traction in the market.

Choose a video hosting and streaming solution

To build a platform like Shahid, you require a reliable video hosting and streaming solution that can handle high traffic and bandwidth. Using Amazon Web Services (AWS) and Google Cloud Platform (GCP) as potential options is further recommended. Both platforms can offer robust features and scalability that meet custom business requirements.

Design the user interface

Your platform’s user interface should be intuitive, easy to navigate, and have a visual appeal capable of retaining and engaging users for a long time. Consider hiring a dedicated app design and development team that can help create a user-friendly interface for your video streaming platform.

Test and launch the platform

Once the designing process is completed and the developers have written the code for your platform, it is now time for quality assurance. It’s important to test the platform thoroughly to ensure its seamless working across multiple platforms and devices. Consider launching a beta version of your app to gather feedback from users before launching the platform to the public.

Promote and maintain the platform

Once your platform is deployed on the web, it is important to promote and market it to attract multiple users. Furthermore, it is vital to offer timely features and platform upgrades to your video streaming app so as to ensure it keeps running successfully across this competitive ecosystem.

Why is Appinventiv the Right Choice to Develop a Video Streaming Platform Like Shahid?

Now that you have understood everything related to the cost to develop a streaming platform like Shahid, it is now time to hire a dedicated agency that can help you put things into perspective.

Appinventiv is a leading app development company with extensive experience in offering OTT app development services that are high in quality, innovative, and offer user-friendly interfaces.

Our highly skilled developers have years of expertise in developing video streaming applications using the latest technologies like HLS, RTMP, and MPEG-DASH. Furthermore, our customized solutions are tailored to meet your specific business requirements. Our strong emphasis on user experience ensures that the developed platform is easy to use, intuitive, and engaging for users.

Some of our major clients in the MENA regions for whom we have helped to achieve maximum ROI results include  KFC, Pizza Hut, Adidas, IKEA, 6th Street, and the Qatar Government (Hukoomi). Get in touch with our team to develop a custom Arabic video streaming app and redefine your presence in this digital ecosystem.


Q. How much does the Shahid content streaming platform cost?

A. Developing a video streaming platform like Shahid costs between $40,000 to $300,000 (150k AED to 1100k AED). There are several factors that further impact the overall development budget, for instance, the hourly rate of development, the UI/UX design of the platform, its coding process, technologies used, feature-set integration, etc.

Q. How long does it take to develop a content streaming platform like Shahid?

A. The time frame to create an app like the Shahid streaming platform varies as per the app’s overall complexity. For instance, a highly complex app with an extensive feature set will take around 9 to 10 months, while a simple video streaming app with minimal features will take around 4 to 5 months.

Q. How much does the Shahid app cost?

A. The Arabic video streaming app Shahid is free to download and also offers some limited free content to users. The app’s monthly subscription costs around 29 AED per month, while the annual plan costs around 299 AED. Shahid also offers a VIP plan which includes live TV channels and some exclusive content at 199 AED per month. It is further vital to understand that the app’s subscription rates vary per user’s location.

Sudeep Srivastava
Co-Founder and Director
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