How to Create a Video Streaming App like Netflix? Features, Tech Stack, and Costs

Prateek Saxena June 1, 2022

“Just one more episode….” 

This phrase has become a conventional part of our daily lives, just like scrolling the feed on Instagram, sharing memories on Snapchat, or ordering food from Zomato.

And the full credit for it goes to “Netflix.”

The VoD or on-demand video streaming application has taken the entertainment experience to an instance where we can’t think about a day without watching episodes of our favorite shows on Netflix. It has brought new types of content of different genres, giving us a taste of diverse cultures, thoughts, situations, and time periods.

A ripple effect of which is that it not only succeeded in making its presence in 190 countries, gaining 148M Paid subscribers, and driving 26.6% of video streaming traffic, but also received huge attention from Entrepreneurs looking ahead to enter this space.

[Bonus read: 51+ Netflix statistics & facts worth knowing in 2022]

Business enthusiasts, mobile app developers, and video streaming app development companies are studying its business models and technical aspects to get clarity on what it takes to develop a Netflix-like app, and how much is the cost to develop streaming apps. It is something we will talk about in detail in this article – starting with bringing up a clear picture of the video streaming (SVoD) market.

The on-demand video streaming app market has evolved at a pace never seen before. It was worth USD 376.06 billion in 2020 and is expected to reach USD 932.39 billion at a CAGR of 12.1% by 2028.

There stands no doubt that on-demand video streaming offers users ample features and benefits over traditional TVs. Now, let’s take a quick glance at the advantages of online video streaming applications:

1. Higher convenience

Unlike traditional TV operators, Netflix, and other such video streaming services do not demand any contractual obligations. They give users the option to discontinue streaming subscriptions at any point in time, along with the opportunity to stream their favorite shows and movies despite the difference in geographic location. All you need to do is log in to your streaming service account and experience high convenience at your fingertips.

2. Seamless connectivity

To access streaming content on Netflix and other applications, all users need is a high-speed broadband connection and a device, either a tv, mobile phone, or a PC. Currently, the Netflix app is pre-installed on various devices such as iPad, tablets, and TVs. Also, the app consistently revamps its algorithm to run efficiently even on low data bandwidth.

3. Wider choice

The biggest benefit of preferring Netflix and other VoD service providers over traditional TVs is that they let users access hundreds and thousands of movies and other entertainment content from one place.  Users can search and access TV shows and movies of any decade and watch them with ease.

4. Multiple devices accessibility

Another benefit of video streaming applications is the multi-device login feature that allows users to enjoy their favorite shows remotely on any device. You can access and watch the same video on TVs, PCs, iPads, and smartphones at your convenience with an only single login. 

5. Lower cost

Last but not least, the cost to watch on-demand TV shows, movies, and other content on Netflix and other VoD services platforms is economical. 

Because of such benefits, not only Netflix but various other applications have also gained huge momentum in the entertainment segment.

Top competitors of Netflix video streaming application

Netflix is the most popular streaming service provider globally, however, it isn’t the only quality OTT platform. Over the decade, rivals of Netflix have increased that provide both the licensed as well as the original content.

Here are the top competitors of Netflix globally:

Now that you have seen the speed at which this domain is growing and the players that are defining the video streaming app industry, it is likely that you – as an entrepreneur, are excited to know about the Netflix-like app development cost.

But, wait! 

To make your journey to the on-demand video streaming app development market successful, it is necessary to get acquainted with the technicalities of the Netflix platform.

So, let’s start by understanding the features of a streaming services app like Netflix that made it a global success.

[Disclaimer: Here, in this article, we will focus only on the Minimal Viable Production (MVP) version of the application.]

Features to introduce in your Netflix-like app

Netflix gained a huge success because of its content algorithm that repurposes content based on the interests of users. Not only this, the app offers importance on the ease of usability. So, before running into how to start a streaming service like Netflix, let’s understand what features you must introduce to your Netflix-clone app.

1. User registration and profile management

The essential feature to focus upon while Netflix-like entertainment app development is user registration and profile management.

When it comes to easy sign-up and profile management, minimizing the requested details in the form is not enough. You should introduce the functionality of social media integration or SSO verification as it improves the app user retention rate.

2. Search content

Being a platform offering thousands of video content, it is imperative to consider the feature of search and filter.

With this feature, users will be able to search for their favorite shows and movies based on different criteria like genre, language, country of production, etc.

3. Payment gateway

With data security and privacy gaining huge momentum in the marketplace, looking ahead to payment gateway integration is a profitable method. When you provide users with the opportunity to pay via different payment options that are fast, it reduces the bounce rate on the app or website.

4. Watchlist

A watchlist is also one of the prominent features to consider when you decide to develop a video streaming application. 

It is the section where the users add programs that they wish to watch later. It cuts down their efforts of searching for the same TV show or series again and positively influences the app user retention rate.

5. Social features

Users, these days, love to share anything and everything on Social networking sites. In such a scenario, adding the social feature to your Netflix-like app is again profitable. 

Adding social features also helps marketing the trending or newly released video content. So, look ahead to it.

6. Screen mirroring or screencasting

You must include a screencasting feature that enables viewing the video on your app on other screens like a TV or Laptop with the help of a Wi-fi connection. There are two ways to implement this feature. Let us look at both of them –

Google Cast SDK –

  • The SDK has become an important part of the answer to how to create a streaming app for Android that is designed and developed to support the Chromecast feature.
  • The API functionalities make it possible for developers to extend their iOS, Android, or even Chrome apps to stream the audio and video content onto a TV set, empowering your app to become a remote control to manage the playback functionality like play, pause, seek, rewind, etc.
  • AirPlay – The second method enables the screen mirroring option with the AirPlay Protocol Stack. It allows streaming works between devices of video, audio, device screens, photos with Apple TV, and the linked iOS apps. Currently, Apple Inc. has licensed the protocol stack for video streaming app development companies that build products compatible with Apple’s devices.

7. Multi-language support

Last but not least, app localization, aka extending your content language beyond English, is yet another must-have feature of Netflix-clone apps.

This feature enables your mobile streaming app to reach greater demographics and flourish your business besides the geographical boundaries your app is based.

The above Netflix app features made the application a global success worldwide. There’s no denying it. However, the user experience the app offers made users pick Netflix over other top video streaming apps.

So, keeping this into consideration, it is good to keep a watch on the design guidelines before getting into video streaming app development.

UI/UX analysis of Netflix-like app

1. User-Friendly Design

The VoD application is designed to offer users ease of access to start with any new show or continue watching an episode they left in between earlier. The Netflix mobile app comes loaded with various features such as ‘add to my list,’ ‘auto-play to next episode,’ ‘skip intro,’ and many more that add to the user convenience bucket.

2. Multi-Screen Support

Multi-screen support of Netflix enables different users to stream content on different screens or user profiles simultaneously. You can watch your favorite shows on the mobile app, web app, or TV, and the same content can play on two different screens.

3. Personalized Experience

Netflix uses Machine learning and other AI mechanisms to display a list of TV shows and movies onto the user screen related to the type of content they are watching or the genre it belongs to. It makes viewers feel appreciated and gives them another reason to spend more time on the application.

4. Search Button

The search button on the app’s home screen takes users to a new screen on the right side with a virtual keyboard. When they type anything, the application begins to feed suggestions which automatically reduce their efforts to come across the content they want to watch.

Before we move to the core element of this article, i.e., the one where we discuss the Netflix-like app development cost, let’s look at how to earn that money, aka, the Netflix-clone app business revenue model.

Business and revenue model of Netflix mobile application

The answer to how video streaming apps like Netflix generate revenue is the subscription model. The Netflix application offers various subscription plans to the users depending on options like the quality of video and the number of screens using an account simultaneously.

Irrespective of the monetization model streaming apps opt for, they provide subscriptions for the first month for free to acquire more users.

However, the offers and pricing plans vary depending on the geographical locations.

How to create a video streaming app like Netflix?

To create your own Netflix-like app, you not only require development, but you need to consider various vital pointers and follow several steps through the whole process. A few of the steps are stated below:

1. Find Your Niche

Your prime objective is to find the type of content that you want to stream on your video-streaming app. You can explore various content types and make them available to your audience.. Here we have researched the different types of content and segmented them into categories. 

Here are a few of them:

  • Entertainment

Entertainment is the most common type of content involving various genres like comedy, thriller, action, etc. The entertainment content types are highly profitable as it targets a more extensive audience base, and people always love to watch something new.

  • Fitness

One likey niche to follow and develop a live streaming app for is fitness. People love staying fit and creating routines that follow their daily schedule, and users don’t think much before paying a subscription fee for an on-demand fitness video streaming service. Furthermore, to experience more conversions to your app, try including various fitness features like Zumba, yoga, diet conditioning, etc.

  • Education

Considering the current trend, people are more likely to watch “how-to” videos than to read long-form content for solutions. You can develop an informational live streaming app for people of different ages keen to learn something new. Creating a streaming app for the educational niche will reap considerable benefits in the long run.

2. Choose your content availability.

Since the content is the core of your VoD app, you need to fixate the content. Answer to yourself the following questions:

  • Would you use videos from other distribution channels?
  • Would you build a live streaming app?

If we were to suggest, for entertainment build partnerships contracts with media houses for various content. For education and fitness needs, you can do both- setting up your own content media house or reaching out to other media houses.

[Note: In any case, you need to use digital marketing to promote your content]

3. Choose the monetization model

Earning money is the prime objective of developing a live streaming app. So, choose your monetization model wisely. You can look into the below monetization models for assistance.

  • Pay per view

The most known and tested pricing screen is where customers pay for every video they watch. If your end goal is diving into broadcast live streaming, trade shows, sports events, and more, you can go for this model.

  • Advertising

The advertising model is simple as you charge other companies for using your platform to display their advertisements. It’s like providing space to media buyers for running promotions on your app. This monetization strategy derives fruitful results if you have a vast audience base.

  • Subscription

As you remember, most entertainment-based video streaming service providers are running subscription-based models. Subscribers give a monthly fee to receive access to an unlimited content library. You can use this model if you regularly release new content on your video streaming app.

4. Know your requirements

As you are done with significant planning, it’s time to dive into the first stage of development. You need to understand your video streaming app requirements. Below are a few corresponding factors that you can consider for your app:

  • Internet speed

Internet speed impacts the app’s ability to stream the on-demand content. The minimum internet speed required to stream standard definition movies is over 2MB per second. You need to understand what will be the required internet speed to stream quality content in your app.

  • Cloud hosting and computing architecture

We recommend using cloud hosting and computing architecture as they are flexible and allow quick access to video content. You can use cloud computing for many operations such as search engines, A/B testing, caching architecture, and more.

  • Security

Security is a prime concern and no user wants their data to be accessed by an unauthorized person. You need to consider content and information security across customer devices. We recommend choosing operations like network background, token security, domain restriction, and watermarking for best security measures.

  • Payment gateway

You need to decide what payment gateway to be integrated for making easy, secure, and traceable payments. There are various popular payment solutions available to choose from, like Stripe, 2CheckOut, PayPal, and more.

  • Subscription logs

It is highly recommended to track and manage the subscription logs for your app. While developing a video streaming app, your users will increase over time and it will be hard to manage each user’s data manually. The subscription logs feature integration will help determine the video quality, view streaming data information, and a number of screens you are logged in.

5. UI/UX Design

The UI/UX design is what makes Netflix a user’s first choice. The UI/UX designers at Netflix have made a unique way of content promotion. A preview section of the home page plays small clips of  a series or the movie that helps users in finalizing to invest their time or not.

Well, the UI/UX focuses on how to make the user experience more pleasant for everyday users. You need to finalize the placement of the different elements and visualize your app is optimized showing your USP and UI to deliver a value proposition.

6. Create an on-demand MVP model

The last step is your development stage. Your primary focus must remain on functional requirements such as set timelines, design, accessibility, user experience, etc.

Give detailed attention to the proposed platform design and ensure it is seamless, glitch-free, and user-friendly throughout its navigation cycle.

You ensure your streaming application is on its basic level with minimalist features and accessible settings through an MVP model.

7. Gather feedback

Now, that you have created your MVP, it is necessary to validate your MVP with diverse methods. You need to gather feedback from a group of people basically known as early adopters. Make sure to understand the pain points as well as the most essential features needed in the app. Testing your MVP in real-time will help understand users’ reactions and identification of the scope of improvement.

Features Approx Development Hours
User Authorization 33
User Profile 35
Search 25
Notifications 25
Reviews and ratings 44
User Interface 100
Streaming channel management 80
Admin side 90
Framework integration mobile 45
Database 20
Total Approx Hours: 572

Now, as you know how to create a video streaming app like Netflix, let’s no further wait and discuss the cost of creating your own Netflix-like app.

Cost to develop a streaming app like Netflix

As mentioned in our mobile app development cost guide, the budget required to build an application similar to Netflix is not fixed. Various factors affect the cost to create mobile streaming apps like Netflix, such as-

1. Platform

The cost of video-streaming apps would rise in ascending order as you move from one platform, say Android or iOS, or both, and they would be higher when you add the web into the mix.

2. Features and Tech Stack

Depending on the combination of app features you integrate to your app, there’s a variation in the video streaming app development cost.

  • Simple – User registration feature, payment gateway, video gallery elements, social media integration, video player, search feature, and settings profile.
  • Medium – The medium  version features + app localization, subtitles feature, advanced video player integration.
  • Complex – In addition to the features mentioned above – User profiles, the ability to search for friends, push notifications, chat, reviews, and comments.

3. The Geographical location of hired app developers

The average per hour cost demanded by a video streaming app development company varies from East to West. While in the western nations like the US or Australia, the average hourly rate would vary from $80 to $200, in Eastern nations like India, the cost would be somewhere around $25 to $80.

So, the right way to know the exact cost to develop a streaming app like Netflix is by consulting an on-demand app developer and discussing it with them.

The on-demand video streaming apps like Netflix are backed by numerous frontend and backend technologies, a glimpse of which you can get from the next section of the article.

Technology stack for developing video streaming apps like Netflix

It’s necessary to understand the technology stack needed for developing video streaming apps like Netflix before getting into development. Below are the details of the tech stack segmented according to various aspects like applications and data, utilities, DevOps, and business tools.

Technologies to make your Netflix-clone application successful

1. 5G Technology

Currently, Netflix relies upon adaptive bitrate streaming technology to adjust the audio and video streaming quality according to the viewer’s broadband connection speed and real-time network conditions. But, to beat Disney+ and other such top video streaming apps, you have to ensure faster and better results. Something that can be possible by introducing the power of 5G technology into your app development plan.

2. Blockchain

Another technology that can be brought into account to enjoy better outcomes is Blockchain.

By introducing the power of Blockchain into a Netflix-like app business model, you can reap various benefits, such as – 

  • You can enable users to pay in bitcoins (or any other cryptocurrency). This will speed up the payment process as well as eliminate the charges demanded by third-party intermediaries.
  • You can let users decide if they want to watch some advertisements within the movie or not. If they agree, you can reward them with some tokens or discounts on the subscription fee. This way, you can keep users hooked to your video streaming platform as well as make more money via an advertising monetization strategy.
  • Also, you can let people generate their own video content and share it with other viewers in your Blockchain ecosystem while giving production credit to Netflix-like applications themselves.

3. Artificial Intelligence

Artificial Intelligence has many use cases in video streaming apps and is an ideal solution for optimizing video streaming solutions. Integrating AI to your application will assist you in calculating bitrate to optimize bandwidth usage while maintaining a standard level of streaming quality. Also, AI can help you across various segments like content material enhancement, content moderation, discovery, and video indexing.

With AI-enabled video streaming apps, you can personalize your services for the clients by delivering content that relates to their interests. You can simply analyze, learn, and derive results to make the best predictions for future engagements.

4. Machine Learning

Machine learning, a subset of artificial intelligence, is another technology that is boosting the video streaming industry by providing various functionalities to ease the customer experience. With ML in play, safety and security concerns have reduced substantially and the new content is readily available to stream.

Machine learning brings additional functionalities like object detection, indexing, prevention of copyright infringement, censorship, and automation. There are widely use-cases of machine learning is streaming apps like Facebook, Netflix, Twitch, YouTube, etc.

For example, Netflix has millions of subscribers with individual viewer profiles. Every individual has a different viewing experience that involves behavioral data like what they watched recently, what they watched after that, what they watched earlier, or what they watched a year ago.

All this data becomes the foundation data for machine learning to analyze and learn about individual behavior. Machine learning is not new to VoD streaming applications and if you are thinking to develop a Netflix-like app, you must look forward to it.

With this, we covered the Netflix-like app development cost, technologies used, and the monetization strategies it undertook to earn money. So, let’s wrap up this informative article while uncovering what activities to perform after launching a live streaming app like Netflix.

What activities to perform after launching a live streaming app like Netflix

Once your app has been successfully submitted and approved by the Apple app store or Google play store, it is time to market and promote your app.

Derive a 360-degree marketing strategy for your app, including content marketing, search engine optimization, email marketing, LinkedIn marketing, etc. 

Formulate diverse content buckets and monthly calendars to convert maximum conversions by encouraging your existing audience to download your app. You can use email marketing and paid ads to get a larger base of a new audience while using social media marketing to build your brand authority.

How can Appinventiv help you create a video streaming app like Netflix?

At Appinventiv, we have worked on several unique and innovative streaming mobile applications to help businesses deliver ultra-smooth experiences that their customers embrace.

For instance, we have helped our client ABP Group to develop a live news streaming app, ABP Live, which offers a seamless glitch-free live content streaming experience on their app.

We redesigned the app and delivered a robust architecture with additional features like ‘clips’ that enables the readers to flip through trending news bits. We also integrated a ‘Podcast’ feature that allows users to listen to trending news on the go.

Similarly, for another client, excel entertainment wanted to promote their film ‘Gully Boy’on the mobility domain. The idea was to develop an app, ‘Gully Beat’ that allows budding rappers to showcase their talent by creating rap and sharing it.

We helped them ideate, design, develop, and deliver a highly optimized seamless app that revolutionized the DIY culture in the nation. The app allows users to create and record their rap tracks in a small duration and share them on the app and social media platforms.

In case you are also planning to develop a video streaming app like Netflix, you can contact us. Our experts will guide you through the entire process and make the app development journey easier for you. 

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: How many subscribers does Netflix have currently?

A: As of quarter one of 2022, Netflix boasts 221.6 million paid subscribers worldwide. In the last quarter of 2021, Netflix had 221.8 million subscribers but the company experienced a loss of over 200,000 subscribers for the first time in the decade.

Q: What is the average MVP development cost for a video streaming app?

A: The average MVP development cost varies depending on the features you want to include in your MVP. However, the average number of hours required to develop a minimum viable product for a Netflix-like app will take 300-500 hours.

Q3: What are the critical parameters that must be checked to gauge the success of the app?

A: The two most key parameters you need to measure are:

Customer Acquisition Cost: This metrics tells you the cost of acquiring a new subscriber to your app. You can calculate this by picking a specific time period and dividing it by the cost of marketing of that period.

Note: The lower the CAC, the better it is.

Retention Rate: This metric measures the percentage of active subscribers and those who have stopped using the services over a specified period. To calculate the retention rate, subtract the new subscribers at the end of the season and divide it by the number of subscribers you started with in the season.

Note: The retention rate varies from industry to industry.

THE AUTHOR
Prateek Saxena
DIRECTOR & CO-FOUNDER
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