Nowadays, more and more people prefer to watch shows and movies via streaming services instead of conventionally using the TV. This fact is conditioned by a wide range of advantages such services provide consumers with. To illustrate, Netflix is the largest paid-for video streaming service globally, with 195 million subscribers and a $17 billion annual content spend. Moreover, streaming platforms are rapidly growing their popularity: the US video streaming profit is $27 billion and is forecasted to reach $42 billion by 2025. Such statistics make streaming platforms perfect for serving as a startup idea.

Let’s discuss the streaming technology more precisely by estimating its final cost and covering not only a solution like Netflix but other famous platforms. For example, Disney+, Hangouts, TikTok, and Instagram Stories have streaming technology implemented as well.

How Netflix streaming works

Netflix is a globally used SVOD service (subscription video on demand). This platform comprises a great diversity of shows and films available for a fee. It can satisfy the preferences and tastes of every user and supports software systems like iOS, Android, Smart TV, Windows, Mac OS, and many others.

Netflix offers a free monthly trial, after which the app automatically can charge the fee in case the subscription wasn’t canceled. To illustrate, if you’ve signed up via iTunes, the payment will be processed via an iTunes account.

Netflix features

Let’s briefly overview the opportunities Netflix provides:

  • Content catalog and search bar with advanced filters
  • Suggesting new shows based on your preferences with the help of CineMatch
  • Up to five individual profiles in one account
  • A range of streaming video content
  • Rating seen movies to get more personalized suggestions
  • Adding personal searching categories

How to build an app like Netflix, Disney+ or TikTok

Here’s the list of primary development phases for a streaming platform development:

  • Stage 1. Select the suitable strategy
  • Stage 2. Arrange your business model
  • Stage 3. Define a great tech stack
  • Stage 4. Create an MVP version of a Netflix-like service
  • Stage 5. Think over vital requirements to comply with

1. Right business strategy to create an app like Netflix, Disney+ or TikTok

We’ll overview basic steps to fulfill before proceeding to the streaming service development. 

how to build a Netflix

  • Define your niche. The more thorough preparation you’ll have, the better final product you’ll receive, so you should start this complex process by selecting the type of streaming and content it will contain and for which target audience. 

 

  • Create your content. As mentioned before, you should define which content your platform will comprise and decide how regularly it will be updated. What’s more, you should think over whether it will be accessed free of charge or at a certain fee.

 

  • Get licensing for content. Posting shows and movies will require compliance with specific law regulations depending on the region. Besides, when it comes to series, there might be an opportunity to get the license for posting particular seasons. You can fulfill this guideline by renting the content from an authorized distributor (In the USA, the leading distributors are Motion Picture Licensing Corporation and SWANK Motion Pictures) or applying directly to a copyright possessor. 

 

  • Choose the design. An excellent and intuitive design will attract lots of customers to your service and satisfy them. It’s possible by choosing the existing UI/UX design templates you like or asking your development team to build the custom one. 

 

  • Support all platforms and devices. Obviously, there are lots of operating systems and devices they meet. Thus, to embrace a more considerable number of users, you should think of creating a cross-platform solution.

 

  • Focus on your audience. The final point to consider is to concentrate on the requirements and pains of your audience. For this, you may promote your product via platforms they frequently use, such as Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, Twitter, etc. 

2. Business model to follow

Bringing success to your business requires lots of effort, so, unfortunately, it won’t happen with the twist of a spanner. Thus, you should be ready to invest lots of time and effort before making the product profitable. The income will be generated by degrees.

The best way to make your app outstanding is to fill it with unique content and license it. Next, you should come up with a monetization strategy.

Monetization

This aspect defines how the product generates profit, so you should determine how regularly your clients will be asked for the payment. For higher convenience, your app should support multiple currencies and payment systems. You may provide your users with a couple of options at different periods and offer the entire content library or only a part of it. To attract more customers, your app should have a free trial so that users can get acquainted with it.

Thus, the following points should be foreseen:

  • Subscription plans 
  • Automated payments; 
  • Free trial
  • Auto-updating/discounts
  • Video advertising

Here are the most popular monetization strategies in various streaming services:

Type

Monetization

1Content Streaming
  • Subscription
  • Purchase
2Group Video Calls
  • Subscription
3One-2-One Video calls
  • Advertisements
  • One-time purchase
4Live streaming
  • Advertisement

Lifetime Value

Every project requires investments and considerable outgoings. That’s why it would be best to determine a lifetime value, which is a prediction of the net income related to how much profit every consumer brings to you for the entire cooperation. The more clients you have, the more long-term subscriptions you’ll get.

Marketing expenses

As we’ve already mentioned, customers can be attracted via various channels. Therefore, the best way to optimize your income and make the best out of the product promotion is to determine the lifetime value of engaged customers from different sales channels.

3. Technology stack for Netflix-like service

You can find an exemplary tech stack to create a Netflix-like platform below:

ServiceWebMobileTV
1Netflix, Hulu, Disney+
  • NodeJS
  • C#
  • Kotlin for Android
  • Swift for iOS
LG TV:
  • C#
  • React

Samsung TV:

  • Node.JS
  • React
2Hangouts
  • NodeJS
  • Kotlin for Android
  • Swift for iOS
3Instagram Stories, TikTok
  • NodeJS
  • Kotlin for Android
  • Swift for iOS

 

Besides, there’s a row of third party integrations worth including into the product development:


ServiceContent typeIntegration
1Netflix, Hulu, Disney+Content Streaming
  • AWS
2HangoutsGroup Video Calls
  • Web RTC + Socket.io
  • Agora.io
3Instagram Stories, TikTokLive streaming
  • AWS
  • Wowza

 

For a higher convenience, we’ve assembled the cost of third-parties as well:


TechnologyAWSSocketWowzaAgora
1Streaming$0,0850/ GB$0,095/

GB

2Broadcasting$0,072 hourlyFree$0,06 hourly
3Group video callsFree$3.99/ 1,000 minutes

4. MVP for services like Netflix, Disney+ or TikTok

Minimum Viable Product (MVP) is an excellent way to decrease both development cost and time-to-market. The main point of how to build a minimum viable product is to include only primary features to decrease creation expenditures. Extra functionality may be implemented during further app enhancement.

Netflix MVP

Platform

When it comes to MVP creation, you should first define one platform (iOS/Android) depending on what your target audience uses more. But in case you want to attract a higher number of consumers, you may build a cross-platform app not neglecting the web version as well. 

Design

The interface should be clear, user-friendly and intuitive, and comprise essential features:

  • Registration. Signing up or authorizing via their social network accounts (ex. Facebook)

Signing up or authorizing via their social network accounts

  • Payment gateway. iOS and Android provide special frameworks to apply their APIs. As for the website, the most commonly used payment gateways are Stripe or Braintree.

Payment gateway

  • Profile. Users may create a list of favorite movies, and save content to watch later. Also, they should be able to create multiple profiles linked to the joint account.

Users may create a list of favorite movies

  • Search. Section with advanced filtering by genres helpful to find the most suitable one.

Search

  • Chat and feedback. Discussing the impressions with the other users.
  • Notifications. Making clients aware of certain releases or offering personalized suggestions.
  • Settings. Adjusting the language, audio, subtitles, volume, etc.

Adjusting the language, audio, subtitles, volume

  • Screenshot banning. Copyright security to avoid illegal content distribution.
  • Admin panel. An integral tool for you to manage content and users.

Additional Features

A sophisticated streaming platform comprises a broad spectrum of extra features. Here’s an approximate list that you may include in your platform:

  • Social sharing. Opportunity to share reviews and news via social media.

Opportunity to share reviews and news via social media

  • Rates and reviews. Leaving feedback on watched content.
  • Live streaming. Online broadcasts of certain TV shows, and programs.
  • Personal suggestions. Offering users individual content based on their watch list.
  • Geo-blocking. Restricting access to the content for specific regions.
  • Download. Saving the films and shows for offline watching.
  • Video quality. Selecting quality rate depending on the device tech characteristics.

Selecting quality rate

5. Vital requirements for streaming service to keep up with

A top-notch solution meets certain requirements testifying to the high quality of the product. Here are certain peculiarities which attract and satisfy a broader audience:

  • Solid storage. Cloud hosting is one of the most credible storage. Thus, you should store your content on trustworthy hosting for higher security.
  • Potent network connection. Content Delivery Network (CDN) is an excellent solution to set potent connectivity, avoid server overloading, reduce request time, etc.
  • Streaming protocols. For your project, you should select the most suitable one among a wide range of streaming protocols like WebRTC, HLS, and RTMP.
  • High bandwidth. A credible video streaming protocol accompanied by CDN will guarantee high bandwidth and reduce delays. Primarily, it’s significant for posting content with 4K resolution.
  • Protection. To prevent hackers’ intrusions, you should consider token security, domain restriction, geo-restrictions, and SSL encryption.

Final hints to create a high-quality Netflix-like app

Here are some points to think over for a successful Netflix-like app building:

  • Product defining. Thorough analysis and planning is a key point to creating an excellent platform.
  • User experience. Clients’ satisfaction in every app element, from posted content to a convenient authorization, an easy-to-use design, and handy payment methods.
  • Personalization and big data. Development of various recommendation systems according to analytical information.
  • Ad strategy. Determining the placement and frequency of ad posting.
  • Security. Content safety for legality-related issues prevention.
  • Analytics. Data analysis and statistics is an efficient way to define which parts of the app should be enhanced.
  • Quality of service (QoS). This aspect shows a general app performance considering each element: user experience, broadcasting speed, and content playback. 
  • Multiplatform. Select a suitable platform for your project. Note that users want to watch content in a high resolution and on various gadgets.

The total cost of the Netflix-like service development

The final development price varies due to the number and complexity of required features, which determine the development time. You can find the rough time estimate on the illustration below:

average development time

Besides, your personal requirements may influence the expenses, so to calculate a more precise price, you should apply to a project manager from a chosen software development company.

Total Netflix cost

You can find the MVP app cost of popular streaming services based on the $50/h rate below:

ServiceHoursCost
Netflix, Hulu, Disney+1,432$71,600
Hangouts1,050$52,500
Instagram Stories, TikTok1,180$59,000

Let’s now calculate the total cost of an app with advanced features also using a $50/h rate:

ServiceHoursCost
Netflix, Hulu, Disney+2,655$133,250
Hangouts2,949$147,450
Instagram Stories, TikTok2,281$114,050

Another cost-defining factor worth considering is the hourly rate of a chosen software development company. The infographic below indicates approximate costs for app creation in companies of various scales:

Hourly rate

Summarize

Streaming app creation is a complex process with a row of requirements and peculiarities. Yet, if all these aspects are met, the solution may recoup and surmount expenditures within a short period because such platforms are highly demanded and widely used nowadays. Thus, creating a flawless Netflix-like service is possible by applying to an experienced software development team, which will consult you on every creation phase and provide you with an excellent final product.

Katherine Orekhova

Katherine Orekhova is a technical writer at Cleveroad – a mobile app development company. She is keen on technology and innovations. Her passion is to tell people about the latest tech trends in the world of IT.