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5 Key Steps to Creating a Top Media App in 2023

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Mobile-app revenues are predicted to hit $935 billion in 2023 due to the success of popular apps like Netflix, TikTok, Hulu, and Tubi. This has led to a massive business opportunity in entertainment streaming app development. This article will outline the steps involved in this process: 

  1. Analyze the Market

Video streaming is popular globally due to improving internet speeds. By 2023, it's expected to make up 75% of mobile data traffic. Users access various types of content, including live TV and on-demand videos. In addition to these impressive numbers, here are a few more by Statista:

  • Revenue in the Subscription Video-on-Demand segment (SVoD, video streaming services that require users to pay a subscription fee to access content) is projected to reach $95.86 billion in 2023.
  • Revenue is expected to show an annual growth rate (CAGR 2023–2027) of 9.77%, resulting in a projected market volume of $139.20bn by 2027.
  • The average revenue per user (ARPU) in the Video Streaming (SVoD) segment is projected to be $73.94 in 2023.

There is no doubt that the market promises huge growth soon. To profit from it, you must analyze the market and find your niche. Follow these recommendations to get started:

  • When analyzing the market and finding your niche, research the competition to differentiate yourself.
  • Find a gap in the market by identifying trends in the industry and consumer behavior.
  • Consider your target audience's interests and needs, and the content they already consume.
  • Create a unique value proposition using this information to set yourself apart and appeal to your target audience.
  • Understanding the market and identifying a niche will help you launch a streaming app that meets your target audience's needs and stands out in a crowded market.

To launch a successful app, you must understand application types, monetization, and development stages.

  1. Choose a Streaming Application Type

When we talk about streaming apps, it's important to distinguish between two main types of solutions: streaming-only apps and streaming apps with a broadcasting feature.

You may want customers to only consume content through your application. However, to engage customers, a streaming app can offer broadcasting options for real-time content sharing, such as live events, Q&A sessions, virtual meetups, and screen sharing. These features enhance the user experience, enabling collaboration and increasing the app's value.

Let's break it down using case-study examples.

Video Streaming Apps Like Netflix

Netflix, once mocked by Blockbuster, now drives the movie-watching revolution. It produces its TV shows and movies and has 200M+ paying customers.

Live/on-demand: on-demand

Live Streaming Apps Like Twitch

Twitch is a top live streaming platform for video games. Like Netflix or Hulu, it streams video over the internet, but with user-generated content for a global audience instead.

Live/on-demand: live and on-demand

Streaming Apps Like TikTok

TikTok is a booming social media app that allows users to watch short videos and broadcast their live videos to other users.

Live/on-demand: live and on-demand

  1. Select a Monetization Model

You need to know possible monetization strategies to decide how to start a streaming service and turn it into a profitable business.

Here are a few monetization models that you can utilize:

  • Subscription – this model implies paying weekly, monthly or yearly for a service subscription.
  • Pay-per-view – with this monetization strategy, users pay per each view, e.g., a movie, a series, etc.
  • Advertising – placement of ads by other companies will help you cover the expenses and generate revenue. As a part of this strategy, you can include ads blocking option at an additional cost.
  • Freemium – some content is available to all users. Other content might require payment per each view or the purchase of a subscription to your service.

However, it's important to remember that successful streaming services usually use multiple monetization models to reduce risk and increase revenue streams. Combining models such as subscriptions, pay-per-view, and advertising is important for business success

Twitch, for example, makes its money in at least three ways: through subscriptions, advertising, and a share of payments for the animated bits that users buy to add some flair to their comments and reward their favorite streamers. 

TikTok makes money through three different avenues: advertising, in-app purchases and eCommerce offerings.

Spotify uses both subscription-based and advertising-based models. Spotify’s free version is ad-supported, while premium subscription is ad-free and offers more features.

Another example is Livestream, a mobile app for live streaming owned by Vimeo. It enables content streaming on platforms like YouTube Live and Facebook Live. The app is available for free on the Apple App Store and Google Play Store, but requires a paid subscription to use.

  1. Find experts

Before developing a streaming app, you need to choose the right technology stack. Here is one of the many options:

  • Feature: Live streaming / On-demand video streaming / Video hosting
  • Mobile: Swift (iOS) / Kotlin (Android)
  • Web: React (Javascript) / Angular (Typescript)
  • Server: Spring (Java) / Beego (Go) / FastAPI (Python)
  • Database: PostgreSQL / Cassandra
  • CDN: Amazon CloudFront / Cloudflare / Akamai
  • Authentication: Auth0 / Firebase
  • Video Encoding: AWS Elemental MediaConvert / Elastic Transcoder
  • Calls: WebRTC / Twilio Video / Agora
  • Media Players: Video.js / Plyr / Shaka Player
  • Social Media: Facebook Login / Twitter API / Instagram API
  • Payment Processing: Stripe / PayPal / Braintree
  • Analytics: Amplitude / Google Analytics
  • Cache: Redis / Memcached / Amazon ElastiCache
  • Search: Elasticsearch / Apache Solr / Algolia
  • Hosting: AWS / Google Cloud / others (depends on countries you want to cover)

To handle infrastructure, cloud services, and security, you'll require expertise. You can either hire an in-house team or outsource the project, but budget considerations should be a primary factor in your decision-making.

Building a team involves costs for hiring software engineers, marketing, UI/UX experts, and graphic designers, which can be a lengthy and challenging process. A consultant may also be required to evaluate the technical skills of the team.

It's much safer to rely on an expert who knows exactly how he can meet your requirements. Fortunately, the software development outsourcing market is strong, so finding a company that fits your business needs will be easy.

Consider a hybrid approach to combine the benefits of outsourcing and in-house development. For instance, develop an MVP with an outsourced team, then gradually expand your team for ongoing maintenance. This suits companies with an existing IT department.

In-house teams or staff augmentation can help keep core development in-house and outsource routine tasks, or take over specific areas of development.

  1. Develop an App

When developing a streaming app, you go through the following phases: technical documentation and design, creation of an MVP, quality assurance, and release of the app.  Let's take a look at these steps individually. 

Technical Documentation and Design 

You should begin by creating the technical documentation and design if you're just starting out on a project. At this stage, you need to focus on the following areas of work:

  • Create detailed technical documentation. This should outline the app's architecture, functionality, and components.
  • Specify tools and technologies. Identify the software and systems that will be used during development.
  • Determine constraints and limitations. Any potential issues that could affect the development process should be outlined.
  • Collaborate with a design team. Work together to create wireframes and mockups that show the app's user interface and experience.
  • Design layout, colors, icons, and graphics. Choose the visual elements that will create the app's overall style.
  • Ensure technical feasibility. Work closely with the development team to implement the design efficiently.

This simplifies communication between team members, stakeholders and developers and creates clarity and certainty, which is vital for the entire team. 

To make this phase as efficient as possible, you should follow these guidelines:

  • Foster teamwork between design team, business analyst, and developers for cost-efficiency
  • Choose an experienced design team for quick and quality project development
  • Test design ideas to identify problems and reduce development costs.

Creation of an MVP (Minimum Viable Product)

An MVP is a simplified version of your final product that includes only the essential features necessary for deployment. It enables you to launch your product faster, gather feedback from users, and make improvements before investing further resources.

Five main goals can be achieved with MVP:

  1. Initial customer testing. This is the most important MVP feature, as it allows you to determine whether and to what extent potential customers will be interested in the product.
  2. User feedback. It can provide information about the usability of the product. From here, you can make the necessary improvements.
  3. Market trends research and validation. This step provides essential data on positioning the product in the market: from general advertising campaigns to customer segmentation.
  4. Early customer acquisition. In many cases, a segment of customers who have tested the product will want to purchase it after launch.
  5. Investment planning. Depending on the testing results, the company can understand how much to invest in the idea.

Quality Assurance

Before making your app available for public download, you must ensure it works well on multiple devices - it’s essential to test it on multiple devices. During this process, you may discover various bugs, such as:

  • Display and layout problems on screens with varying sizes and resolutions
  • Incompatibility with different operating system versions
  • Performance issues like slow load times or crashes on specific devices
  • Buttons not working properly
  • Images not appearing correctly
  • Text being cut off

Testing on different devices allows you to identify and fix these issues before releasing your app to the public. 

To provide reliable quality assurance analysis, it may be necessary to hire QA Consulting Specialists to perform thorough testing. With their expertise, you can be sure that your app is of the highest quality before it is released to the public.

Release, Maintain and Improve

Congrats on your MVP launch! Analyze user behavior, test and improve features for growth. Insights can refine and optimize your product, increase engagement and attract investors. Keep evolving to meet user needs and succeed in the market.

Who knows, you may even be the first to delve into the future of streaming technology and create something revolutionary. The spotlight is currently on streaming apps, but what will be the next big thing: metaverses, AR/VR, or another innovation?

[Editor's note: This is a contributed article from Solvd. Streaming Media accepts vendor bylines based solely on their value to our readers.]

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