In just a few years, streaming media services have caused a real revolution worldwide. Several factors have led to a profound change in how audiovisual content is consumed on the Internet. Firstly, the development of connections in recent years. Then, the aggressive economic proposal of streaming platforms, the constant renewal of the catalog, and social networks have done the rest.
Before the arrival of these platforms, watching audiovisual content other than conventional television required a contract and a one- or two-year contract with a telephone operator. But technological innovations of the 21st century have revolutionized all sectors. In April 1998, Netflix began DVD-by-mail rentals. Fast forward 24 years, Netflix is synonymous with on-demand video streaming. Now, we can consume content from any device, without limits to the catalog and without permanence commitments.
Moreover, more and more businesses are taking advantage of this new market. New media platforms have appeared for game streaming, e-sport, podcasts, and various subscription-based mobile applications. In this article, we focus on streaming app development and share our insights on how to build one.
The streaming business is growing exponentially. According to Grandview Research, the global video streaming market will expand at a CAGR of 21.0% from 2021 to 2028. The market was worth $50.11 billion in 2020. The continuous increase in subscribers has been accompanied by an increase in the companies' share prices, with Netflix reaching a market capitalization of US$300.515 billion.
In comparison, Spotify has surpassed US$53 billion. Likewise, business empires such as Amazon and Apple are placing increasing importance on the profitability of their streaming media services.
The health crisis in 2020 increased the demand for audio and video streaming services globally. According to Allied Market Research, the music streaming market is expected to grow at a CAGR of 9.8% in the next six years and reach $24.7 billion by 2027. Spotify leads the way in the music streaming sector, with 30% of the global market share.
Streaming apps have seen a significant increase in market valuation in the past year. In 2020, the combined market cap of the top five streaming companies increased by $330 billion year-over-year. Disney, Netflix, Comcast, and AT&T have over $210 billion in market cap each. Note that these figures are cumulative market caps rather than pure streaming valuations.
You can listen to or watch almost anything using streaming media technology. Once you’ve decided to build a subscription app, analyze the pros and cons of different types of streaming apps. Many services provide free access; others require a paid subscription or another fee. In addition, you can find different types of streaming services available for live events, video and movies, music, and games. You can create audio or video content streaming platforms, and each solution has unique app development requirements.
Streaming is a form of data access based on "store and forward." This means that files are stored on a server that you can access on-demand whenever you want. As a result, many people can access the same content simultaneously, but they can start or stop what they are watching without affecting others.
Streaming platforms work like virtual cloud libraries, eliminating the need to download files. You can build live or on-demand streaming apps. Then, monetize with ads, subscriptions, and in-app purchases for services. You can also combine different options on a single platform. For example, Spotify offers live and on-demand audio content and monetizes through ads and subscriptions.
Technically speaking, building audio streaming software is less complicated compared to video streaming apps. Also, audio is less space-intensive than video.
Streaming media services are not limited to video or music. You can also listen to podcasts and audiobooks and receive radio stations from all over the world. Likewise, online sessions can be streamed for users interested in practicing meditation in the mindfulness sector. Media streaming is highly versatile, flexible, and customizable for different use cases.
Here are some examples of how media streaming apps are used in several industries:
Subscriptions are a market standard widely adopted by users. Consumers acquire more than one subscription from different streaming platforms to access their favorite TV shows, movies, and audio content. Lockdowns and stay-at-home directives in 2020 enhanced this trend further.
According to a JD Power survey, about 39% of respondents subscribed to four or more streaming services in April 2020. By December 2020, respondents with four or more subscriptions increased to 49%, and 13% use seven or more services.
Another survey found that US households subscribed to an average of 3.33 SVoD services. To build a robust and profitable streaming service, understand why consumers choose specific subscriptions.
A complete billing system consists of several components to support in-app purchases and the billing process. To build a robust streaming app, use a billing system that streamlines subscription management. Your software should simplify payment processing, billing, invoicing, accounting, and more.
Here are the most popular billing systems for subscriptions:
Robust subscription systems combine several features, including analytics, payment gateways, dunning tools, and merchant accounts. Payment gateways eliminate the need to submit PCI compliance. Then, recurring billing services sit on top of payment gateways. Stripe, Paypal, or In-App Payments are the options also available for the split payments and marketplaces.
Your business model can make or break your streaming service. It determines revenue generation, profitability, and long-term sustainability. Take some time to analyze all different audio and video streaming business models.
Regardless of the preferred business model, you’ll need to bill your customers for services rendered. Subscription-based streaming platforms generate monthly or yearly recurring revenue. An annual billing cycle covers the service cost of an entire year. The subscriber is billed once a year unless they cancel. With a monthly billing cycle, subscribers can cancel at any time.
At its core, a subscription bundles content and offers them to the consumers as a package. So, you have to consider the most enticing packages for your streaming service. Focus on providing your subscribers value for money.
Media server software is advantageous in both personal and business environments. Since it allows users to play your media on multiple devices simultaneously and watch or view it any time they want on any device. However, lags and distortion can undermine viewing experiences. To build a high-performance streaming media platform, consider the following ingredients for success:
As we've shown before, video and media content is significant in today's world. However, to get video content accessible to a target audience and to build a subscription-based streaming app, you'll need these ten features in your mobile application:
Complicated registration and account setup can discourage willing subscribers from signing up. Ensure your app’s registration process is seamless, painless, and quick. Leverage social media integrations to entice more people to register. You can use this step to gather personal preferences, which will help you provide personalized experiences. The trick is not to be too pushy or annoying. On social media, use a simplified account creation and registration process with logging in to the app.
Streaming apps work with profiles like social networks. These profiles work independently for each user, so each user has their playback history, ratings, and likes; based on this information, the platform's algorithm establishes recommendations. Don’t underestimate the power of personalized experiences. Implement user profiling for more accurate content recommendations. Ideally, you should allow users to personalize their profiles based on their preferences.
Likewise, streaming apps must be exact in users' searches to meet their needs to consume streaming content. Incorporate a powerful search engine into your streaming app architecture for users to explore content more efficiently. You can use a filter search box to simplify users' search process.
Search engines work best when the seeker knows what they are looking for. But your subscribers don’t know about the content on your streaming media platform. To enhance users’ exploration and discovery journey, incorporate intuitive browsing in your app. For example, subscribers can find what they need by searching “I want to watch something funny.” If you're building a music streaming app, allow users to search by mood, genre, and remixes. The idea is to provide advanced search options beyond movie or song name, artist, actor, and producer.
As mentioned above, one of the business models frequently used by streaming apps is freemium access, which attracts many users who can consume the existing content, but in a limited way, and to have access to all the content, they must have a paid subscription. Providing freemium access to the content is an effective way to attract new users. First-time users will promote your streaming service to friends and family through word of mouth. Freemium is a low-cost marketing tool.
A paywall restricts access to paid content, while paid access gateway allows paying customers to access the content. Both are essential features for building streaming media services. Make sure to integrate them into your streaming app architecture.
Your content should be accessible to customers via mobile, web, desktop, and smartTV. To this end, provide smart players on different platforms. A multi-platform player can broaden your target market.
In addition, it is essential to have traffic attribution mechanisms in which it is possible to measure where the visits to the app come from. You can trace users’ journeys from external sources to your streaming app with traffic attribution. It can help you understand where your customers come from and the effectiveness of marketing campaigns.
After users subscribe, it is necessary to analyze the funnels to know which strategies are working and changing. Funnel analysis visualizes the journey of subscription users. How do users interact with your app? What is your app’s conversion rate? You can break down users’ engagement with your streaming app into views, comments, likes, and other actions. To leverage funnel analysis, implement built-in analytics in your streaming app.
In a world as competitive as ours, it is impossible to keep up with user demand without a program that helps your marketing and sales team automate those analogous processes that take time and do not add value to the app. So there’s value in automating online marketing campaigns, sales activities, and all repetitive tasks. Integrating marketing automation tools into your streaming app increases revenue, reduces human error, and maximizes efficiency.
Choose the ideal solutions for frontend interface and backend logic to build a robust streaming app. You’ll also need to pick the best hosting option for your platform.
Here is a breakdown of four focal areas:
Here is a subscription-based streaming app checklist to help you get started.
With this checklist, you build a functional streaming app based on subscriptions. But you don’t need app development expertise in-house to acquire a streaming media platform. You can rely on LeanCode for mobile app development as a tech startup.
If you want further inspiration, read our Case Study on how we developed Mindy Mobile Application, the subscription-based app for media streaming in the mindfulness market.
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