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OTT Platform Development: An Essential Guide for 2024

Unlock trends, features, development steps, costs, and the future of streaming in OTT platform development

Updated: January 30, 2024 12 mins read Published: January 05, 2024

In a world driven by rapid growth of streaming services and the ubiquity of mobile devices, demand for high-quality and engaging over-the-top (OTT) apps has surged. From industry giants like Netflix and Hulu to newcomers like Disney+ and Amazon Prime, OTT apps have irrevocably transformed how we consume video content, and the market shows no signs of slowing down.

According to the latest statistics, there are over one billion streaming video subscribers worldwide, and global revenue generated by OTT apps is projected to soar to a staggering $223 billion by 2026. It’s no wonder that an increasing number of businesses are turning their attention to developing their own OTT applications.

In the United States alone, more than 68% of households have daily access to OTT services, with the average user spending a minimum of 100 minutes a day engaged with content. This voracious appetite for content offers a golden opportunity, and with the right OTT platform, you can deliver engaging and convenient content to a thriving audience.

But in a market teeming with competition, the challenge is clear: How do you create an OTT app that truly stands out? Our comprehensive guide is packed with invaluable insights and strategies to help you navigate the intricate landscape of OTT platform development.

OTT app development market

Forecasts paint a promising picture for the OTT video streaming domain, with revenues growing rapidly. Insider Intelligence reports that OTT video subscription revenues are anticipated to reach a substantial $64.12 billion by 2026. This figure underscores the substantial monetization potential in this sector.

Insider Intelligence reports that OTT video subscription revenues

One of the driving forces behind this growth is the surging number of viewers opting for OTT services. Although reports suggest a moderation in the rate of adoption, the numbers remain impressive. In 2023, over two billion people worldwide are expected to subscribe to OTT services, with this figure set to grow through 2026. Notably, the United States occupies a central role as the world’s largest OTT market. According to Parks Associates Video Market Tracker, 2022 saw 377 independent OTT providers operating in the United States. Furthermore, a staggering 88% of US households with internet access had at least one OTT subscription service, underscoring the market’s saturation.

As the streaming landscape evolves, we can see a clear trend: the adaptation of hybrid business models by subscription-based services such as Netflix and Prime Video. In the face of intense competition, these giants have sought diversification through hybrid offerings, expanding their appeal to a wider audience.

The dynamic nature of the streaming sector is a compelling reason to invest in OTT apps and services. People no longer watch content solely in the confines of the living room; viewers can now access it from virtually anywhere with an internet connection. As the industry scales new heights, it unveils a wealth of monetization opportunities, from FAST (Free Ad-Supported Streaming TV) services to the myriad of screens and alternative devices used for video consumption.

For entrepreneurs and video business owners, the case for creating OTT platforms is clear. Such platforms facilitate the following key objectives:

  • Reach more viewers: OTT platforms offer global reach, allowing businesses to tap into a diverse and expansive audience base.
  • Improve video streaming services: OTT platforms enable businesses to provide high-quality, uninterrupted streaming experiences that captivate and retain viewers.
  • Increase revenue: By capitalizing on the burgeoning OTT market, businesses can unlock diverse revenue streams, including subscriptions, advertising, and content licensing.

As the OTT landscape continues to evolve, opportunities abound for forward-thinking businesses that seek to harness the industry’s immense potential. By embracing this digital revolution, companies can expand their reach, enhance viewer engagement, and, ultimately, increase their revenue.

Types of OTT platforms

The realm of OTT app development extends far beyond video streaming services. While video streaming remains a powerhouse, there are several other dynamic OTT alternatives that have been making their mark:

a) Video: Undoubtedly the most prominent of the lot, video OTT services have carved a massive niche in the market owing to their extensive content libraries and audience appeal.

b) Audio: Audio streaming services have gained prominence, offering music, podcasts, and more.

c) VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol): VoIP services have transformed how people communicate, enabling voice and video calls over the internet, often at a fraction of the cost of traditional phone service.

d) Messaging services: Messaging apps have revolutionized personal and business communication, fostering real-time interactions through text, images, and multimedia.

typo of OTT apps

Source: SparxIT

Of these, the video OTT segment reigns supreme, primarily due to its market size, offering an enticing proposition for businesses looking to access a vast and engaged audience.

In the domain of video streaming app development, there are three primary OTT application development categories:

  • Services-based OTT platforms: These platforms provide a range of content and features, catering to different user needs and preferences.
  • OTT platforms for content and communication: Bridging the gap between content and interaction, these platforms offer a comprehensive package of streaming, communication, and user engagement.
  • OTT platforms in the form of devices: Beyond software solutions, these platforms encompass hardware devices that enhance the OTT experience, such as smart TVs and streaming devices.

As the OTT market continues to evolve and expand, businesses that invest in OTT app development will position themselves as industry leaders within their respective segments. These investments not only provide a competitive edge but also enable companies to capture and retain the attention and loyalty of today’s discerning and tech-savvy consumers.

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Must-have features for your OTT platform

The surge in popularity of OTT apps for mobile content consumption has elevated the importance of delivering a superior user experience. Crafting OTT apps with essential features ensures users can seamlessly access and enjoy their favorite movies and TV shows. Here’s a breakdown of must-have features to enhance your OTT platform:

1. User profiles

Ensure effortless creation and management of user profiles, allowing users to personalize details, preferences, and settings with ease.

2. Intuitive search functionality

Elevate the user experience with a fast, accurate, and intuitive search feature. Provide advanced options such as sorting, filters, and suggestions for effortless content discovery.

3. Multilingual content

Expand your audience by offering multilingual content. Enable users to switch between languages effortlessly, ensuring a diverse and inclusive viewing experience.

4. Watchlist functionality

Empower users to curate their entertainment journey with a watchlist feature. Allow the creation of multiple lists for conveniently saving, adding, and removing content.

5. Continue watching

Keep users engaged by enabling them to seamlessly resume playback from where they left off. This feature eliminates the need to search for content again, enhancing user satisfaction.

must have features to include on OTT App development

Source: SparxIT

6. Voice search capability

Integrate a convenient voice search feature, enabling users to discover content effortlessly, especially in situations where typing is impractical.

7. Social interaction features

Foster community engagement with social features like sharing, commenting, and rating. Allow users to share their favorite content, provide reviews, and contribute to a vibrant community.

8. Screen mirroring

Cater to users who prefer a larger viewing experience by incorporating screen mirroring functionality. Enable seamless content streaming from mobile devices to larger screens.

9. In-app purchases

Boost revenue streams by offering premium content or additional features through in-app purchases. Ensure a smooth and secure payment experience with support for various payment options.

10. Integration

Facilitate premium content access or subscriptions through secure and user-friendly payment integration. Prioritize a seamless payment process to enhance user satisfaction.

By integrating these features into your OTT application, you can create a standout platform that prioritizes user satisfaction and engagement. Emphasizing the user experience not only attracts but retains a loyal user base, positioning your OTT app for success in the competitive market. You can elevate your app’s appeal by blending innovation with user-centric design, ensuring a compelling and rewarding entertainment experience for your audience.

OTT success stories: learning from the best

The OTT journey is filled with challenges and opportunities, and what better way to glean insights than from the triumphs of those who have already navigated it? Let’s delve into real-world case studies of successful OTT platforms that not only embraced innovation but thrived in the competitive market.

Netflix: Revolutionizing streaming with personalization

The epitome of OTT success, Netflix reshaped the streaming landscape with their recommendation algorithm, fueled by user behavior data and offering personalized content discovery. This approach not only retained existing users but also drew in new subscribers, setting a benchmark for user-centric innovation.

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Disney+: The power of exclusive content

Disney+ entered the scene with a bang, leveraging its unparalleled content library. Exclusive access to the Marvel and Star Wars universes, coupled with original productions, catapulted Disney+ to success. The lesson here is the supremacy of unique and compelling content to captivate audiences.

Hulu: Reinventing advertising with ad-supported tiers

Hulu strategically incorporated ad-supported tiers, providing viewers with a choice between a lower subscription fee with intermittent ads or a premium ad-free experience. This flexible model not only broadened their user base but also showcased the significance of diversified monetization strategies.

How to build a custom OTT platform

Navigate the intricate process of creating an OTT platform, ensuring a well-rounded and successful launch in the dynamic and competitive streaming industry.

1. Examine competitors and stay informed about market trends

Begin your OTT app journey with a comprehensive analysis of competitors and market trends. Understanding the landscape helps you discern opportunities and challenges, drawing inspiration from industry leaders like Amazon Web Services, Netflix, Hulu, Apple, and Facebook.

2. Choose the appropriate platform type and features

Tailor your OTT app to your business needs by selecting the right type (SVOD, TVOD, AVOD, or hybrid) and aligning features accordingly. Consider functionality such as content management, payment gateway integration, and user management. Utilize a technology stack (including technologies such as HTML5, CSS, JavaScript, React Native, and Flutter) to support your app development.

3. Work with a reliable OTT software development company

Collaborate with a reputable and experienced OTT solutions company to ensure your app meets your specifications and standards. Look for a company with a proven track record, positive reviews, and a portfolio showcasing OTT app development expertise.

4. Select the right tech stack for OTT development

The success of an OTT platform hinges on careful selection of the technology stack. Choosing a fitting technology stack is paramount for ensuring optimal performance and delivering an exceptional user experience — a domain where the expertise of our OTT developers comes into play. Here’s a curated set of technologies and tools that are crucial for the success of your OTT platform:

set of technologies and tools that are crucial for the success of your OTT platform

Source: SparxIT

5. Commence with building the MVP (minimum viable product)

Mitigate risks and optimize returns by starting with an MVP that includes essential features. This approach allows you to test the waters, gather user feedback, and assess the feasibility of your app idea before committing extensive resources.

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6. Embrace an agile development methodology

Adopt an agile development methodology that emphasizes flexibility and adaptability. Work in short sprints, allowing you to respond swiftly to changes in requirements and user feedback and ensuring a dynamic and responsive development process.

7. Testing and deployment of OTT platform apps

After development, prioritize thorough testing to guarantee your app’s functionality and identify and resolve any bugs. Ensure compliance with relevant regulations, data privacy laws, and content guidelines. Once you are satisfied with the app’s quality, proceed to deploying it on app stores or web.

How much does custom OTT platform development cost?

Navigating the cost landscape of custom OTT solutions development involves a careful dance of factors tailored to your project goals. Top demands in the OTT development market include building a comprehensive OTT app for robust streaming services, fashioning a bespoke frontend solution for user-friendly in-app functionality, and expanding the online video streaming experience across devices.

Now, the million-dollar question — literally: How much does it cost? Well, there’s no one-size-fits-all answer, as it hinges on features, platforms, and other variables. Starting prices give us a glimpse:

  • $140K to $420K for WebOS and Tizen
  • $325K for integrating distribution, customers, and business rules
  • $225K for content management
  • $375K for asset management, media analysis, metadata enrichment, and editing features
  • $150K for incorporating data ingestion and storage features

When budgeting, account for the size of your platform, its desired capabilities and tech stack, your chosen development model, and your time-to-market goals. The following sections will guide you in mapping out the budget for your OTT platform app development.

7. New technologies and tech trends

Crafting your OTT development strategy around a seamless multi-screen viewing experience? Here’s your compass for finding your target audience across platforms and devices.

Smart TV apps

For those captivating big screens — Samsung, LG, Sony, Panasonic — smart TV apps are your gateway to viewers’ attention. Why? With 90% of US households owning a TV and a solid 50% embracing the wonders of smart TVs, TV apps are prime real estate for your content.

Custom Android TV launchers for set-top boxes

Ready to seize control of the viewer’s journey right from the first click on their set-top box? It’s a savvy move, considering the other 50% of US TV viewers still rely on these boxes. Custom Android TV launchers let you curate an immersive viewing experience.

Mobile streaming apps

Venturing into the mobile realm? With 88% of time on mobile devices spent in apps, it’s a golden opportunity to capture new users or keep current users hooked. Let them indulge in your video content anytime, anywhere — the power of mobile streaming apps is in your hands.

Strategies for making money on an OTT platform

Within the dynamic OTT landscape, diverse monetization strategies have flourished, each with its unique method of revenue generation. Let’s explore the most popular:

1. AVOD (Advertising Video on Demand)

AVOD platforms provide free content to viewers, leveraging advertisements to generate revenue. Viewers encounter ads interspersed with content, and the platform profits by showcasing brand advertisements. Examples include Tubi, Pluto TV, and Xumo.

2. SVOD (Subscription Video on Demand)

In the realm of SVOD, users gain access to a content library for a monthly or yearly subscription. Services like Netflix, Hulu, HBO, and Apple TV+ use the subscription-driven model.

3. TVOD (Transactional Video on Demand)

TVOD operates on a pay-per-view basis, where users only pay for specific content they choose to watch. UFC, iTunes, and CinemaNow use this model to put viewers in control of their viewing expenses.

4. Hybrid

The hybrid model in OTT app development marries the strengths of both SVOD and TVOD. Users who want to pay less can still access a diverse range of content but are shown intermittent ads. Premium subscribers, on the other hand, get an ad-free viewing experience. Examples of the hybrid model include Amazon Prime Video and Disney+.

OTT App Basic Plan Premium Plan Business Model
Netflix $9.99/month $19.99/month SVOD
Disney+ $7.99/month $10.99/month Hybrid
Amazon Prime $8.99/month $14.99/month Hybrid
Hulu $7.99/month $14.99/month Hybrid
HBO $9.99/month $15.99/month SVOD

Source: SparxIT

Why choose Intellias for OTT app development?

Expertise and experience

Our skilled developer team brings extensive experience to the table, having successfully crafted OTT applications across diverse sectors. We understand the intricacies of delivering premium video content, ensuring seamless streaming, and integrating user-friendly interfaces.

Tailored brand solutions

Recognizing the uniqueness of each brand, we believe your OTT application should reflect your distinct identity. Our developers collaborate closely with you to grasp your brand’s essence, target audience, and content spectrum. This collaboration empowers us to customize the app’s attributes, design, and functionality to seamlessly harmonize with your brand.

Effortless integration

Whether integrating OTT platform with your existing content management system or building one from scratch, our developers specialize in providing seamless workflow. This simplifies content management and updates, ensuring your audience always enjoys the latest offerings hassle-free.

Monetization strategies

Monetizing your OTT platform is a pivotal aspect of your business strategy. Our team assists you in implementing diverse monetization models: subscription-based, pay-per-view, ad-based, and more. We guarantee that your chosen monetization approach aligns with your business goals and delivers value to your viewers.

User-centric interface

A user-centric interface is crucial for retaining viewers and sustaining their engagement. Our OTT app developers prioritize intuitive interfaces that facilitate easy navigation for users of all age groups. From robust search functionality to personalized recommendations, we concentrate on enriching the overall user experience.

Bottom line

As the OTT market experiences unprecedented growth, it presents a lucrative investment opportunity, particularly for video content aggregators and software providers. Choosing between custom OTT app development and a white-label solution allows market players to align with their budget constraints while effectively reaching their target audience.

Explore the full spectrum of our expertise and reach out for comprehensive details and assistance. Your vision for an outstanding OTT platform comes to life with us.

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