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How to Start an Online Video Streaming Business

  • Rating — 4.8 (201 votes)
  • by Evgeniy
  • Updated on April 16, 2021
  • Read —
    15-16 minutes

Video Streaming is a trending area that grows and wides its borders. In fact, one-third of all consumed online content is accounted for by videos. Needless to say that pre-produced video content is the next big thing in online marketing. 74% of marketers and small business owners who used videos confirmed a direct effect on their company. GBKSOFT suggests that videos will account for 82% of global internet traffic by the end of 2022.

As live-streaming is all about online, this sphere only profited from the pandemic. Almost all industries were looking for ways to quickly adapt to the current situation to stay in business and get the expected outcomes. Live-streaming applications are in great demand for different industries like education, healthcare, marketing, retail, etc. Although, the same live-streaming applications cannot be a perfect match for all industries as they are going to use them for different purposes.

In this article, we will discuss the most popular live-streaming applications and explain why the development of a custom live-streaming app will be much more profitable for your organization.

Live Video Streaming Statistics

During the last year, people all over the world got used to quarantine limitations that are present in almost all areas. As you know, people were forced to be locked in their homes, and companies in all kinds of industries had to look for ways of going digital as quickly as possible. That is the main reason live streaming usage traffic went up a lot during the time people were for the most part stuck at home all over the world. The point is all events, entertainment or otherwise, workflows, conferences, and other meetings were and are still possible only online through live-streaming applications to provide a real-time participation effect. 

Now let us say a few words about the statistical figures to illustrate exactly how rapidly the popularity of different live-streaming solutions has increased as they became not just entertaining tools but apps that are necessary for the existence and viability of many sectors. 

Here are the latest statistics:

  • The need for live-streaming applications continues to grow as different industries required different app functionality, its overall demand has grown by 93% from the beginning of the pandemic by this day;
  • Pundits anticipate that 82% of internet use and 79% of mobile phone use will be for streaming videos by 2022;
  • Facebook Live increased the number of active users by 32% and this number continues to grow;
  • Subscription-based video on demand revenue is predicted to grow by 10.7% each year to yield a market volume of $85,735 million by 2025;
  • Consumers are 39% more likely to share video content;
  • Sporting events account for 86% of live-streamed content.

Game of Thrones live stream on Facebook was watched 3.5 million times and garnered almost 200,000 comments.

Analytics say that this sector has even bigger market potential than pre-produced video content and definitely greater “hype capacity”.

What is a live streaming app?

Live streaming is a live broadcast of actions occurring somewhere that peak particular interest, which can be displayed on electronic devices such as computers, tablets, smartphones, game consoles, or smart TVs. It allows thousands of users to watch in real-time what and follow the performances that they prefer. Whether it be news reports, political events, comedies, cultural shows, sports games,  or video gamers tapping into live streaming, who actually happen to be the most frequent users of this technology as they watch each other, as well as top players and charismatic showmen, show off their abilities to navigate their beloved video games.

But, as suggested earlier, streaming is not limited to video games. The most popular social media apps such as Facebook, Instagram, and Periscope launched live streaming functionality to allow users to share and show their activity in real-time. Just imagine the joy and satisfaction that comes with being able to virtually visit the show of your favorite rock star that is enabled with having a gadget, an internet connection, and just a simple click to watch and enjoy your favorite show online on Facebook!

Businesses and customers can also benefit from using a live streaming app. For instance:

  • Online training trials by fitness clubs can attract new customers or keep existing ones in case of a lockdown, or not lose them to Peloton (who happen to be the pioneers of live-streaming online classes)
  • A paid stream of an in-demand culinary class
  • Connecting with smart devices in your house to keep an eye on pets/children/babysitters/housekeepers (using IoT). Add a video recording function to keep all the data.

As an example, Sierra Designs (a manufacturer of tents, sleeping bags, and outdoor clothing that is located in Boulder, Colorado) has been using live videos for years and this increases its revenue by 200-300% versus the days without streaming, according to Cory Barnes, a competitor company’s director of digital marketing.

Do you use any of the popular live-streaming apps?
4 votes · 4 answers

Industries that demand live-streaming solutions


Education
Live broadcast events were in demand in education establishments far before the Covid-19 pandemic and quarantine – online conferences, workshops, courses, etc. Due to quarantine restrictions, all educational facilities had to turn educational processes online including classes, seminars, quizzes, and exams. Live-streaming apps are the right solution that can provide real-time communication between students and teachers from schools, universities as well as for continuous staff training. Moreover, all events like graduation and proms were also held online.
Healthcare
Talking about digital transformation, this process transpired in the healthcare industry more than in any other industry since the onset of the coronavirus pandemic. Along with online medical conferences and webinars, other facilities held with the healthcare organizations went online. Live-streaming application provided the ability to broadcast surgeries, make important announcements and policy changes for the staff, online staff training, and even remote patient monitoring with no need for in-person visits. All in all, the healthcare industry was able to adjust to quarantine novelties.
Social media
Live-streaming is considered to be efficient marketing too and its usage continues to gain momentum. Most worldwide brands are concentrated on creating unique, qualified, and engaging video content to attract more customers and promote their brand values. Live video streaming provides a participation effect, meaning the targeted audience feels like they are part of this brand and help to develop it further via network effect. 
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Live-streaming business
Also have a look at our blog post where we highlighted the main reasons why live-streaming will a profitable business in 2021.

How to Make a Video Streaming App

If you’re thinking about starting an online video streaming business, you need to develop a streaming app. So the first thing to consider is: Who will be your end-user? Your app can connect only two users or speak all over the world. There are two types of connection:

  • User to User (Skype / Viber).
  • User to Audience (Twitch / YouTube / Facebook / Periscope).

Streaming Codecs

As you can imagine, streaming 25 HD images per second requires an immense amount of disk space both on the server and user sides. For example, 60 seconds of 1280×720 video requires about 1Gb of memory space. Fortunately, there are several ways to compress this data.

The first approach is to install special compression programs both on the user and server sides. These programs compress video on the server-side, transmit the file to the user, uncompress it, and send it to the screen/speakers. The drawback of this approach is that there needs to be a pre-installation of the program on the user’s side.

The second variant of compression is much more convenient. It utilizes codecs. Codec is a general naming for the compression/decompression algorithm that is supported on devices by default. There are numerous codecs for the different OS but most of them use the same video compression format – H.265 video standard.

Devices

We highlighted the best gadgets for live video streaming in the list below.

Different devices use different codecs. So, your server should be able to decode and stream video to a user in the right format.

  • Web live broadcasting apps.
  • Live streaming apps for iOS – H.264 and MPEG 4. A full list of supported media formats is here.
  • Live stream apps for Android – H.264 and VP8 media codec. A full list of supported media formats is here.

Video Quality & Bandwidth

There are internet bandwidth requirements that users should comply with in order to watch videos without latencies. The required bandwidth varies depending on the video codec you choose and the compression efficiency. Take a look at the table below and check it against the average bandwidth speed in a county for which you’re going to build a Live Streaming App. 

Video Properties that affect the size of the file:

  • Bit Rate (from 150 to 2,000 Kbps and higher).
  • Resolution (from 480×270 to 1280×720 and higher).
  • Sample Rate (22,050 / 44,100 / 48,100 Hz) .
  • Stereo Audio Bitrate (from 48 to 320 Kbps).
  • Frame Rate (30 / 25 fps)./li>

Simultaneous Viewers Limit

It must be acknowledged that knowing how to make a video streaming service that does not crash is vital for every broadcasting system. Thus, you should decide and establish how many simultaneous connections your server can support, and at which point quality will be compromised.

Things that affect streaming performance:

  • Processor time for decoding/recoding
  • Processor time for downgrading the quality
  • Video and Audio processing
  • Disk Space for saving
  • Server/user side bandwidth.

Additional Features

  • Cloud Recording Option enables you to save videos, so users can rewatch them later.
  • Geo-Blocking to make your broadcast available only for viewers from specific countries or cities.
  • Analytics can be used to monitor users’ preferences, time spent on channels, actions, clicks on ads.

Most Popular Live Streaming Applications

#1 Periscope

Periscope is an easy-to-use live streaming app available on iOS and Android devices. This app offers the following features:

  • Sharing a link with streaming to other social media;
  • Checking the highlights of live streaming;
  • Checking the number of viewers, live viewers, timing;
  • Access to the content through a web-based interface is also available;
  • Easy UX and completely free.

#2 Livestream

This app is considered to be a top live streaming app on the market. It is also available for both iOS and Android. Here are some notable features of “Livestream”:

  • Similar to Instagram, you get a notification when your friends are starting a live stream
  • Connecting professional cameras
  • Quick and easy access to trending live streams all over the world by categories
  • Uploading photos or videos during the live stream
  • Comments during the live stream
  • Changing the front and back camera.

#3 Instagram

Instagram is one of the top-trending social media platforms nowadays. People share photos and videos through posts and stories, chat, start live streams, among other interesting functionalities such as suggested posts are available on Instagram.

  • Starting a live stream is very simple – all you need to do is just go to the camera and push the “Live” button
  • You can invite more people to join your live stream
  • You can put a filter
  • Comment during the live video.

#4 Facebook

Facebook Live is a new mode of communication that gives the possibility to hold events, groups, and individuals to broadcast selectively.

  • Watch and interact with live video audiences
  • Streamed videos remain saved in Facebook feeds
  • Live streaming is allowed for up to 90 minutes at a time.

#5 Clubhouse

The Clubhouse has been a real discovery and breakthrough in the world of live streaming in 2021. This is an iOS-based application that provides online audio chat and allows users to hold conversations with one another. Additionally, users can create their own chat rooms with a specific topic where they can invite any other users. Clubhouse proved to be a great revelation of the coronavirus era world as the app gained millions of active users in the shortest period of time. The peculiarity of this app is that registration is possible only via a personal invitation sent by other [existing] users of the app. However, the demand for this app decreases as the development of new functionality and improvements of features is too slow, which provides a bad user experience.

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Clubhouse app development
We also recommend checking out our blog article on how to develop a Clubhouse-like application.

#6 Live Space Station by NASA

 Live video from the International Space Station shows internal views when the crew is on-duty and Earth views at other times.

During “loss of signal” periods, viewers will see a blue screen. Since the station orbits the Earth once every 90 minutes, it experiences a sunrise or a sunset about every 45 minutes. When the station is in darkness, the external camera video may appear black, but can sometimes provide spectacular views of lightning or city lights below.

Building a live streaming app: a case study

Most of the existing apps provide a limited set of functions and monetization options. Those services can only be used for branding or self-promotion purposes. They only ever-so-often release additional general features and, most importantly, no customization options. Because of these reasons our clients asked us to develop proprietary live-streaming apps. A live-streaming solution can be as a separate independent application as well as one of the features of large-scale software solutions like social networks, medical digital systems, educational platforms, etc. 

Features GBKSOFT adds to live streaming apps:

  • Extended statistics of users’ activity
  • Payment processing systems – PayPal and Stripe payment gateways added
  • Custom Design – this is a must option if you want to build a personal brand as a consultant or service provider
  • Chat – this feature enables direct dialog between streamer and audience, which raises the engagement and monetization rates of the app. We can also add paid stickers and donation options, so users could support the streamer during the broadcast
  • Connection to Wearables – the client asked us to add this feature to his live fitness app. Using this feature the trainer can adjust the intensity of the workout according to the heart rate data provided by the smartwatches of the trainees

At first glance, the development of streaming apps seems to require a lot of time and resources. But there is always a way to minimize those expenses.

For instance, we utilize external frameworks and services to streamline the development process. We accumulated an extensive codebase of ready-made solutions: Decoder, Libraries, and Server Infrastructure, created specifically for video streaming purposes.

You can find code solutions and libraries for streaming in our GitHub:

Web

Mobile

Android 11 is reworking the picture-in-picture experience to be more useful. A crucial change is that now users can resize the picture-in-picture window and make it smaller or bigger. To resize, first, you need to open a video into picture-in-picture mode, then tap and drag from one of the window’s bottom corners.

Recently Apple presented the latest version of iOS. One of the cool new features for the iPhone in iOS 14 is the addition of pictures in picture video. This allows you to play videos from one app while surfing around the other app on the device.

Monetization of Video Live Streaming Apps

Production Volumes and Storage

The creative potential of the community is much greater than the production potential of commercial networks and enterprises. Statistics said that in one month more video content was uploaded to the web than 3 major US TV networks have produced over the last 30 years! So why not streamline this? Creative energy directly to the network of users, without spending on the server space and other long-term expenses related to the storage of information.

Content Lifetime Limitation

Moreover, the volatile nature of live streams raises their value. Take a Snapchat story as an example: while the lifetime of content is limited, its value naturally increases. For advertisers streaming ads through broadcasts and live videos means access to a highly attentive audience, as long as users can’t pause or run back the tape anymore.

Monetization Methods

  • Paid Apps
  • Subscriptions
  • Live Consultations (mHealth, remote banking, legal advice)
  • Paid In-app Channels (tutorials, live parties, concerts)
  • Paid In-app Content (banners, strikers, virtual accessories)
  • Promotion (branded channel, brand stories)
  • Donates (charity, support, crowdfunding)

Depending on the monetization methods and features you choose, there are still plenty of opportunities to jump into the live streaming market. 

How to build a live video streaming web application?

So we gathered all the milestones and prepared a step by step algorithm:

  1. The first step is to research your industry’s specialties and define your future target audience – location, age, the areas of usage, etc.
  2. Choose the streaming codecs.
  3. Decide which devices will support your app – here you and your business analysis have to analyze the modern marketplaces.
  4. Check the average bandwidth speed in a county for which you’re going to build a Live Streaming App.
  5. Define the main business values and goals of the solution to create project specifications and additional functionality that will differ your app from a various number of existing ones.
  6. Start the actual development process, stay engaged in any updates related to your project from the very beginning to a successful release.

MVP of Netflix-like streaming service cost

netflix mvp

This is a rough estimate. Actual developer rates can be checked by our manager and compared with prices in other regions.

In 2017, more and more companies began to use live broadcasting, and their number will only grow in the nearest future. The Tubular Labs report shows that Facebook’s real-time streaming activity increased by 200,000 + active users between January and June of last year, while YouTube streaming in real-time increased by 80%. This is now the biggest trend in video marketing, and therefore it is important that you start using live broadcasts in your own campaign.

FAQ

There is a various range of the latest video live streaming apps. Among them are Facebook Live, Instagram, Periscope, Broadcast Me, Livestream, and many others.
It is important to build a unique and customized development as there is a high level of competition on the market. Testing is a vital step as the QA specialists have to be sure that viewers all over the world will watch live streaming with no bugs. For more details about building this type of app, contact our team for advanced consultation. 

Conclusion

The area of live streaming is widening every day. More people tend to watch favorite events online as not all of them have the opportunity to go there.

Moreover, streaming can be used not only as a marketing tool but as an independent business if you develop your own app. Choosing the right niche and monetization methods can lead you to incredible success. Become “the new Instagram” or even better! We ensure that GBKSOFT is an experienced software development company with a rich portfolio of professionally developed and successfully delivered custom applications.

We have a high level and experience in developing projects for various business areas, so feel free to contact us for a professional consultation. 

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Have an idea of developing your own live-streaming app?
Just contact our team for a free consultation.
Evgeniy Evgen is a key person that makes your project scalable and easy to maintain. Thanks to his advanced and deep knowledge of innovative technologies our team can produce project with high level of complexity and loading. And apart from being a great expert he's also a reliable team player ready to back you up.
Alexandra Rostovtseva Being a proficient leader with over 10 years of experience in Project and Product Management, Business Development and Sales, I have strong skills in Negotiations, Crisis, Client and Risk management. Being an outstanding communicator I’m also a good mentor and leader in the tech industry. Experience and expertise are the key foundations in my ability to provide deep insights into the industry and as result I’ve also been published or was a contributor to several tech and business articles.

Comments (7)

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Mike Brothers
Dec 02, 2020 at 12:15 PM

Hi,
First of all, very thanks for the absolute things about OTT app development and its features. As well, the knowledge about the development time and cost of the OTT video app development.

reply
veronica gilbert
Apr 30, 2020 at 9:33 AM

Hey there, Good article! it was very interesting…keep posting more

reply
Zana Jakeviciene
Mar 02, 2020 at 6:55 AM

Great post. 🙂

reply
video chat
Jun 26, 2019 at 10:39 AM

Hi,
live streaming apps like Yt is quite big popular now but I do not see what good role they are playing for the society.

reply
Nickkolas
Sep 14, 2018 at 6:14 PM

Hello everyone, To build a nice streaming app you need to forget about money, yes, it did not seem to you, you really need to forget about the greed for profit and concentrate on your product.
The first and in fact the only thing you should think about is the pleasure that your customers receive from using your application. Only customer orientation and service. Now this niche has already been taken by top players and it will be very difficult to potter them, but this does not mean that it is impossible. I hope you are serious otherwise it will not work.

reply
Allison
May 22, 2017 at 7:32 PM

I find the development of live streaming very interesting, especially for businesses. Many good points have been made in this article and I agree with all of them. Just one question arises, developing a live streaming app for a particular brand does seem like a very innovative and useful idea. But how do you ensure that people will download and use the app? Facebook or Instagram have the advantage of a high reach, how can you make a proprietary live video streaming app successful for a brand?
Best regards,
Allison

reply
Tony
May 24, 2017 at 3:09 PM
Allison,

Hi, Allison.
Indeed the industry is booming and the market is far from saturation, even now with Facebook and other Big Brother are pushing this niche forward. Actually, there is no need to develop a standalone live streaming MOBLE app for branding purposes. The best scenario for branding purpose is INCLUDE streaming technology into an existing app or web platform as an additional feature.

1- For instance, if you need a corporate education platform and don’t want to share your content on YouTube or Facebook, then a proprietary streaming platform would be your best competitive advantage.
2- Or, as a brand, you can build live streaming on top of the existing platform bat customize a window so it looked according to your brand colors.
3- The other branding option that comes to mind is adding the feature into the travel app like booking.com or TripAdvisor. For instance, you can live stream the view from the featured resort that is now on sale (hot deal). This way you can simply include live streaming option and sell it to hotel owners as an additional promotion feature inside your app.

Hope you’ll find something useful here.
For any questions regarding the topic don’t hesitate to contact us via hello@gbksoft.com

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