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How to Start an Online Video Streaming Business

  • Rating — 4.7 (198 votes)
  • by Evgeniy
  • Updated on May 24, 2020
  • Read —
    9 hour
iPhone XS purple color

Video Streaming are trending. In fact, one-third of all consumed content is accounted for 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 direct effect on their company. Cisco Inc. suggests that videos will account for 80% of global internet traffic by the end of 2019.

While the focus is shifting towards pre-produced videos, there is even bigger trend upcoming – live streaming videos.

Live Video Streaming Statistics

On Air

  • 45% of live video users are ready to pay for live content.
  • 56% of all watched live content accounts for breaking news broadcasts.
  • About 70% of the audience is ready to buy a concert/event ticket after watching it live.
  • More than 75% of the audience is already watching Live videos on Facebook.

Game of Thrones’ live stream on Facebook was watched 3,5 million times and raised almost 200 000 comments.

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

What is live streaming app?

Live streaming – is a live broadcast of all actions occurring on a particular computer or game console. It allows thousands of users to watch in real-time what makes an interesting person. Game players are the most frequent users of this technology.

But streaming stands not only for video games. The most popular social media apps as Facebook, Instagram and Periscope launched live streams to allow users to show their activity in real-time. Just imagine that you can virtually visit the show of your favorite rock star by just watching it online on Facebook!

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

  • Online training in fitness club to attract new customers.
  • A paid stream of a culinary class.
  • Connecting with smart devices in your house to look after pets/children/housemaid (using IoT). Add 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% on the day of streaming, according to Cory Barnes, a company’s director of digital marketing.

How to Make Streaming Video App

If you’re thinking about starting an online video streaming business, you need to develop stream 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.


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

Streaming Codecs

As you can imagine, streaming 25 HD images per second require an immense amount of disk space both on 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 user and server sides. These programs compress video on the server side, transmits the file to the user, uncompress it and send to the screen/speakers. The drawback of this approach is to pre-install program on user’s side.

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


The Best Gadgets for video live streaming:

Live Streaming Devices for App

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. Full list of supported media formats is here.
  • Live stream apps for Android – H.264 and VP8 media codec. Full list of supported media formats is here.

Video Quality & Bandwidth

There are internet bandwidth requirements that user 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 average bandwidth speed in a county for which you’re going to build Live Streaming App. 

Bandwidth and Bitrates of live striming

As you can see from the table above, one needs about 2 Mbps bandwidth to watch an HD live stream using H.265 video standard.

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 server that does not crash is vital for every broadcasting system. Thus, you should decide how many simultaneous connections your server can support.

According to Google 4 out of 5 users will close the player if the video stuck while loading.

Things that affect streaming performance:

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

Check limits for your Streaming App

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

Live Bar

Web Live Broadcasting Platforms

  • Twitch.
  • Facebook Live.
  • YouTube Connect.
  • Periscope Twitter.
  • Livestream (paid) – commercial platform mainly used for conferences and event broadcasts. Livestream offers hardware, software, and production products to give a professional touch to the live video. Great integration with all devices and social media.

Top Live Video Streaming Apps

  • Snapchat Live Stories.
  • Streamup – Has a partnering option for channel monetization.
  • Hang w/ – 1 million users and 3 million live broadcasts derived by celebrities and popular artists.
  • Stringwire – Live Streaming app focused primary on streaming real-life adventures and extreme sports.
  • Houseparty – is a simple group video chat app for synchronous streaming of broadcasts.
  • Ustream (paid) – Hosts about 2 million broadcasts every month, including NASA TV.

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. There are no additional features and, most important, no customization options. Because of these reasons our clients asked us to develop proprietary live streaming apps.

Features GBKSOFT adds to live streaming apps:

  • Extended statistics of users activity.
  • Payment processing system – 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 rises engagement and monetization rates of the app. We can add paid stickers and donates 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 his workout according to the heart rate data provided by students’ smartwatches.

At first glance, the development of streaming apps seems to require a lot of resources and time. 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 code base 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:

UPD 02/22/2018

With the new Android 8.0 Oreo Picture-in-picture feature (PiP), live streaming will apparently jump on top of new popularity wave. Basically, picture-in-picture feature allows users to run video on top of other apps, that will greatly increase multitasking potential of devices. We must admit that this long-anticipated feature is already present on the iOS platform. Nevertheless, it is still a charm, taking into account Android OS coverage and popularity outside the U.S.

Monetization of Video Live Streaming Apps

Production Volumes and Storage

The creative potential of the community is much greater than production potential of commercial networks and enterprises. Statistics said that in one month more video was uploaded to the web than 3 major US TV networks have produced over the last 30 years!

So why not to streamline this ?reative 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 the high 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 is 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 step by step algorithm:

  1. Determine the end user.
  2. Choose the streaming codecs.
  3. Decide which devices will support your app.
  4. Check the average bandwidth speed in a county for which you’re going to build Live Streaming App.
  5. Add additional functionality.
  6. Develop.

MVP of Netflix-like streaming service cost

how much cost my MVP of Netflix-like streaming app
This is a rough estimate. Actual developer rates can be checked in our manager and compare with prices in other regions.

In 2017 more and more companies began to use the live broadcast, and their number will only grow in the nearest future. The Tubular 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.


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!

Contact us to know How to Make your Live Streaming App!


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 (6)

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veronica gilbert
Apr 30, 2020 at 9:33 AM

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

Zana Jakeviciene
Mar 02, 2020 at 6:55 AM

Great post. 🙂

video chat
Jun 26, 2019 at 10:39 AM

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

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.

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,

May 24, 2017 at 3:09 PM

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 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


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