How to Create a Streaming Service Like Netflix?
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Entertaining content takes up more and more space in our lives every year. Anyone who has access to the Internet can watch their favorite movies, TV shows, and games anywhere and anytime. According to Statista, in 2024, the value of the global entertainment and media market will rise to 2.5 trillion US dollars.
Moreover, the global video streaming market size was valued at USD 50.11 billion in 2020. It is expected to expand at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 21.0% from 2021 to 2028. Not surprisingly, many companies are looking to create their streaming services to compete with leaders like Netflix with over 223 million subscribers, Hulu, and Disney+.
We have made a guide for you in this article to help you understand the key points about developing a streaming app like Netflix.
Check out the main and additional features that are necessary to develop a streaming service like Netflix. Moreover, let's talk about the technological stack and the approximate part of the MVP distribution. The article is based on Softermii’s experience building custom streaming apps.
What to Create First: Choosing Between a Website and an App
When planning to create your own streaming service, like Netflix, you'll need to decide whether to focus on building a Netflix-like website or a mobile app first or whether to develop both simultaneously. Each approach has its advantages and challenges. Let's explore the topic and consider the best course of action.
- Building a website first: Starting with a website can be beneficial as it typically requires less time and resources than mobile app development. A responsive website can cater to a wide range of devices, including desktops, tablets, and mobile phones, making it accessible to a larger audience. Additionally, launching a website first allows you to gather user feedback and test your content delivery and monetization strategies before investing further in mobile app development.
- Developing a mobile app first: Focusing on a mobile app can be advantageous if your target audience primarily consumes content on mobile devices. Mobile apps offer a more immersive and personalized experience compared to websites. They can leverage device features such as push notifications and offline viewing. Building a mobile app first can help you create a strong presence in app stores and quickly establish a loyal user base.
- Developing both simultaneously: If you have the resources and expertise, developing a website and a mobile app simultaneously can provide the best of both worlds. This approach allows you to cater to a broader audience, combining the accessibility of a responsive website with the immersive experience of a mobile app. However, simultaneous development can be more complex, time-consuming, and expensive, so it's essential to assess the feasibility and potential return on investment carefully.
To decide which approach is best for your streaming service, consider the following factors:
- Target audience: Analyze your target audience's preferences and behaviors to determine whether they are more likely to access your streaming service via a website or a mobile app.
- Budget and resources: Evaluate your available budget and resources, and assess whether you can develop a website and a mobile app or focus on one first.
- Time to market: Consider the urgency of launching your streaming service and the time it will take to develop each platform. Focusing on one platform first can help you go to market faster and start generating revenue sooner.
- Monetization strategy: Analyze your monetization strategy and determine which platform will best support it. For instance, a mobile app might be the better choice if you plan to rely on in-app purchases.
The decision to build a Netflix-like website or develop a mobile app (or both simultaneously) for your streaming service will depend on your specific goals, target audience, budget, and resources. By carefully considering these factors, you can choose the most suitable approach and ensure the success of your streaming venture.
MVP Stage for Netflix-like streaming platform development: Core Features
If you are planning to create a website or a streaming app like Netflix, then, first of all, you need to build a step-by-step strategy:
- Find your niche. You have to decide what types of movies or TV programs your website or mobile app will contain.
- Plan your content. You need to think about how often you will update your content.
- Get licensing to rent movies and TV series. Here you agree with distributors and copyright holders.
- Create a style. We recommend you have your unique design rather than copy existing models.
- Consider all platforms. Create a website and mobile applications for your video-on-demand service. This way, you reach as many people as possible who can become your regular customers. However, think carefully when deciding what to create first.
- Find your target audience. We encourage you to research the market of streaming services.
- Think about monetization. You can propose variable plans for your viewers: a monthly, quarterly, or annual paid subscription. You should also add a free trial period for new users.
- Provide security. You should protect your service from any unwanted intrusions from third parties.
- Choose your video streaming protocols. They divide a video into small chunks and transfer them to a user's device.
These are your first steps to building your Netflix-like streaming service.
So, we figured out the strategy. So, what is next? We now turn to the functionality of your application. We recommend that you start with MVP development to save your budget and time. Moreover, after the launch of the project, you will be able to assess the intermediate results. And based on the data, you will understand whether your expectations coincide with them. If you see a positive trend, you can safely plan to create a full version of your streaming service.
We had a similar situation when our team created the audio and video chat app Parta for building communities. The client wanted to have one simple app that combines Twitch, Tiktok, Clubhouse, and Zoom.
We chose Mediasoup as a video broadcasting technology for Parta. This app includes different features: AI-generated news feed, private rooms, video calls, room moderation. Our team also added gifts & donations, streaming, and broadcasting.
First, we developed the MVP in three months, which helped us quickly launch the product to market. Our team got feedback from users and built a full app in a couple of months.
As you can see, this "MVP first" approach works successfully in practice as well. Next, we will talk about the main features of the MVP.
CMS (content management system)
CMS or admin panel is the main function of your MVP because, with it, you can easily:
- Add, edit and delete content
- Block users when needed
- Place advertising and product banners
- And others. It all depends on the number of functions in your service.
You can hire an administrator to manage your application.
User registration and profiles
Make registration and authorization as simple as possible. You can add the ability to log into your account via social media and email.
Pay special attention to the profile. Make it like in Netflix: add the ability to create separate profiles in a single account. It's a handy add-on for any family, where everyone can watch different content in your application. Users can create their own lists of favorite movies and preferences, and your service will select relevant movies for them.
Subscription and Payments
To build a streaming app like Netflix, you need to take care of subscriptions. We recommend making several options:
Your users will choose the best option for themselves. And you also need to add different payment methods to your service: Google Pay, Apple Pay, PayPal, etc.
And don't forget to offer new customers a free trial. But here you need to be very careful. Many companies give users a free subscription for 7 or 30 days, and then they automatically charge them for the next period. This approach can cause negative emotions with your service. Therefore, we recommend that you think about ensuring that after the end of the trial period, the client receives a notification about the transition to a paid subscription. Then there will be no questions for you.
Make this function in such a way that your users can easily search for the content they want with the following parameters:
- Friends preferences
Besides, you can add a query auto-completion, making finding the content you want much easier.
We pay attention to the ratings of the films on your video streaming website like Netflix. Add the ability to rate the movie. Then users feel that they are influencing the popularity of a particular movie or TV series.
Settings (language, quality, speed, etc)
To create a streaming website like Netflix, you should add the ability for users to choose how each of them wants to watch the video content: For example, they could configure the following parameters:
- Playback speed
You can make such notifications through your admin panel. For example, you can write about things like:
- Release of a new film or series
- Special offers (subscriptions)
- User preference recommendations
Additional Features: Create a Video Streaming Website like Hulu
We described the core features of the MVP of your future streaming service. And you clearly understand why they are needed in your future application. Now we're going to talk about additional features that can make your project more competitive in the video streaming market. All the below features are necessary to build a live-streaming app like Netflix.
You should consider that part of the content on your service in some regions may be forbidden due to various restrictions from distributors. If a person visits your site from such a country, a message about access restriction should appear. For example, you can see how Disney + did it:
Your users will enjoy this feature. After all, they will be able to watch their favorite movies without the Internet.
You should consider multiple language support if you decide to set up a streaming service like Hulu. Then you can get even more clients from different parts of the world.
You can also integrate a recommendation algorithm that suggests relevant content to your customers.
Your service can go to the next level with this feature. Your users will be able to see the live broadcasting of sports events, shows, TV programs, etc.
Perhaps you also want to have the latest news from the world of movies and TV shows on your website every day. Then this function will suit you well.
We recommend you add another feature to your project:
- Chat. It's useful in live broadcasting
- Comments. Some users can write their impressions under films and TV series.
Video streaming platforms can now expand into cross-platform multi-service companies, offering gaming as one of the features. For example, Netflix has recently added a lineup including mobile games based on one of their shows, "Stranger Things," and several casual gaming titles on Android and iOS.
The service has added it in the recommendation section where, by clicking, users are sent directly to Google Play or App Store for a download. In order to begin playing, users should sign with their Netflix credentials.
Well, in order to build a video streaming website like Netflix, these features should be enough.
Tech Stack to Create a Streaming Service like Netflix
The technology stack is the foundation of your future streaming service like Netflix, determining how it will work. That's a key step in the life cycle of your project. You need to choose technologies (languages, frameworks, libraries, databases, web servers) that fully meet the requirements and needs of your business:
- Front-end: React JS
- Back-end: NodeJS
- Android: Kotlin
- iOS: Swift
- DevOps: AWS
In addition to the above, we at Softermii can also use technologies such as .NET, WebRTC, Kubernetes, and Azure in those specs.
Now we are going to tell you about streaming leading services tech stacks. And you will understand what technologies are now popular with such giants as Netflix, Hulu, Disney+, Amazon Prime Video, and HBO Max.
Netflix tech stack
The front-end of the Netflix tech stack is created on React, Falcor, and Node.js. They use Amazon's hosting service to distribute content with a custom content delivery network (CDN). Their developers use Cassandra, MySQL, PostgreSQL, and Oracle databases. Netflix also uses Python, Node.js, and Java for its server-side.
So, the front-end and the back-end for Netflix-like video streaming platforms should include these technologies.
Hulu tech stack
The back-end of this streaming service is built on Next.js. Hulu uses React and Node.js for its front-end.
Disney+ tech stack
Disney officials don't publicly state what is included in the technology stack of their platform. But based on our expertise, we suppose they use Node.js, React, and Java on the front end with Amazon hosting.
Amazon Prime Video
They use the Amazon Web Service (AWS) Cloud as the underlying technology for all its services.
The front-end of HBO Max is developed on React and Bootstrap, and the back-end is built on Java. HBO Max uses such web servers as Apache and NGINX.
As you can see, to start a streaming service like Netflix, we recommend that you pay attention to the technical stack not only of this video streaming service but also of other similar streaming platforms.
Cost of live streaming app development like Netflix
First, you must decide what you will develop: MVP or full version of streaming service. Next, you need to decide on the following components:
- The set of features
- The software provider (freelancers, in-house team, or a development agency)
- The location of software providers
- The software development methodology
- Launch date
Based on our expertise, we know that Netflix-like MVP development costs could be between $ 75,000 and $ 150,000.
What about the details of the complete application development? Below you can find information about the time and price for each stage of app development. And you can understand the required budget and timing of your project.
1. Estimation & Research
Time: 1 month
Cost: $12 000
We study your requirements, needs, and wishes for your project. Then our company creates a list of items for analysis. We collect all the necessary data and process it to find patterns that are relevant to your expectations. And our company approves with you all details of your future streaming service.
Time: 6 month
Cost: $150 000
Developers build your streaming service (client-side and server-side). They link databases to dataflow, create mechanisms and system architecture, and much more. Meanwhile, the UX/UI designer works with the interface of your future project.
3. Testing & Launch
Time: 1 month
Cost: $25 000
Then we do many different tests to check if everything works correctly in your application. Our team corrects errors if they occur. Then we agree with you on the final version of your streaming service. And then our team launches your project.
Time: depends on your tasks
Cost: 12 month of continuous support is $180 000
Sometimes, continuous support is not needed, in this case you can address us only when the solution requires updates or some features have to be added. Our specialists help in maintaining your product. We also make sure it runs smoothly and is updated as needed.
Estimation & Research
Testing & Launch
$ 25 000
8 to 20 month
from $172 000
Do you want to get the precise time and the cost of a streaming service project development? Contact our Softermii team, and we will help you.
Our Experience in Building Streaming Services
Our development team uses the latest technologies to design live streaming platforms. Below we will tell you about some of our cases.
We developed a video conferencing app for online events Event10x. Here we will describe all the details we faced.
The app's goal was to develop a simple and convenient app with private and big group networking.
Our team faced an issue creating a special engine for a future app. Our specialists created a special engine (based on WebRTC) for broader streaming opportunities. We have successfully implemented Microsoft Azure and Ngenius in Event10x.
We created in three months an online events app for organizing conferences & exhibitions with broadcasting to over 15000 people. We included such features as calls, broadcasting, messaging, calendar planning, multiple hubs options, AI-powered translation. Besides, we added conference participants' matchmaking, private video chat rooms, and white label solutions.
Our development team has improved the healthcare conferencing application HIPAA Video. Here we will show you all the details we faced.
One of the main issues we had to address in this regard was doctor-patient secrecy, with all possible means taken to remove the possibility of any data leakage. We also had to update technologies.
We have implemented TSL, TDL, and Role-based Authorization for app entry to ensure the sensitive personal data exchange is fully secure.
We've managed to create a fully functional HIPAA-compliant video conferencing software for healthcare. It enables doctors and patients to conduct remote meetings without having to be physically present in the hospital.
We created a Video Conferencing Engine VidRTC that simplifies the development of business communication software.
We wanted to develop a communication tool for various industries with basic features:
- Video calls
- Text messages
We also set ourselves the task of making this platform intuitively easy to use.
Our team developed a communication platform applicable for all niches and adapted to any industry's needs. You can conduct one-on-ones, broadcast to a small group, and host conferences.
VidRTC is accessible for everyone without a long-lasting education. And here's what we managed to achieve after development:
- 1000+ calls can be hosted with one media server
- Up to 200 users can be hosted in one room
- 25,000+ viewers can join your broadcast
If your project idea requires audio or video streaming capabilities, we're ready to do WebRTC Development with you now. We are successfully working in the following areas:
- Intranet/Internal Business Communications
- Online Education
- Virtual Conferences
- "Business Speed Dating" and Networking
Although our development team can also create solutions for companies from other industries.
Create Your Own Netflix Today
As you can see, the global video streaming market has been actively developing lately, and this trend will continue in the coming years. That's a good chance for your company to come up with its unique solution.
We recommend that you create your own strategy that will help you decide where to go. If you already have an idea and are ready to implement it, turn to professionals in the IT industry.
Our development team at Softermii constantly devotes time to learning the latest technologies to create successful solutions. We are ready to build your streaming service from scratch, testing it at every stage of development so that it works without errors.
We have a dedicated team consisting of Project Managers, Business Analysts, UI/UX Designers, Mobile App Developers (iOS & Android), and Quality Assurance Engineers.
Contact us, and we will build a video streaming website like HBO Max or Netflix.
Frequently Asked Questions
How long does it take to build a video streaming website like Netflix?
The time it takes to build a video streaming website like Netflix depends on various factors, including the complexity of the platform, the feature set, the development team's expertise, and the resources available. On average, it can take 3 to 6 months to develop a basic streaming website, while a more complex platform with advanced features may take 6 to 12 months or more. To speed up the development process, consider focusing on the most critical features first and launching a minimum viable product (MVP) before adding more advanced functionality.
What difficulties can arise when creating a movie streaming site?
Creating a movie streaming site can present several challenges, including:
- Content licensing and acquisition: Securing the rights to stream movies and other content can be time-consuming and expensive, especially for popular or exclusive titles.
- Scalability and performance: Ensuring that your platform can handle large numbers of concurrent users and deliver high-quality video streaming without buffering or lag is crucial.
- Security and digital rights management (DRM): Protecting your content from unauthorized access and distribution is essential to maintain the value of your content library and comply with licensing agreements.
- User experience and interface design: Creating an intuitive, user-friendly interface that works seamlessly across various devices and screen sizes can be challenging.
- Monetization strategies: Implementing effective monetization strategies, such as subscription models, advertising, or pay-per-view, requires careful planning and execution to ensure profitability.
- Legal and regulatory compliance: Complying with various local and international laws, such as copyright regulations and data privacy requirements, is essential to avoid legal issues and penalties.
How to reduce the cost of creating an application like Netflix?
To reduce the cost of creating an application like Netflix, consider the following strategies:
- Prioritize features: Focus on your MVP's most critical features and functionality and add additional features later based on user feedback and market demand.
- Use open-source technologies and tools: Leveraging open-source software, libraries, and frameworks can help reduce development costs while providing a robust and reliable foundation for your platform.
- Outsource development: Hiring an experienced development team or agency from a region with lower labor costs can help you save on development expenses without compromising on quality.
- Optimize development processes: Implement Agile methodologies, continuous integration, and continuous deployment practices to streamline the development process and reduce time-to-market.
- Reuse and customize existing solutions: Instead of building everything from scratch, consider customizing existing video streaming platforms or content delivery solutions to suit your needs, which can save both time and money.
- Utilize cloud services: Employing cloud-based services for hosting, storage, and content delivery can help reduce upfront infrastructure costs and provide scalable resources as your platform grows.
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