Before You Build a Live Streaming App: Insights You Should Know

Dmitrii Sidorov

Dmitrii Sidorov

Head of Media & Entertainment Technologies

Media & Entertainment
Sep 12, 2022
8 minutes to read
  1. Live streaming apps defined
  2. Sorts of live streaming apps to build
  3. Steps to take to build a live streaming app
  4. Checklist to build video streaming apps. The MVP context
  5. Conclusion
  6. Andersen as a vendor to create video streaming apps

Content consumption patterns undergo significant changes. In the capacity of live streaming app development professionals, we track them closely, both from the outside and from within. As attentive observers and M&E software engineers, being familiar with marketing technology trends is a key prerequisite for being able to join any initiative to build a live streaming app of quality.

The global media landscape is experiencing rapid and significant transformations. The factors fueling the growth of the global video streaming market include:

  • Expansion of rapid yet perfectly affordable internet coverage;
  • The widespread availability of portable mobile devices and smart TVs;
  • People’s openness and willingness to enjoy ever-increasing volumes of online videos;
  • Advanced personalization algorithms, including AI-driven systems, catering to individuals’ taste;
  • Lower entry barriers for those who not only want to watch videos, but also to create and promote live videos of various genres.

In summary, devices and web access are cheap. Target audiences have a lot of free time. Content production techniques are accessible to previously unserved groups. All three key elements of the equation, i.e. consumers, producers, and media, are ready to go.

As a result, we are seeing enormous upward trends and still seemingly unlimited potential. Companies clearly intend to continue to build and upgrade their apps for streaming.

Some basics concerning terms. Since various phenomena in the streaming domain frequently overlap, we would propose the following lines of delimitation.

  1. OTT, standing for “over-the-top,” is an umbrella definition. It describes video content delivered to audiences bypassing customary TV-service providers, i.e. both satellite- and cable-based market players. Some might be “live,” some might be “pre-recorded” and published only afterwards.
  2. VOD, a sub-branch of the OTT world, denotes “video-on-demand.” This approach implies showing content deliberately requested and consumed on the web by viewers.

This subset knows two basic underlying models:

  • SVOD, i.e. subscription-based “video-on-demand” offerings, when one pays for products on a regular basis;
  • AVOD, i.e. ad-based video-on-demand offerings, when one does not have to pay, but must watch ads to keep on enjoying content.
  1. Live streaming involves the real-time broadcasting of videos over the internet, allowing people to watch events as they happen. Frequently, archives are then stored for subsequent consumption, but sometimes they are not.

When it comes to monetization techniques, there are plenty of them, often functioning concurrently:

  • Ad-pertaining revenue, comprising pre-rolls, mid-rolls and post-rolls;
  • Subscriptions, often implying an entire range of tiers;
  • Tips and donations, collected both during live sessions and in the background.

Here are some versatile yet universally illustrative milestones for the industry in general:

  • The anticipated OTT revenue is projected to hit $215 billion by 2029, surpassing twice the amount reported in 2019. The market has undergone significant expansion in recent years (back in 2010 it was “only” $6 billion);
  • During Q2 of 2023, for instance, live streaming was viewed by 28% of the global internet audience;
  • Live streaming currently constitutes 23% of the world's viewing hours and encompasses 17% of total internet data traffic.

Live streaming apps defined

In a nutshell, these are apps enabling their respective audiences to consume video content, via various WWW-connected devices, at the very moment of time when those videos are recorded and broadcast by streamers. Simultaneously, after a streaming session is over, viewers can often still access it.

The technology is extremely useful and in high demand for:

  • Reporting news and ongoing events;
  • Showing gaming rounds and contests;
  • Web celebrities, entertaining their followers and subscribers in real-time across different formats;
  • Promoting businesses;
  • Holding group meetings, etc.

When asked to name major existing market players in this live video domain, one faces no problems. Most web users nowadays know YouTube, Facebook Live, Twitch, Livestream, Instagram Live, TikTok, and Periscope, for instance.

Fun fact: Right now, as you are reading this article, around 2.5 million people are watching Twitch videos.

Sorts of live streaming apps to build

Most current apps can be categorized as follows:

App type to build #1. Live broadcasting apps facilitate the viewing of real-time videos being recorded by streamers;

App type to build #2. Conversely, video-on-demand apps offer access to content at any time, allowing users to pause and rewind as desired. These services typically operate on a subscription basis;

App type to build #3. Audio streaming apps allow one to listen to audio directly on the platform, without any need for downloads;

App type to build #4. Apps featuring TV broadcasting functionalities grant online users access to TV channels. This facet is often integrated into video-on-demand solutions.

Interesting fact: Do you know what topics are the most popular in the live video domain? 54% belong to video games and cybersports. Such stuff as entertainment, sports, and music claim its 17% share. Professional content accounts for only 9%. Finally, such a XXI century phenomenon as “IRL” (aka “In Real Life,” i.e. people showing their everyday activities) is as high as 6%.

Steps to take to build a live streaming app

To create live streaming apps matching high modern expectations and secure eventual success, consider the following measures:

  • Grasp the essence of user needs and expectations. Conduct research to know your audience's preferences and pain points pertaining to video;
  • Choose the right monetization strategy, like launching a paid app or using in-app ads. It must be promising enough when contrasted with the average cost of app development;
  • Pin down a reliable tech engineering partner. Look for vendors with abundant portfolios and positive client feedback;
  • Document app requirements. Collaborate with BAs to create necessary documents;
  • Envision intuitive UI/UX. Develop wireframes and mockups for responsive and attractive layouts, promising pleasant user journeys;
  • Craft a compelling MVP. Speed up your market launch and collect feedback stemming from releasing the most essential functionalities first. Take into account the average app development timeline here;
  • Launch a marketing campaign. Utilize experienced marketers to promote your app across various channels;
  • Upgrade and support. Assess user behavior patterns, eliminate potential bugs, and implement upgrades based on customers’ opinions.

We at Andersen view this sequence of steps as a proven and optimal way to build a live streaming app.

A source of inspiration to build video streaming apps of exceptional quality: some figures from Forbes Home. Recently, their researchers asked video viewers to name the best streaming service providers based on UX aspects exclusively. The findings are as follows:

  1. Netflix with 36%;
  2. Amazon Prime Video with 14%;
  3. ESPN+ with 11%;
  4. Disney+ at 9%;
  5. HBO Max with 7%.

The remaining 23% chose other options. As you can see, there is no single champion universally acknowledged as the leader. Thus, there is always space for competition.

Checklist to build video streaming apps. The MVP context

In principle, the majority of live streaming apps include these vital functionalities:

  1. Feature to build #1. Creating a profile and signing in gives users access to customized spaces tailored to their whereabouts, personal tastes, and inclinations. Overall, viewers’ privileges would vary based on their subscription plans. Providing a signing-in option via social media accounts will enhance UX. Email accounts are also a direction to go. Another useful thing to implement is creating a dynamic watchlist for arranging videos in accordance with preferences previously set and content consumption patterns;
  2. Feature to build #2. Filtering, based on genres, popularity trends, keywords, etc. Consider integrating the app with GPS tools to secure increased personalization of services;
  3. Feature to build #3. Ensuring live streaming via a dependable “bullet-proof” server, involving the use of protocols, e.g. RTMP;
  4. Feature to build #4. Sending alerts and notifications to viewers, in a timely fashion, with details of upcoming events;
  5. Feature to build #5. Leaving comments on content to enlarge user engagement and boost traffic;
  6. Feature to build #6. Holding live chats with broadcasters that can be integrated into your app via third-party APIs. To get access to these functionalities, users often need to purchase a subscription, which contributes to monetization. Efficient chat moderation, a must, is ensured with the help of AI-powered tools;
  7. Feature to build #7. Tailoring quality with the consideration of user bandwidth. This is fundamental for client retention as, for the majority of viewers, quality is a determining factor;
  8. Feature to build #8. Alternating broadcasting possibilit