Guides | 14 min read
How To Create A Live Streaming App: Pros, Cons, Tips To Start
Times change. You can meet your friends and family any time, even if they are far away. Live streaming apps do their job. And they do it well.
In this article:
The latest statistics shows that streaming apps aren’t going to lose popularity. This is not surprising at all: streaming apps have many advantages and profits for businesses, and only a couple of drawbacks. That is why live streaming app development remains a perfect idea to occupy this niche.
There are different types of streaming apps, and the cost to create a streaming service is high due to complicated technologies and long-term development. But it is not the reason to give up if you intend to find out how to create a streaming service from scratch. Follow your dream — this article will help you do it.
What Types Of Streaming Apps Exist
A live-streaming app is an app that transmits the information in real-time mode. And it is not only a video chat like Zoom or Skype. There are three main types to single out.
— Live broadcasting apps. Cameras installed on users’ devices (no matter if it is a smartphone, desktop computer, or tablet) allows them to see each other in realtime due to the Internet connection and relevant software. Live broadcasting apps are used widely during conferences, interviews, concerts, and any other events. Periscope, Facebook Live, Twitch are examples.
Educational - Streaming App Design by Cadabra
— On-demand streaming apps. Such apps contain videos that are available on demand. Videos are buffering, and they become available at any time. Users can download the file from the server (like on Netflix) or watch the video clip without downloading (YouTube). You can delve deeper into the insights of how to create a streaming app like Netflix in our article: Build Netflix like Website.
— Music streaming apps. These apps function on the same principle live streaming apps do. The song can be pre-recorded, and it is available on-demand to listen to it in a real-time mode, or it can be a radio session or podcast. Examples are Pandora, Spotify, Apple Music, Amazon Prime, etc. It is not so complicated to build a music streaming app like Spotify.
This article may be interesting for you: Music Streaming App Development
Advantages Of Starting A Streaming Service
It is worth noting that live streaming apps gain momentum year by year. According to Livestream, 80% of users claim that they will prefer watching a live video rather than reading a blog. Moreover, video streaming is going to take 82% of Internet traffic in 2020.
It means that live streaming apps are created and will be created. Everything is related to the wide range of advantages of live streaming, and you will find the top of them below.
Holding webinars. Experienced professionals can hold webinars using streaming apps to teach other people the necessary skills. Webinars provide real-time communication between mentors and students, and it is appropriate for any person regardless of location.
More value. Users can get much more information when they see a picture rather than hear or read. So live streaming apps provide people with a comprehensive picture of the event. People may feel as if they are present there right now.
Convenience. Live streaming apps require an Internet connection and camera availability. And installed software, of course. Users can stay anywhere — they don’t need to leave their dwelling, and they can connect at any time.
Enhanced engagement. This is a great advantage for brands and companies that want to attract new customers. They can hold a presentation of their product, make people involved in the interaction, and increase customer loyalty since users feel cared for and respected.
It’s cheap. Today users don’t need to have expensive equipment to stream videos. Modern Internet connection is high-speed, and its cost is relatively low. It is not a luxury, it is our daily life.
How Can You Monetize A Live Streaming App?
A good app is not only the app that functions properly. It is also an app that brings profit. Different revenue models are available, and some of them are appropriate for live streaming apps.
Freemium. You can create two versions of the app — a free app and a premium one. The free app has limited functionality in contrast with a premium app that has many more exciting features.
Ad-supported app. The app has all the available features, but users have to watch or listen to an ad during a specific time interval. A paid ad-free app will help gain a profit and deliver users a more comfortable experience.
Paid subscription. Music streaming and on-demand streaming apps use this revenue model mostly. Users pay monthly or yearly for specific services your app provides.
Service fee. This is an option for live streaming apps like doctor appointment apps or any other consultation services. A fixed fee is paid per each appointment. By the way, a doctor appointment app works as a startup idea — see our guide on how to create it.
What Are The Downsides Of Starting A Streaming Service?
If you create a streaming service, you should be prepared for pitfalls since live streaming apps have drawbacks as well. We guess you don’t want to go wrong. Thus it is better to be informed.
Technical issues. Video streaming is always a risky process since technical glitches may become the reason for app abandonment. So you must ensure proper functionality. How to do it? You will find answers in the next section about technical aspects.
Time difference. Live streaming service implies that streaming is performed in realtime. And it may be a challenge to schedule the right time for streaming since users from different world regions may face time difference problems.
Of course, it is not your problem as an app owner, but your task is to think about your customers. So recommend them to stream their live show a few times (if it is possible) to let all users watch the stream. And you can even add such recommendations like convenient hours for streamers — so they can choose an optimal time for streaming.
Monetization. Mind that not all live stream apps can be easily monetized. For example, if you create an online streaming app like Periscope, it won't be easy to monetize it since such apps usually can’t support ads or pay-per-view clicks. However, you can provide closed stream channels that are available only in paid format, for example.
Video download. Another issue is the impossibility to download the video to watch it later. Service like Periscope doesn’t allow users to download it. Moreover, videos are deleted right after 24 hours, so users cannot watch it again.
Then, perhaps, you need to think about adding this feature in your future app. Or you can use the model of Instagram TV — a streamer can save their stream to IGTV. Previously, all streams were also removed after 24 hours as well.
Technical Aspects To Create A Live Streaming App
There is no sense to create a streaming app that doesn’t function correctly. There is always competition in the market. Users will always find something better if you couldn’t offer it. That is why you must know what technical particularities you should take care of for the streaming app.
Online video host. The first thing you should purchase is an online video host if you plan to create a live streaming app. Usually, online video hosts are offered by subscription for a specific period. Thus, your video content will be stored in the selected host, and it will be played right from there. We recommend you to choose a reliable host like DaCast, Wowza, or Brightcove.
Media storage. It is required for the development of on-demand streaming services like Netflix. You need to use the power of Google Cloud Platform, Microsoft Azure, or Amazon Cloud Services. These storage platforms are reliable and stable.
CDN. A content delivery network, or CDN, is a distributed server system that makes it possible to deliver users video content quickly and at the right time, without lags. There is an extensive list of dependable service providers like Cloudflare, Amazon CloudFront, StackPath, etc.
Video player. You can integrate third-party players for live streaming videos or use integrated players in online video hosts. Just make sure that the third-party player can stream live video in high quality and seamlessly.
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How To Start A Streaming Service From Scratch
Steps on how to start your own streaming service are not too different from the development of other similar applications. But it is better to reread them to prevent the app failure.
Define Your Niche
What type of streaming service do you want to create? This is the first thing you need to do — choose from a variety of apps. Then, define a niche you plan to occupy. Detailed research, analysis of competitors, and market overview will help you select the niche where you can both gain profit and provide users with something new and wanted. User research is also a critical stage to consider — you will be able to determine your target audience.
The development of a live streaming app is an expensive process that may cost you $100K or even more. If you don’t have investments, then there is the only option — attract investments.
First, you should create a business plan, this article will guide you. Then, you can build a pitch deck and show this idea to potential investors. If you don’t know how to pitch your idea correctly, we have prepared the list of tips for you. Finally, you can use crowdfunding platforms to get funding for your app. And there is also a helpful guide from Cadabra Studio, look it through.
The Importance Of Design
Design is essential in every app since its visual appearance directly impacts user attraction and loyalty. Your live streaming app should have a consistent structure; it should have straightforward and clear navigation; it shouldn’t have an abundance of unnecessary elements on screen — they may frustrate users. The main rule is to think about customers — listen to their feedback and make the app as convenient for them as possible. That’s the established truth.
Podcast Streaming App Design by Cadabra
Hire A Development Team
We recommend you to hire a development team that offers services of all specialists required for the project. For example, the Cadabra Studio team consists of UI/UX designers, mobile and web developers, and QA engineers. Your project will be built from scratch with an appropriate tech stack and feature list according to your requirements.
As for platforms, start with an MVP for one platform — for web, or one mobile platform. You will analyze the app's success, and then you will be able to modify an app and add more features.
MVP Features For Building A Streaming Platform
MVP features mean the primary number of features that must be available by default. Streaming apps are different, and their features may also vary, but we will show potential features your future app should contain.
Registration/social login. Registration via email or social media is a widespread and convenient way to let users sign up. Moreover, social login allows users to share interesting information in their profiles.
User profile. Users create their profiles, add photos, necessary information about them, etc. Some streaming apps like Spotify require this information to deliver a personalized experience to each user.
Search. Finding everything users need — search bar comes to the rescue.
In-app storage. Users may store videos they can watch later. However, this feature will be redundant in some other types of streaming apps.
Payment gateway. The payment process must be secure and reliable, so use trustworthy service providers like Braintree or Stripe.
Push notifications. Users can receive notifications about any updates in your app, received messages, the beginning of exciting events, etc.
Comments. Some apps should have fields for comments so that users can share their opinion.
Chat. Live streaming apps for mentoring or healthcare must have a chat feature to let users communicate with each other.
How Much Does It Cost To Start A Streaming Service?
Even if you are going to attract investors to your project, you still need to find out at least an approximate price of starting a streaming service. The cost of live streaming app development will depend on many factors.
— Infrastructure. First, remember about infrastructure costs. We stated that you need to buy storage on servers, and it may cost you about $200 per month, depending on the server type and company. CDN may cost more than $1.5K per month, and the purchase of any relevant equipment will also cost you a pretty penny.
— Development team. A live-streaming app development team will include project manager, web, and mobile developers (or web only, if a mobile app is not required), at least two UI/UX designers, motion designers, and QA engineers. The development process includes everything from UI/UX design building to backend/frontend/mobile development and testing. Deployment and release are also in the responsibility of the development team.
The only way to save the budget substantially is to hire professionals from the region with a lower hourly rate. But the development quality should be as high as possible. You can deal with Ukrainian developers like Cadabra Studio since our hourly rates vary between $40-50, depending on project complexity.
We are always open to discussion and conversation. Do you want to build an app but have no idea how to make it efficiently? Contact our business development managers, they will find a solution for you. Even if you think there is none.
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