How to Start a Streaming Service
The video streaming industry has seen massive growth over the past few years. According to recent forecasts, the industry is expected to exceed $840 billion in market size by 2027. This growth is the result of big investments from gaming companies like Twitch and Mixer, TV and film services like Netflix and Hulu, and sports streaming platforms like DAZN and YouTube TV.
As viewership grows, so does the importance of a good streaming experience. Users want high quality and availability at a good price.
This is especially important for the entertainment industry, which has relied much more on streaming since the beginning of the Covid-19 pandemic. This article will go through the streaming requirements for the entertainment industry and how to provide users with the best experience.
Entertainment Industry Needs
Each industry has its own needs and quality attributes for streaming. For example, both gaming & sports need low latency, but sports have the additional requirement of high availability—it’s essential for the live stream to stay consistent during a game so fans don’t miss a play. Sports-related content also needs to be updated constantly and kept fresh, especially during a sports season.
The needs of the entertainment industry are easier to meet. It’s less affected by high latency, and streaming interruptions aren’t as damaging as they are for sports unless your service provides live streaming for concerts or entertainment events. So in general, the error rate for entertainment doesn’t need to be very low.
Video watermarking is important across all industries but especially needed in the entertainment industry. The more you grow, the more illegal platforms will try to steal your content, so it’s best to be prepared.
Another thing to consider is the customization levels. For example, a streaming platform for education needs to give the user more freedom as part of a classroom experience involving interaction with other students and teachers, but an entertainment streaming platform’s main functionality is to let the user choose what to watch and then watch it, which doesn’t require a lot of freedom. Here are some of the factors that can help you provide a great experience:
- A rich content library, either created by your team or by third parties
- Digital rights management (DRM) to protect copyrighted works from being shared for free and costing you business
- Good-quality UI/UX so your apps can stay current
- Strong infrastructure, including servers and streaming services, so that your product is available to users even during heavy traffic
- The right technologies for high-quality service
- Translation services so you can grow your audience in multiple markets
- Feedback from users so that you can keep improving your service
There can be a trade-off between these various factors, but depending on your business model, you will know which ones to focus on.
Entertainment Streaming Technologies
Fault-tolerant processing, storage, and geographical distribution are all required for data streams. Processing frameworks need to rely on queuing systems like Apache Kafka, which is open source and a good one to consider for your streaming platform.
Processing frameworks like Samza, Flink, or Spark can be integrated with a streaming platform to feed the data-processing pipeline and process batch data.
Creating the backend infrastructure is possibly the most complex part of building a streaming platform. HTTP Live Streaming (aka HLS) and Dynamic Adaptive Streaming over HTTP (aka MPEG-DASH) are the two most popular solutions today. They both work by breaking down any media content into small pieces and sending them to the end-user over HTTP.
Tech Stacks for Streaming Apps
Encoding is a critical part of your streaming service.
When choosing the right encoder for your streaming business, here are some factors to consider:
- Encoding speed: Bitmovin, for example, can encode a fifteen-minute file in thirty-eight seconds.
- Support for multiple streaming protocols: Most likely, your streaming business will use the standard protocols.
- Easy API integration: This feature can save you hours of work.
- The cost: Be sure you’re getting good performance for your money.
Monetizing Your Entertainment Business
AVOD, SVOD, TVOD, and hybrid models are the main monetization choices for your OTT (over-the-top, or video content delivery) entertainment streaming business.
To choose the best model for your business, determine who your main audience is and how they would prefer to pay for access. Your monetization model should support your customer acquisition strategy and your financial goals. Here are some details about each OTT monetization model:
- AVOD (advertising video on demand): Viewers must watch ads before or during their desired content. Pluto TV, Xumo, Vudu, Crackle, and Tubi use this model.
- SVOD (subscription video on demand): Viewers subscribe to content for an ad-free experience. Netflix is the flagship service of this monetization model.
- TVOD (transactional video on demand): Users pay for a single piece of content, like one episode or one season of a TV series. This model, also known as pay-per-view, offers lower prices than SVOD. For greater operational convenience, publishers should offer an integrated payment system on their platform so users can more easily purchase videos. TVOD services are popular among viewers who buy or rent movies. Examples of platforms that support TVOD are Google Play and iTunes.
- Hybrid: This model can include any combination of the above models, such as a platform that offers free and premium content, or on-demand and subscription content. An example platform that uses this model is Hulu. Its free plan can be used from PC only, while the paid subscription offers compatibility with multiple devices as well as regular and premium subscription levels.
Creating a Unique Streaming Experience
To offer a good service, first define your audience (children, teenagers, people with specific needs) and what they are looking for in a streaming service for entertainment. Then find the best way to fulfill their needs and beat your competitors.
Your business model needs to define how your streaming service will generate revenue. According to Bitmovin’s Video Developer Report, the most popular monetization model now is SVOD with over 57% of video streaming providers using it. That may not be the best option for your business, though, so choose carefully. Which Monetization Model do Video Developers leverage?
Next build the service using the technologies mentioned above to offer encoding, live streaming, and other features. Always listen to your customers and never stop updating your streaming platform, adding new features and content, and making deals with other platforms.
To build your entertainment streaming business, you should know what matters to your end-users and how to fulfill their needs from a technological standpoint, while also offering your services at a reasonable price. All of these factors contribute to an enjoyable experience for your customers.
One tool that can help you accomplish these goals is Bitmovin which offers encoding, analytics, and content that will play on any device. It can reduce your time-to-market and offer you great performance, so you have one less worry as you grow your business. Sign up for a 30-day trial here!