Video streaming apps have changed our movie viewing experience. With a plethora of videos, web series, and movies available through mobile applications like Amazon Prime, Netflix, Disney Hotstar etcetera, viewers have limitless options to choose from. Transforming every home into a cinema, the apps have brought in a massive change.

What is OTT?

An over-the-top (OTT media service) is a streaming media service offered directly to viewers via the Internet. OTT content can be Videos such as movies, Tv shows, Live TV or audio such as podcasts & audiobooks. OTT can be consumed on a variety of devices & platforms such as Android-iPhone devices, Smart TV, Fire TV, Firestick, Echo Show, Chromecast, PlayStation, and more.

OTT Market: India vs World

India is currently the world’s fastest-growing OTT (over-the-top streaming) market and is all set to emerge as the world’s sixth-largest by 2024. The market is expected to grow at a CAGR of 28.6% over the next four years to touch revenues of $2.9 billion.

The covid-19 pandemic has brought the growth of the M&E industry to a screeching halt and amplified shifts and digital disruptions that would have only happened in the years to come. The impact of the pandemic has not been felt equally across sectors, while movie theatres and live events, for instance, have taken a hit, the pandemic scenario has acted as a catalyst for the growth of the video streaming mobile applications.

Meanwhile, as the covid-19 pandemic has resulted in a seven-month shutdown of movie theatres and several producers have taken their films directly to digital platforms, OTT has seen obvious gains at the expense of cinemas. In 2018, SVoD revenues were a third of India’s total box office revenue but the shift of eyeballs to digital platforms in the medium to long term will ensure India’s movie box office falls by 2.6% over the next four years as SVoD grows by 30.7%. In fact, 2020 presents a key tipping point as SVoD revenue overtakes theatrical earnings. We can even expect SVoD revenues to be higher than box office even for the next three to four years, According to Brightcove’s Q2 2020 Global Video Index, the percentage of viewers in the entertainment sector has risen by 30% in the first half of 2020 as compared to 2019.

Behind the Working of an OTT Platform

OTT platforms consist of:

  • User facing Interface

  • User & Payment Management Server

  • Streaming Server

  • Video Player

User-facing Interface


This is the interface in which a user uses the platform to view content. This can be developed on multiple platforms such as Android, iOS, iPad, Website, Android TV, FireTV, Roku TV, Jio TV Apple TV, Samsung TV ( Tizen OS), LG TV (Web OS), PlayStation app, Mac OS, Windows App.

The best players in OTT support most of these platforms and their users can be spread across multiple platforms. While starting out to build your OTT, We recommend starting out with Android & iOS as it covers the majority of the user base. We can expand later to any of these platforms in the future if we use centralized API.

User & Payment Management Server

This Server is responsible for communicating with the user-facing interface for user data management such as login, sign-up, favorites, etc. It is also responsible for processing payments/subscriptions from the user using a payment gateway. This server also stores personalization data for the user according to the watching behavior to suggest personalized recommendations.

Streaming Server

The streaming server is a server that provides streaming services i.e content delivery services. This server is responsible for providing the streaming link & content in the best quality to the user according to his internet connection speed. An important thing to note is that this server must auto-scale according to demand because you never know when your platform is going to face heavy traffic.

Video Player

The video player is an integral part of the OTT platform because it converts the streaming link from the streaming server to visual content. We have many options for video players (Paid / Open source ). We have custom-built video players to bring the smoothest streaming experiences & have been a free alternative to using paid players who charge per view basis.

The Business model of an OTT Platform

An OTT platform can monetize in a number of ways :

  • Charge users a fixed / Recurring fee to watch content

  • Advertisements

  • Pay per view model

  • Affiliate links

  • In-app Stores

  • Free Video Apps – This type of streaming application doesn’t charge anything from the viewers directly. They focus on an increasing number of users or downloads. The profit will be earned through advertisements in the apps. Normally, such apps will introduce a membership fee after establishing the identity and creating a strong base.

  • Paid Streaming Apps - Paid apps can be successful only if you give enough publicity through marketing campaigns and advertisements. Availability of unique content with an outstanding entertainment quotient is another prerequisite for making this type of app successful.

What are the Factors that Define the Quality of a Video Streaming App?

If you are contemplating the idea of entering the entertainment business by video streaming app development, you must know the factors that can determine your growth. You can expect the best result by amalgamating all the positive features.

  • Easy to Use interface - The app must have a pleasant user interface and the interface must be easy to navigate & use. The dark mode is a feature that we suggest to improve the usability of the application.

  • Multiple Login options - Giving users to login with multiple options such as mobile number OTP, Google login, Facebook Login, Email can make it easier to onboard users with many preferences

  • Glitch-Free – Technical glitches can turn the audience down. Imagine how irritating it will be when the app hangs or crashes. They must give a trouble-free, smooth, experience to the customer.

  • Good Recommendations – The app must be designed in such a way that it gives insight into customer preferences. You can keep adding similar videos that have more customer attention and viewership. This is pivotal in retaining viewers, as well as, increasing the reach. We should show related content for better discoverability.

  • Viewing Options – A Video streaming app, although designed and developed for smartphones, should not be limited to it. There must be an option to cast it to TV or play videos on a tablet and laptop. Limitations regarding viewing platforms can affect the acceptance of the app.

  • Secure Payment Features – Online frauds are increasing day by day. The payment channel you provide must be secure, with proper encryption. Even a single fault can have a cascading effect and affect your viewership. It can turn detrimental to your video streaming app.

  • Bookmark & Collections - Letting users bookmark content for later watching is a must-have feature. The platform should also provide curated lists like “ Best comedy movies to watch with family”

  • Offline Watching - Offline viewing allows users to securely download and watch content later without an internet connection. This is an important feature to have for an audience with unstable bandwidth.

  • Subtitles - Multi-language subtitle support is necessary for distributing your content to multiple audiences in different languages

Choosing the Right Technology for Your Video Streaming Platform & its Costs

Choosing the right technology for your OTT platform is important as we cannot easily migrate to a new technology once your app has reached a large user base. Each component of OTT apps need to be chosen according to your use case for best scalability & performance

  • Backend Server - The server is the component that is the backbone of your application. It controls the user data, content data, payments & cloud connections. We use Python Django mainly due to scalability, Features, Security & Easy maintenance. YouTube & Instagram are popular content serving apps that use the same technology.

  • Frontend Mobile - The frontend mobile is the technology that is used to build the mobile side of the platform. The frontend creates the UI & connects with the backend to fetch & display the content. We use Flutter Framework for creating Android & iOS mobile & tablet apps. Flutter is used because of its flexibility, ease of maintenance & great performance. We have used native JAVA for android as well as Swift for iOS on certain occasions.

  • Frontend Web -The frontend web is the technology that is used to build the website side of the platform. The frontend creates the Web UI & connects with the backend to fetch & display the content. We use React JS Framework for creating websites. React JS is used because of its Speed, ease of maintenance & great collection of widgets.

  • Cloud Hosting - We usually suggest AWS (Amazon Web Services ) for hosting the servers on the cloud. AWS provides good auto-scaling features as well as reliable servers to make sure your app performance is consistent. Its CDN service is very good as well.

  • Streaming Technologies - Encoding, storage & delivery method of your streaming can affect the user experience of your platform. We usually suggest HEVC encoding for the best quality & lowest storage cost.

  • Content Protection technologies - Your content is your greatest asset. We need to ensure that it is properly protected against misuse, download & piracy. We have implemented many security measures such as DRM protection, Dynamic Watermarking, Offline encrypted download, etc .

  • Analytics - Analytics usually help you make important business decisions depending on user behavior. Our suggested tools for analytics are Mixpanel & clevertap. They have an intelligent mapping of your user segments. Both are paid services. Google Analytics is a free alternative for the same.

Choosing Your Right Technology Partner

Choosing the right technology partner is important for building your video streaming platform. Your product is a technology product needs to be developed by a team with deep expertise in building video streaming apps. Our expertise has benefitted multiple clients helping them to scale as much as 2,00,000 users. Yes, you can also launch your video streaming mobile application. All it needs is support from a professional video streaming app development company like Zartek. The team must understand the subtle, yet significant, aspects of a streaming app and design it accordingly.

How Much Does it Cost to Design and Develop a Video Streaming App?

We must consider varying factors that decide the cost for the design and development of video streaming apps. The design elements of the application will depend on your objectives, the types of videos you want to stream, preferred languages, other exclusive features, and so on. The aspects that have a direct implication on the cost are:

  • Platforms – You can choose the app platform based on the market search you have conducted. It can be Android, iOS, iPad, Website, Android TV, FireTV, Roku TV, Jio TV, Apple TV, Samsung TV ( Tizen OS), LG TV (Web OS), PlayStation app, Mac OS, Windows App. Since platforms have different development methods, different teams involved will be specialists in a particular platform. Depending on the intricacies, the video streaming app development cost will increase or decrease. We usually suggest cross-platform technologies to decrease costs if possible

  • Video Streaming Server – Choosing your streaming provider can affect your integration costs.

  • Payment Gateway - If the app is free for users without any payment gateway, the effort will be less. If users need to pay for the content, we need to integrate an in-app payment gateway for Android & iOS. Any third-party payment gateway will be rejected by Apple & Google during the app review process.


The cost for video streaming mobile apps like Netflix, Disney Hotstar, and Amazon Prime will directly depend on several aspects. Therefore, it is not correct to put a price without understanding your requirements. Typical OTT projects cost around $7000 onwards . We request you to consult Zartek regarding the cost of video streaming apps and all the relevant info concerning the same. Our experts will provide details regarding not only the budget but also everything related to video streaming applications. We assure you of an excellent video streaming app at an affordable rate.

To discuss your project, contact us now.