How to Build a Live Streaming App: Features & Cost Analysis

When more than two-thirds of Internet users prefer watching streaming content, it is quite natural for you to take an interest in how to build a live-streaming app. Thanks to superfast Internet connectivity, people are drawn more to video and streaming content than boring, time-consuming writeups. This is a fact all the market statistics can quickly establish. According to a Cisco report, on a global level, video traffic over the web will account for 82% of all the traffic by the end of this year. 

In some years, the video streaming market will experience a never-before boom, and more and more streaming channels are popping up daily, overshadowing the previous records. According to a report from Grand View Research, by 2030, the worldwide market for streaming content is destined to touch a whopping USD 330.51.  

As these statistics and trends relate to the overwhelming popularity and impending growth stories of live streaming, the creator inside you may find it the right time to build a live streaming app. But wait, to take on the opportunities, it is good to have a good reiki of all the challenges involved, along with a detailed feature and cost analysis. That’s what we are going to do in this blog post. 

What are the Key Types of Streaming Apps? 

Before you take on the ambitious project of how to build a live Streaming app from scratch, you need to understand the different categories and their value propositions. Based on the content and how they broadcast and monetize their streaming services, there are three types of streaming apps in the market. Here they are.  

Live Broadcasting Apps:

These apps broadcast the live recording of videos to the subscribers. These apps are the most popular ones among all live streaming apps. Some famous examples in this category include YouTube Live, Twitch, Livestream, Periscope, and others. 

Audio Streaming Apps:

Like live video streaming, these apps streams live audio content to their subscribers and users. The most famous examples in this category include Spotify, Apple Music, Pandora, and others. 

Video on Demand (VOD) Streaming Apps:

These live streaming apps allow their subscribers to watch real-time TV shows besides enabling them to watch many recorded shows, movies, and other video content per their preferences. This streaming app has three significant variants based on monetization methods: subscription, transaction or content purchase, and advertisements. Some of the most popular apps in this category include Amazon Prime, Netflix, Hulu, Disney, YouTube TV, and several others. 

Preparatory Steps in Building Live Streaming Apps 

If you want to build a live streaming app that can compete with the leading streaming apps in the market, instead of reinventing the wheel, it is always apt to follow in the footsteps of successful app projects in this niche. This is why understanding the preparatory steps is so important. Here we describe them. 

A Thorough Audience Research 

Since there is too much competition already around live-streaming apps you need to have a good idea of the types of content you will focus on and what your target audience expects from a new app that others cannot deliver. Before you build a live streaming app, brainstorm and take audience interviews across multiple channels. With good audience reach-out, you can also generate buzz around the project and make your first bunch of users ready. 

Selecting the Right Monetization Avenue is Critical 

Since to build a live streaming app, you need a considerable investment, resources, and ramp-up time, you must take the revenue earning seriously here. So, you need to plan your monetization strategy well in advance and choose the monetization that works for you. Here below, we describe a few of them. 

  • Paid Subscription: This is probably the most successful monetization strategy, but it works primarily for big brands, and it may take some time to roll on the correct result. 
  • Selling Content: This monetization can also work if you can deliver exceptionally unique content and get users’ attention by publishing a small glimpse of the actual video. But it is proved to be sort of difficult to sell content in this era of free videos. 
  • Advertisements: The old and much-traveled path of earning through third-party advertisements is still a good monetization model if you can publish quality content generating millions of views. 

What are the Key Features You Should Choose? 

To build a live streaming app, you must create a list of priority features followed by secondary features. The parts are crucial for delivering value to the users and, at the same time, setting the trajectory for the app’s journey. Leaving aside the basic and standard features like user registration and push notifications, here we list some must-have features related to living to stream. 

  • Content Embedding: This crucial feature allows you to embed content across different platforms.  
  • Social Media Sharing: This is a must-have feature to help your content go viral. 
  • Virtual & Hybrid Event Hosting: Your video streaming app should be able to stream live shows and virtual events. 
  • A Powerful CDN: A quality content delivery network (CDN) is essential to reach global audiences irrespective of location. 
  • APIs Integration: The app should be able to accommodate and integrate APIs from third parties to stream contents and allow interactions. 
  • Content labeling: For all the video content, you must be able to accommodate white labels or watermarks to protect your content ownership rights. 

What does a Live Streaming App Cost? 

Live streaming apps cost you around $20K to $45K, which involves several app development costs, including robust tech stack, hosting and CDN charges, and, most importantly, content creation costs. So, it will not be a cakewalk for you as far as the development cost is concerned. Some of the parameters that can help you track the development cost of a live-streaming app more precisely include the following:

  • Choice of native vs. cross-platform apps
  • Choice of tech stacks, APIs, hosting, and CDN
  • Choice of in-house vs. outsourced developers 
  • Location of the remote developers and their hourly rate 
  • Content creation and publishing challenges, copyright, etc. 

Summing it up 

We have offered an essential but helpful guide on how to build a live-streaming app from scratch. As a sweeping last remark, let us advise you to concentrate on high-quality user experience instead of the cost. Without a quality streaming experience, even a low-cost development will leave you in the lurch. IndianAppDevelopers can help you with every step of building a live streaming app and give advice on designing, developing, and testing an excellent product and boosting your business’s profitability.

About the Guest Author

Juned Ghanchi is the CEO of IndianAppDevelopers, a top mobile app development company in India with a global presence in the USA. He explores all things in the software industry and oversees company growth as CEO.

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