Hackernoon logoHow to start an online video streaming business | 3 profitable ideas for video content creators by@ashely-john

How to start an online video streaming business | 3 profitable ideas for video content creators

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@ashely-johnAshely John


With the internet in its full-fledged, now seems a good time to start an online video streaming business. When online videos will make up more than 80% of internet traffic by 2022, why would not anyone think of starting a video streaming service like Netflix, Hulu, YouTube, and Amazon Prime?

Now, one can ask, if giants like Netflix, Hulu, etc. are already ruling the video streaming market, would it be practical to start your own video streaming business and expect a survival?

Indeed, Yes!

Considering the latest entry by Disney streaming service (which is yet to be released), it is impractical to think that you cannot claim your share of audience and revenue if these giants are already in the market. Like every other new entrant, if you have some interesting content to show, people will come looking for it. Netflix, Hulu, and every well-known video streaming service co-exist only because they have something unique to offer. Be it subscription-based Netflix business model, Ad-based YouTube business model, or Live TV in Hulu’s business model, innovation and exclusiveness is the key to succeed in this rigidly competitive market.

Hence, this article is nothing but a concise guide of everything you need to know if you believe you have that unique business idea to start your own video streaming business.

Video Streaming Service| Past and Present

The early days of streaming media (somewhere in mid-90) were no fun.

· Internet was sloppy.

· Connection would go down during heavy rains.

· Computers were slow

· Mobile internet was negligible

· Users would spend most of the time watching that never-ending “buffering” circle.

· Videos were unclear and pixilated.

· Audio was choppy.

People living in that era could not even think of terms like HD, Dolby, or 4K over an internet connection. Gradually, history started to evolve. Internet grew faster. First, 57 million people recorded listening Internet radio in a week (Bridge Ratings), then people watched more than a million videos on YouTube in 2006 [Reuters]. In 2006 itself, television channel ABC began streaming its TV programs over the internet. It was new for the TV content consumers, as now they could watch the shows like “Grey’s Anatomy” on demand if they missed any TV broadcast.

The success story of video streaming services started as a medium to watch TV-based shows over the web, but slowly with growing competition, streaming services started producing “Originals”. With the grand success of Netflix Originals like “Stranger Things”, “House of Cards” etc other streaming services had a grand challenge to adopt this new trend. In no time, every other video streaming service started presenting their best of the original shows.

The aspects like good original content, and unique pricing structure, make all the video streaming businesses different from one other.

Presently, according to Statista 2018-

· Video streaming revenue through SVoD model alone amounts to $20,501 million.

· The revenue generation through video streaming services, with an annual growth rate of 4.0%, will acquire a market volume of $24,963 million by 2023.

· Most of the video streaming revenue generated in the US alone; $10,443 million to be exact in 2018.

Here are two graphs for Global Revenue Growth and User Penetration growth by video streaming businesses.

Video streaming service- A futuristic idea

The above data is enough to admit that video streaming business is a futuristic commerce. With advancement in internet, web development, and a growing number of content delivery networks, in 2018, one can enjoy unprecedented features in video streaming such as-

· On-demand video streaming

· Live video streaming

· 4K video streaming

· Live sports streaming

· Multi-angle and multi-cameras live streaming

· Dynamic bit-rate switching for buffer-less streaming

· Live chat interaction with live streamers

· Multiple methods of video monetization

· Split-screen live streaming

· Offline video streaming

· Multi-platform video streaming such as WebRTC, Android & iOS apps, Smart-TV Apps.

Take a cue from the Giants

· Netflix shook the video streaming industry with surprise moves last year. It cleared its intentions to transform the VOD services by announcing its plans to spend $8 billion on original content in 2018. With a plan to produce more than 80 new movies and web series, the giant set a standard where video streaming has gone far beyond than just TV shows broadcasting.

· Live streaming OTT (Over the Top) video is a growing trend for video content broadcasting. Video content, which up until a few years back, was a monopoly of cable subscriptions, is now being ruled by VOD services. HBO Go is a perfect example, where an array of well-known TV series and originals can be viewed through a subscription of the same.

· While internet penetration and mobile users’ population accelerating, more users are being attracted to the videos streaming services. One can notice a typical mobile user with more than one video streaming app.

· Investors are coming up with huge budgets to produce world-class web series.

· As OTT-streaming is free from many censorship rules, content creators are coming up with content completely different from traditional TV broadcasts.

· Majority of households are still consuming traditional TV broadcast via cable TVs or DTH. However, with a bulk of streaming apps being available on Smart TVs, gradually, the traditional TV browsing is being replaced by OTT service consumption.

· To be exact, the future of OTT streaming and TV broadcasting is intact. Production of TV shows will continue to grow as they now have both traditional broadcasting and OTT as a medium.

Video Streaming Business Models to make you a Millionaire

In addition to good and exclusive content, the success or downfall of a video streaming business majorly relies on the best suitable revenue model it selects. With a right business model, Netflix nailed the market of video streaming business, YouTube became the biggest of all, and Hulu is becoming extremely popular. When choosing a business model, the best approach is studying your rival’s business model, and then decides the most accurate option for your own business.

Here are four revenue generation models adopted by biggest names in the market, they are doing extremely good in each of their parts-

1. Subscription VOD model (SVOD)

In SVOD, as the name suggests, users need to subscribe to a monthly or yearly membership plan to watch the videos. With SVOD users get the option like unlimited access to all videos, streaming in HD quality, access to other value-added services, offline downloads, and many more.

Best examples: Netflix, Amazon Prime, HBO GO, Hulu.

2. Transactional VOD model (TVOD)

Here, users need not subscribe to the whole service. Instead, they can just pay for the individual content they want to watch. Depending on policies, some platforms offer a limited period access to the purchased content, while others allow a permanent access to the same. A simple name for this scheme can be the pay-per-view model. Works best for content like live sports streaming, concert streaming etc.

Best example: WWE streaming App.

3. Advertisement –Supported (AVOD)

This model is the least applied but most popular business model. Streaming services offer free access to the videos. However, there is a catch. Users see Ads every now and then. A platform following this model generally supports three Advertisement models:

  • Pre-Roll — Ads before a video.
  • Mid-Roll — Ads in the middle of a video.
  • Post-Roll — Ads at the end of a video.

Best Example: YouTube, CW app, AMC app etc.

4. Hybrid VOD model (SVOD+TVOD+AVOD)

As the name suggests, it is a mix of two or all of the above business models. Streaming services offer an array of additional and value-added services to convert their free users into paid users. The ‘added’ could be anything such as –

  • Ad-free videos
  • Offline videos
  • Access to HD videos.
  • Access to “Originals” content.

Best Example: YouTube Premium or YouTube Red.

Content ideas to start a video streaming service.

Video streaming business is indeed a competitive market and it is being ruled by the giants. However, consumers do not entice a platform, but they seek good content. Be it from a well-established platform like Netflix, or through a start-up platform, they are earning until users are getting good content to watch.

Note: Of course, the user experience is also important, but the content and business model are two major factors that can only be established with time. You can always create a good UX by utilizing a good Netflix Clone or YouTube Clone script, but cannot develop a user-base; you have to earn it.

Content is always the king. Hence, here are three trending and profitable content ideas to start an online video streaming business of your own.

1. Entertainment

People love movies and web series. The success of platforms like HBO Go confirms that pure entertainment is the most profitable niche. Moreover, Disney’s upcoming streaming service is also an example of the same.

If you are a creator and produce shows and movies to entertain people, starting an online video streaming business in the same niche is a great idea. Entertainment is not a monopoly of Netflix, HBO, Hulu, or Amazon Prime. The audience for the entertainment industry is big enough to accommodate as many new streamers in the market. Just offer some good and entertaining shows or movies, consumers won’t discriminate you with big names. We have seen many YouTube based content creators launching their own streaming platforms after gaining a good name on the platform. If you intend to do so, OTT is just the place for you.

2. Fitness

Entrepreneurs have found a way to capitalize on the interests of fitness-freaks into an emerging niche for VOD services. With anytime access to fitness related videos, there is a huge section of video consumers who would love to subscribe. Moreover, many add-ons can be offered to get an upper hand over free videos from platforms like YouTube, Vimeo, or Daily Motion. Indeed, a fitness-based streaming service will be cheaper than hiring a personal trainer or taking a gym membership.

Fitness is not limited to just gym training, but there is a lot more to capitalize on this profitable and less competitive niche. You can create on the topic like- Yoga, healthy diet tips, dance training etc.

3. Education

One of the popular destinations for “How to” videos is YouTube. One can find an array of videos teaching something. However, because of the race to get more views, many fake videos can also be found. It is tough to find out if a particular tutorial is correct or any authentic. Ultimately, degrading the user experience on this popular video sharing platform.

Never mind, because, this drawback of YouTube is the best opportunity for you to start a tutorial video streaming business. With proper authentication, quality check, and credibility from trusted names, you can publish an N number of tutorials and online courses. You can choose many sub-niches to attract a more categorized audience. For example, a place to learn Magic tricks, Computer programming, Bottle painting, Cake Making or Origami. There could be hundreds of sub-niches in this category.

Quickest way to start an online video streaming business

A few years ago, there was nothing like “quickest way to start a video streaming business”. You had to start from the scratch and shape your own video streaming platform. Today, everything is possible with internet and readymade solutions. You don’t need being an expert coder to launch your video streaming business. Clone scripts of popular video streaming sites and applications have made things quite accessible for entrepreneurs.

For instance, white-labeled Netflix clones are available with the same UI and Features like Netflix. That means if you want to start a Netflix like video streaming website or mobile app, and with the same subscription model business, just Google and you will find N number of clones on the internet.

Are these clones any innovative?

Using a Netflix or YouTube clone script does not mean you are launching yet another copied business. Instead, these clone scripts are highly customizable and one can shape them up to match unique business proposition and brand identity. Calling them a clone is just for setting up a standard or comparison with a modern-day video streaming platform.

For instance, take the case of NFA Studios. The edutainment streaming platform was developed on a Netflix clone. However, the final platform is way unique than what original script used to be. The script was customized to offer a unique identity and features to this highly niche video streaming service. So yes, clone scripts are developed by experienced industry experts, and there is certainly a huge space for innovation.


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