Sundar

Growth Hacker & Digital Strategist

How to Start Your Own OTT Video Platform in 2020?

Launching an OTT platform isn’t a question of why anymore, it’s a question of how to do it correctly. In this article I've explained the steps on how to build an OTT platform with emerging technologies.
In 2015, Tim Cook, CEO of Apple declared that “the future of TV is apps”. He was referring to a future where the majority of TV viewership will be streamed over-the-top (OTT) via online apps. Over the past few years, as more and more consumers prefer to stream on-demand videos, content owners realize that launching their video streaming service is not a good-to-have service but a must-have one.
Have you ever wondered how OTT services deliver a flawless user experience? The credit goes to the scalable platform powered by advanced technologies behind the service.

How to Launch Your OTT Platform?

With an OTT platform, capitalize on opportunities that are out of the scope for the pay-TV. It enables content creators to reach their audiences directly. By owning the OTT video platform, you not only own the content but also decide the revenue model. The flexibility to customize and brand the content on your OTT service ensures a wide distribution of content while maximizing revenue with customized monetization models.

Components Required To Build Your Own OTT Platform

1. Hosting - A make or break question
While building your own OTT platform, there is a choice between hosting on your own server or on a cloud-based server. While both can be secured by the latest technology, cloud hosting offers the added benefit of scalability.
By collaborating with a white label solution, you can host videos on the cloud-based server. A customized video aggregator platform provides scalability and extendable storage without being affected by latency issues.
2. Multiple CDN - Provide high-quality streaming round the globe
Choosing the right CDN support balances the user demand from a global audience. CDNs monitor the network to measure bandwidth and latency and prevent issues before impacting the audience. By transmitting data from video players to get constant video quality data, adjustments can be made on the go.
An efficient CDN reduces the traffic in the core network and increases the global low latency. This enables seamless user experience as buffering can drive away consumers from your OTT platform.
3. Streaming Protocol - Deliver a multi-channel video streaming experience
To stream the content over your platform, there are multiple streaming protocols for OTT video delivery. HLS, one of the most popular protocols, works on all adaptive streaming technologies by streaming from an ordinary web server without any special configuration.
RTMP is a cross-platform protocol. It prioritizes sustained connection and provides low-latency interaction by breaking information into smaller fragments defined by the interaction between users and the server.
An OTT video platform that integrates HTTP and RTMP live streaming protocols go a long way in delivering an engaging viewing experience.
4. Transcoder - Encoding and Decoding streams on OTT platforms
Every platform and device have different requirements for a video’s format, size, and audio. Transcoding in simple words means converting your OTT videos into multiple formats compatible with a wide range of devices like Web, Mobile and TV. It enables multi-bitrate adaptive streams to auto-adjust its quality. Encoding and decoding your OTT videos expands the reach of the platform and delivers the content to your desired audience.
A platform capable of multiple file-formats and adaptive bitrate delivery is critical to your OTT publishing. Offering only one video format is a missed opportunity. Deliver a single live stream for encoding to multiple formats before delivery for a high-quality viewing experience.
5. Cross-Platform Support - Take the future of TV beyond living rooms
Stream across a variety of platforms with built-in support for various monetization models by developing a cross-platform compatible OTT service. Offering access to the platform like laptops, smartphones, tablets, connected TVs, etc. helps initiate and perform the playback regardless of time or device.
Launch a feature-rich OTT video streaming app with cross-platform capability for a fast and cost-efficient way to stream videos.

The Benefits of Building Custom OTT Streaming Service

OTT enables content creators to reach their audiences directly and engage with viewers. By generating a uniform brand experience across OTT your audience will find the brand familiar and recognizable when they watch your content.
  • Increase Brand Awareness: Online videos are a proven way to positively improve brand awareness, perception, and interest. 71% of teens watch more than three hours of video per day online as per a research report. It initiates a chain of awareness, understanding, and behavior that can lead to a loyal customer base.
  • Scalability: Cloud-based solutions help businesses launch OTT businesses that can extend the scale of the platform and consumer engagement to magnify the business revenue. The CDN that is capable of scaling up with the subscriber demand helps to organize and anticipate the demands on the servers.
  • Reduce Cost & Time: As compared to a SaaS provider, building your own OTT video streaming platform is a much more cost-efficient alternative. While building a platform from scratch by sourcing and combining all the technologies may be time-consuming, a SaaP provider enables you to start your own platform at a fraction of the time.

The Right Tools to Develop Your Own OTT Video Platform

According to Digital TV Research, the global OTT market is expected to grow to $159 billion in 2024. Ali Hussein, CEO of Eros Now, observed that between content creation and marketing, technology is the driver that enables the survival of the fittest. With the user experience being the focal point for OTT providers, technology is what sets you apart.
  • Push Notification - Parse, PubNub
  • CDN (Content Delivery Network) - Amazon Cloudfront, Akamai, Limelight Networks
  • Encoders - Elemental, Coconut, Wowza, Mediakind, Encodingdotcom
  • Chats - Mirrorfly, PubNub, ContusFly
  • Payments - CCAvenue, Paypal
  • Caches - Redis
  • Analytics - Google Analytics, Hadoop, Hive, MixPanel, Mode, Parquet, Pig, Presto, Spark
  • Recommended Engine - TargetingMantra, Prediction IQ
  • Queueing - Kafka, Rabbit MQ, Amazon SQS
  • Social Plugin - Meta, Sharing Options
  • Monitoring - New Relic, Dats Dog, Nagios

Things to Consider Before You Get Started With OTT Platform

1. Define the Market
Setting a base for successful OTT offering is one of the basic to-do activity on your list before starting your OTT market. Identify the targeted audience, their content preference and form in which they prefer. Whether you already own a large amount of content or you are a beginner a careful research to analyze your target audience is essential.
2. Content Licensing
Refer to the information gathered about your target demographic by understanding the market and select the right pieces of content that viewers will value. This is a great source to know what blend of local and regional content that your OTT platform must offer, getting premium content and accommodating exclusive rights for content that drive viewer engagement. Content licenses maintain the uniqueness of your platform and broaden your customer base.
3. Revenue Models
A one-size-fits-all approach cannot work for OTT video platforms. Revenue models must be chosen to fit content requirements and business plan. Building a customized platform gives you the flexibility to choose the right revenue model for you. Models like subscription based, ad based, push TV and pay-per-view can be integrated into the platform.
4. Video Marketing
Having your video content ready is only one part of the business. An efficient way to bundle your content and planning the right way to promote it is as important as content creation. With social media integration, push notifications, recommendation engines and metadata management reap the maximum engagement for your videos.
5. Leveraging Demographics
With OTT streaming platforms, you can deliver worldwide or choose to stream in specific geographic regions. Analytic reports that can be customized for relevant metrics assist in leveraging demographic trends. Graphic and pictorial representations of your analytics data provides for simple and quick analysis which can be used to improve user experience.

SaaP or SaaS? Which is Better for Developing an OTT Video Streaming App?

When you plan to begin an OTT Video Service, this will be a question you need to address. SaaS is cheaper in terms of cost. But a SaaP solution can deliver a customised user interface and robust marketability features. At an elementary level, these are the features that favour SaaP.
  • Customization: You can create a distinct product by choosing the streaming player, hosting server, transcoder and encryption. Supported by a dedicated team of professionals, customize the video streaming platform for your requirements.
  • Cost-effective: With one-time license fees, you own and control the platform. Starting from the content library and monetization models to the social media integration and geo-restrictions are tailored for you. Maintenance and updates are supported by.
  • Monetization Models: SaaP provides for several combinations of monetization options, integrating third-party ad servers & paywalls to maximise revenue. Apart from subscription models, you can include advertisement plans, pay-per-view or push TV.
  • On-premise/ On-Cloud Deployment: Unlike SaaS, you can choose where to host your content. It can be deployed on the cloud or in a server in your own premises. Deploying on a cloud is the preferred choice as it allows better scalability and extensive storage.
In a longer time frame, SaaP is a profitable revenue model as the costs are limited to a one-time license fees.
Let’s Conclude
Consumers prefer OTT over static pay-TV for a more engaging and meaningful content experience. Mobile delivery of OTT video for users-on-the-go is already growing exponentially. There are a number of big names in the field already: Amazon, Apple, Netflix, HBO. But who can deny room for innovation and exploration?
Transcoding, hosting and encryption are the pillars for building an efficient OTT workflow. By owning your platform, monetization models can be planned for the revenue strategy of your business. Vplayed with its extensive experience in pre-built mobile SDKs and microservice architecture enables design and development of media streaming software for a variety of businesses. With a dedicated team of streaming technology experts, launch your OTT video platform at the shortest time cost-effectively.

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