Have you ever wondered why Netflix is such a popular video streaming platform? It’s because of its easy access to an extremely rich and exclusive content library coupled with a stunning UI for keeping viewers hooked to the platform. Although the streaming giant has revolutionized the way of consuming content online, is it really possible to create a VOD platform similar to Netflix or even surpass it? Well, no harm in trying! Here’s the ultimate step-by-step guide to building a video streaming platform like Netflix.
Find your Niche
For launching your VOD platform, you must first decide the kind of content you would want to showcase to your audience. While entertainment platforms offering popular TV shows and films are more popular, video platforms offering niche content like documentaries, travel, fitness, and beauty are rapidly gaining momentum amongst audiences. Building an exclusive streaming service for kids including cartoons and developing TV shows is also a good choice.
Getting licensed content is an indispensable step if you are planning to showcase documentaries, films, TV shows etc to your audience. However, if you want to fill up your video library with original content from your studio, there is, of course, no need for a license.
There are two ways you can licence your content-
- You can either rent the content directly from a distributor authorized to grant such licenses, or,
- You can directly contact the copyright holder
If you intend to compete with the streaming giant, you will need to spend billions of dollars on content licensing. For example, according to Investopedia, Netflix spent about $13 billion in 2018 on content licensing and production.
Choose a Professional Video Streaming Platform Provider
The first step for creating a stunning Netflix-style video streaming platform is to select a professional white label video streaming service provider like Muvi to help promote your brand name, market and monetize your VoD content. Features like adaptive bitrate streaming, bulk upload, multi-CDN, cloud transcoding, DRM, monetization, payment gateways, etc are features only an enterprise-grade OVP will give you. Distributors, TV makers, Studios or Independent Filmmakers can distribute and monetize movies/TV shows using Muvi’s custom template and features.
Needless to say, if you are planning to build a streaming service like Netflix, you will have to include a lot of features to make your VOD platform stand out from the crowd. However, integrating such features by hiring developers would not only make the process more time consuming but expensive in the long run. A wiser decision, therefore, would be to invest in a cloud video streaming service provider that would already offer you an all-inclusive, fully featured website to start your video streaming platform with exclusive in-built features.
Netflix has championed personalization in the OTT landscape single handedly. From designing customised video previews to use of ingenious artwork, Netflix has revolutionized the concept of delivering a tailored video streaming experience.
To compete with the likes of Netflix, Hulu, Disney+, you would have to build a VOD platform that is tailored according to your user’s preferences. Aimed at getting better engagement and content viewing satisfaction, personalization of your OTT platform can be achieved through the following parameters:
- Recommendation Engine– For personalizing their interfaces, almost all OTT platforms invest in an AI-based recommendation engine to recommend content based on an individual’s watching history. A tailor-made recommendation feature can be provided by collecting data such as what kind of content is being watched or how long a user watches, what kind of device is being used for watching, etc. Curating content based on a user’s watching pattern will help users savour the content in an engaging and satisfying way.
Did you Know? As per research, Netflix’s personalized recommendation algorithms produce $1 billion a year in value from customer retention.
- Previews and Thumbnails– This is an area where Netflix excels- for providing personalized previews and thumbnails. It takes user experience to another level by personalizing every element in the app which includes customizations in artworks and video thumbnails.
For example, if two different persons interested in Romance and Comedy watch Netflix, it may suggest the same movies with distinct thumbnails each highlighting romance and comedy differently.
For more information about building a VOD platform, read our blog How to Launch your VOD Platform in 7 Steps?
A Stunning Home Page
The crux of a stunning video platform rests on how user-friendly and intuitive your homepage is. Needless to say, the homepage is the first impression your viewers receive when they click on your app/website. It represents the brand and portrays what the website is all about and encourages them to browse through the content.
The Home section highlights your content offering- be it movies, TV shows, sports programs, or other kinds of niche content like fitness programs, magic tricks, documentaries etc, customized according to each user’s preferences.
User Onboarding Features
With the goal of creating an enticing video streaming experience, user onboarding is one of the most important elements you would have to include in your video platform if you want to reach the likes of Netflix. Onboarded users are most likely to stay engaged and build long-term brand loyalty. During this initial phase, you must know their interests and preferences. Some important features of an effective user onboarding experience includes the following:
Welcome Screens– A welcome screen is an important element if you are aiming at building your VOD platform Netflix style. A welcome message for the newly onboarded user coupled with a short intro on other functions like log-in or sign-up options sums up a good welcome screen. If your goal is to increase sign-ups, it’s a good idea to include registration details on the welcome screen itself.
- Product Tours– A video product tour is a great way to give a walkthrough of your video streaming platform functions and how users will benefit from them. You can include a short product tour on how users can search for content on your website/app and give them a basic intro on how to find relevant content and also acquaint them with the main menu and how it works.
Want to know more about user onboarding? Read our blog 9 Tips to Effective VoD App Onboarding Experience
Single Sign On
Single sign-on or SSO is an authentication technique that enables users to securely login into multiple apps or websites by using just one set of credentials. Let’s face it- millennials are impatient and nothing irritates them more than the process of multiple logins. By enabling SSO, your customers can access a myriad of connected apps, without having to log in to each one separately.
Multiple User Accounts
OTT platforms like Netflix and Disney+ has revolutionized the way we consume content by creating multiple profiles for multiple users. These streaming giants enable different devices and user profiles to log in from one account. In this way each member is offered a personalized streaming experience by accessing tailored content via their individualised profiles. By enabling multiple profiles and screens per account, you can engage the viewers of your VoD platform by feeding them with content they want to consume.
People watch videos on mobile for an average of 16 minutes a day according to Statista. If you plan to build a website like Netflix, it goes without saying that you would have to reach all platforms- mobile, laptops, PCs, tabs, etc. With the proliferation of new devices in the market and the rise of mobility, viewers expect video streaming platforms to deliver an accessible, flexible content consumption experience as they swap from one device to another. Your VOD platform should provide multi-device compatibility for maximum customer satisfaction.
Muvi is multi-device compatible and provides end-users the ability to swap devices on-the-go without compromising on the video watching experience. With Muvi you can launch your Multi-Screen OTT VOD Platform across Website, Android App, iOS App, Roku, Apple TV, Android TV, Amazon Fire TV as well as Smart TVs instantly.
Launching a new video business based on the Netflix model does not necessarily guarantee an immediate success. In order to incur a steady monthly revenue, you must be ready to spend at least a few years on making your business profitable. You would first have to devise what kind of content monetization model you want to follow:
If you want to enable subscriptions, you can do so by charging either a monthly, quarterly or annual subscription plan. But don’t forget to give your viewers a free trial where they can take a test drive of your platform to help them decide whether they really want to pay for your VOD platform or not.
Did you know: Streaming giant Netflix has championed the SVoD model by providing users the ability to upgrade from Basic > Standard > Premium to unlock access to exclusive content and features.
AVoD is a content monetization model that incurs revenue by placing ads in the video. If you are planning to place ads on your video content, you can do so in the form of pre-roll, mid-roll or post-roll that can be skippable or non-skippable.
TVoD or Transactional Video on Demand will enable your customers to pay for the content they want to watch as opposed to paying a recurring monthly fee for getting access to a whole content library. This revenue model enables users to make a one-time purchase for savoring exclusive content.
The kind of monetization model you choose depends completely on your business requirements. In general, of course, subscriptions are the most widely used payment model deployed by VOD platforms.
Multi Currency Support and Payment Gateways
Multi currency support and integration with all the major payment gateways is a major requirement if you are planning to scale your video streaming platform like Netflix. As a video streaming platform with a global audience, it is expected that your viewers can purchase content in their currency seamlessly.
Make sure your video streaming platform has the following features:
- Integration with global payment gateways like PayU, Stripe, Authorize.net, First Data, PayPal, etc
- Mobile Enabled Payment gateways like M-Pesa or IdeaBiz.
- Local currencies payment enabled platform
- Integration of a recurring billing management system
- Integration of Single Euro Payments Area (SEPA) for direct bank transfers to your platform for European customers
- Your video platform should be PCI compliant to secure all confidential card information
Certain UX/UI features are needed to elevate the video streaming experience of your customers. They are:
- Accessible search bar- Once your platform has grown, it could be increasingly difficult for your viewers to skim through the content. Hence, a well placed and prominent search bar on your home page is a must.
Instantly showing results as users type in the search bar can also enhance user engagement. Rather than simply showing “no results”, displaying results based on auto-correct for mobile users engages your user to keep exploring and navigating.
Keep filters for searching by search query, location, length of the video, genres, language, and most-watched, etc.
- Video library. Design personal ‘shelves’ for your viewers to savour their best video experiences – creating personal libraries based on ‘viewed’ history, ‘watch later’, ‘downloads’, ‘favorites’, ‘liked videos’, creates an amazing UX for your customers. Also, you could create an additional ‘expiring’ category (like Hulu) indicating the episodes that might be prioritized on your watch-list.
- Video player- A well designed video player goes a long way in building that connection with your audience. Basic UI controls should be placed intelligently in the player. For example, buttons like pause/rewind etc should be placed in the middle of the screen while keeping the rest of the controls aside. This enables your customers to have a smooth viewing experience as minimum time is wasted searching for the play/pause/rewind buttons.
- Interactive features– Certain interactive features engage your audience and aids in connecting with the content in a better way. Give them the option to like/dislike videos, review and rate, comment, start a live chat, etc.
For more information about UX/UI features, read our blog Essential UX/UI Features for OTT Apps
Hope you have now got a clear idea on building a Netflix-styled video streaming platform! You must understand that there’s no secret formula to building a VoD platform and it’s difficult to achieve success to the likes of Netflix overnight. The OTT market will continue to grow and its ecosystem will continue to evolve. To keep pace with the changing dynamics, you would have to continue to keep innovating on new features to keep your audience hooked to your platform.
Muvi is a reliable, feature-rich end-to-end OTT platform provider that can add new video capabilities to your business. Muvi’s fully managed online video platform offers both Video on Demand (VOD) and Live Streaming solutions empowering you to launch your white label multi-device VoD platform, instantly!
Are you ready to explore how optimized and user-friendly Muvi’s feature-rich VoD platform is? Check it out yourself by taking a 14-day Free trial!