How to Make a Streaming App: Features, Tech Stack & Cost Analysis

Looking to create a unique streaming experience for your customers? Here is what you need to achieve streaming excellence!

February 11, 2022
9 mins read
Last Updated February 15, 2024

How to Make a Streaming App: Features, Tech Stack & Cost Analysis

In 2019, Disney entered the OTT arena, quickly gaining 116 million subscribers by July 2021 and projecting 260 million by 2024.

Meanwhile, Disney’s ESPN+ service has secured approximately 1.71 million subscribers.

All this implies that the streaming market is huge.

But developing a streaming app can be both challenging and fulfilling. It demands thoughtful planning and attention to numerous factors like features, tech stack, business model, and more.

In this guide, we will cover how to build a streaming app for your business, including features, tech stack, requirements, and costs, which can range from $27,994 to $58,475.

First, let’s understand a live streaming app.

Simform is an advanced app development company that will transform your ideas into a unique user experience through innovative solutions. Our team of experts ensures that your applications stand out not only on technical aspects but also on the design front. So, if you are looking to develop advanced applications for your business, get in touch with us.

What Is A Live Streaming App?

A live streaming app enables users to transmit live video content in real time. Users can create, share, and watch live broadcasts on various themes via the internet, often including real-time discussions with content providers.

Some of the popular live streaming apps are:

  • TikTok
  • YouTube Live
  • Twitch
  • Bigo Live
  • Vimeo
  • Facebook Live
  • Instagram Live

Step-by-Step Guide to Make a Streaming App-

Step-1 Define Your Purpose

Firstly, define the purpose of building your streaming app and research the streaming market and user needs. For this, analyze different parameters like growth rate, types of streaming apps in demand, market size, competitive landscape, etc. Also, consider factors such as age, gender, location, and content consumption habits.

Besides this, consider legal aspects like content licensing and copyright compliance to avoid potential issues. Plus, keep a room for global expansion through scalability, localization, and content that resonates with a broader international audience, providing a strong foundation for your app’s success.

Talking about the market size, it is projected that the streaming market is anticipated to increase from $119.01 billion in 2023 to $173.73 billion by 2028, reflecting a CAGR of 7.86% over the period spanning 2023 to 2028.

This shift from traditional cable TV to online streaming eliminated costs and introduced smart TV integration, offering diverse streaming possibilities:

Video-on-demand apps

Video-on-demand apps come in two main types: cable-based VOD for TV streaming and OTT platforms for internet video streaming. OTT is divided into three categories: subscription-based, pay-per-view, and ad-supported VOD (Video On Demand). These apps offer diverse streaming options and original content, challenging traditional cinemas.

Music streaming apps

Online music streaming apps have seen massive growth, being the leading contributor in the music industry apart from offline sales. While some music streaming applications offer a subscription-based service, others provide paid content.

ESports streaming apps

ESports streaming, such as Twitch, is immensely popular. It’s a platform for gamers to stream content, offering chat rooms and live scores for gaming events. When creating your own app, prioritize these features for a successful streaming solution.

Step-2 Know your audience

To define your audience and their needs, create buyer personas, including demographic information, such as age, gender, and location, along with psychographic information like interests, behaviors, and pain points.

For example, if you’re creating a sports streaming app, one of your buyer personas might be a 30-year-old male who loves basketball, watches games regularly, and wants to stay up-to-date on the latest news and scores. Another persona could be a 45-year-old mother with children involved in multiple sports and wants an app that can stream various sports in one place.

By creating these personas, you can better understand your audience and tailor your app’s features and user experience to meet their specific needs. This will ultimately lead to a more successful and engaging streaming app.

Step-3 Choose monetization strategy

To generate revenue from your streaming app, implement multiple effective monetization strategies, such as:

  • Paid App: Charges a fee for downloading the app.
  • Freemium: Offers a free app download but charges for accessing certain features.
  • Advertisements: Feature content within the app or while streaming. For example, displaying ads within the app.

Want to create an app like Airbnb? Check this guide

Step-4 Identify features

Streaming applications need specific features for providing services and content access. For example, a premium access feature becomes essential if your application follows a freemium model, where specific content is free, and users need a premium subscription for other titles.

Therefore, you need to identify several key features for building a streaming platform, depending on the use cases.


Feature Name


Must-have features


User registration and login

Registration form for users to access the application using their credentials.


User profile

Display the user's personal information and profile picture to friends and subscribers.   


Push notifications

Real-time alerts for upcoming live streams, new content, or interactions to keep users engaged


Video playback

Smooth and adaptive video playback for a seamless viewing experience across different network conditions


Comments and interactions

Users can engage with content creators and other viewers through comments, likes, and sharing features


Analytics and insights

Data tracking to provide content creators with insights into viewer engagement, preferences, and performance


Social sharing

Integration with social media platforms to easily share content and attract a wider audience


Diverse payment choices

Payment options, such as credit/debit cards, mobile payments, PayPal, and virtual cards.

Nice to have Features


Offline viewing

Ability to download content for offline viewing, enhancing user experience and accessibility


Watch parties

Enable users to watch content simultaneously with friends and interact through text or video chat


Multi-lingual support

Offer content and interface in multiple languages, catering to a diverse user base


User-generated content

Allow users to stream their own content, fostering a sense of community and increasing engagement


Personalized recommendations

AI-driven suggestions for content based on a user's viewing history, preferences, and behavior.


Multilingual support

Audio options in multiple languages to cater global audience.


In-app messaging

Enable users to engage with others on the platform, facilitating sharing experiences related to various content.


Live broadcast

Enables users to create and broadcast live streams to their subscribers or the general public.

Step-5 Choose the tech stack

To select the appropriate tech stack, you need to determine the technologies, programming languages, frameworks, etc., used in a project.

Key tech stack components for a streaming application include:

Streaming protocol

Common live video streaming protocols include HTTP Live Streaming, RTMP, WebRTC, HLS, MPEG-DASH, and SRT.

When selecting a video streaming protocol, consider privacy, latency, audience reach, cost, and adaptive bitrate.

Opt for HLS if you are looking for broad compatibility. Choose SRT for privacy, HLS or MPEG-DASH for adaptive bitrate, and HLS or MPEG-DASH for cost-effectiveness.

Streaming platform

To establish a dependable real-time viewing experience, you’ll require a streaming platform. Creating your live streaming using HLS can be straightforward, or you can opt for a pre-existing solution like Amazon Web Services (AWS).

Content delivery network

The right content delivery network ensures your app users have consistent access to the live stream. AWS CloudFront, trusted by prominent streaming platforms, including Netflix and AWS MediaLive, offers a dependable solution. Apart from this, you can give a try to different CDNs like Azure, Cloudflare, CDNetworks, Google Cloud, CacheFly, Akamai, etc.

Selecting the best setup for these three tech stack components depends on your audience’s streaming preferences, speed, flexibility, third-party integrations, APIs, etc. So, start by pinpointing the issues you intend to tackle and then customize your stack accordingly.

Common live streaming concern

Viewers will immediately exit a live stream within seconds if they face any technical difficulties. Therefore, you need to take on these live streaming app challenges:

  • Elevated latency: Your streaming protocol needs to be adjustable according to the viewer’s network circumstances. Such a level of increased latency reduces communication bandwidth, affecting the excellence and velocity of your audio and video streams.
  • Challenging CDN region: Lagging cloud performance, regional service disruptions, and issues like buffering in CDNs can disrupt the user experience and lead to viewership losses. As a streaming service provider, it’s imperative for you to ensure top-tier and smooth delivery.
  • Content moderation: Cybercriminals and malicious attackers can make your app an unsafe digital environment by streaming harmful content and sharing it in the chat. Implementing a moderation solution is essential to keep your live stream app a safe and all-inclusive place for all users.
  • Scalability constraints: If you aim for global expansion and improved customer satisfaction, your app must handle high user loads smoothly. Emphasize server health, metrics, usage, and bandwidth monitoring during development.

At Simform, our experts can help you optimize streaming protocols and implement content moderation solutions to enhance safety. Additionally, we can design scalable architecture to handle high user loads, ensuring a secure streaming experience.

Step-6 Design & development

Designing a streaming app involves careful planning, starting with the user interface (UI).

When designing the UI, keep these factors in mind:

  • User-Centric Design: Make the app easy for users to navigate.
  • Align with Organizational Goals: Ensure the UI serves the business’s needs.
  • Consider Demographics: User location and ethnicity impact familiarity.
  • Use Space Wisely: Utilize UI space effectively, including negative space.
  • Optimize Content Placement: Make sure content is easily accessible.

Once the client approves the design, move on to developing a Minimum Viable Product (MVP).

The MVP is a critical step for testing, validating assumptions, and gathering user feedback on core features. It can include social media logins, profile management, and free content access (if a freemium model is planned).

The MVP approach involves creating a basic app, assessing its performance, identifying weaknesses, and continually improving it in each iteration.

This approach ensures a swift delivery of a functional product while minimizing prototype costs.

Step-7 Testing & maintenance

Testing your app is crucial to ensure it works well in areas like the user interface, backend, and API connections. You can speed up testing using tools like Selenium and Appium. These tools save time and help fine-tune performance.

To keep the app running smoothly, it’s essential to monitor key performance idicators (KPIs) like retention rate, no. of installs, subscriptions, monthly active users, loading speed, crash reports, etc. Furthermore, you need to understand the app’s technology stack for effective maintenance and functionality.

How much does it cost to develop a streaming app?

Developing a streaming app typically costs between $40,000 and $210,000. The final cost depends on various factors, including the complexity of features and the chosen development model.

Three key factors influence the app cost:

  • Feature-based costs

The app’s features are a major cost factor. For example, creating a streaming app like SVOD OTT involves offering various user options. Including multiple video resolutions (e.g., 4K or 1080P) and supporting multiple languages increases development time.

Basic features like user login and profile management are quicker to implement, but estimating costs accurately can be challenging.

Here are some essential features of a streaming app, along with their development costs:

Feature Description, Average Hours For Development Total Cost per feature


Total Cost per feature(Cross-platform
Login Login through email
Login with social media,
Reset password
Log out, and in
26-44 hours $997-$1687/
Profile  Add personal information
Set region
Personalize preferences
20-40 hours $767-$1534/
Advanced Search Searching content
Offering recommendations for search
530-810 hours $20,325-$31,063/
Push Notifications Users to get push notifications on their device 26-30 hours $997-$1150/
User Profile Management: Admin Panel Admin panel will have features for management of the user profile 60-90 hours $2301-$3451/
Video Uploads(For Streaming Apps like Youtube) Allows users to upload their videos as creators 35-45 hours $1342-$1725/
Payment Integration Integration of different payment gateways

Multiple payment options

33-46 hours $1265-$1764/
Total App Development Cost $27,994-$58,475

Note: The above calculation is carried out by considering the following pricing,

  • An average salary of $46.70 per hour for an Android software developer
  • An average salary of $56/hour for an iOS developer
  • An average salary of around $64.30 for a cross-platform developer

The cost of developing a streaming application is not just restricted to feature-based expenses but also has other costs ranging from market research, ideation, testing, and maintenance. Here is an analysis of cost for every stage of streaming app development.

Name of the Stage Average cost
Pre-discovery stage $5k to $25k
Design stage $5k to $50k+
Development stage $27k to $58k+
Testing stage $3k to $5k
Project management Up to $5k+
  • Type of platform

Developing a video streaming application for multiple platforms, including iOS, Android, and the web, can lead to increased costs due to the need for separate codebases.

Therefore, it is fair to assert that the cost of developing a video streaming app is contingent on the chosen platform.

Based on this, we can say that the development of a hybrid video streaming app may amount around $1,10,000, while a native app could costs up to $2,10,000.

  • Engagement model

There are two models to consider when developing a streaming app: Fixed Cost and Dedicated.

In the Fixed Cost model, app development companies commit to delivering a project within a specified timeline, predefined requirements, and a set budget. It is most suitable for short-term projects.

However, a more flexible Dedicated model is advisable for long-term projects with less rigid scope and requirements.

In the Dedicated model, you can concentrate on the business aspects while entrusting the entire development responsibility to a team of skilled professionals working as an extension of your organization.

How can Simform help you?

As your application development service provider, we manage the entire streaming app development process. From designing UX interfaces to ensuring scalability, and reliability, we take care of all the functional and non-functional requirements to ensure that your streaming app remains competitive and efficient.

Our state-of-the-art application development services include,

  • Certified experts in app design
  • High standards of app coding
  • Full-cycle application development
  • Custom API development
  • Cloud-based deployments
  • Complete technical support

Time and again, we have served several clients with innovative solutions through dedicated application development services. So, why wait when you can leverage Simform and be the next streaming giant? Get in touch with us for more information on our services.

Working from last 10+ years into consumer and enterprise mobility, Hardik leads large scale mobility programs covering platforms, solutions, governance, standardization and best practices.

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