Video Streaming App Development | How to Develop a Video Streaming App like Netflix?

Mobile App Development, On-demand App Development

Gone are the days when we used to sit in front of the televisions to watch our favorite shows or go out for our movie plans. Today, we need everything on the go, even our doses of entertainment. Hence, we have this era video streaming app development.

Due to the fast pace of life in modern times, we only have small pockets of free time (like long subway rides, bus rides, when we are stuck in traffic, etc.) at irregular intervals across the day. So naturally, we want to utilize them and be as much entertained as it is possible.

But we can’t lunge a television around on our backs wherever we go, can we? So these are the times of flexible entertainment. Because of this need to be flexible and mobile, we have seen a considerable rise in the video streaming service market in the past few years.

As of the second quarter of 2018, Statista’s reports that Netflix has over 130 million subscribers worldwide. This whomping number is enough to hint where the entertainment trend is heading. Furthermore, CNBC reports that Netflix plans on investing $8 billion on 700 original series in 2018. Such a substantial investment only goes on to show the company’s faith in the trend and this industry’s future growth.

Also, as CNBC reports, in Netflix’s Q2 earnings report of 2018, it showed total revenue of $3.91 billion! So if you are thinking of jumping into the video streaming service market, now might be the best time to do it.

So today, we will talk about how you can create a video streaming app like Netflix.

So let’s jump in!

Why are They so Popular?

With the content services like Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, and others are providing to the viewers, it is only normal that they are moving further away from their televisions. Who would want to sit in front of a T.V. to watch an old movie, while they can easily watch a new on lying in their beds?

These video streaming apps, first and foremost, have made entertainment portable. We no longer need to go to some specific place to be entertained; we take entertainment with ourselves in our pockets.

Another reason why these apps are getting so much love is the insane amount of content they are providing to the viewers. From licensed content to original content, these video streaming services have something for everyone.  

Top in the Trend

While there are many players in the video streaming market, it is dominated by three- Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, and Hulu.

Let’s know them a little better, shall we?


Hulu is a joint venture between The Walt Disney Company (30% stakes), 21st Century Fox (30% stakes), Comcast(30% stakes), and AT&T (10% stakes). It was founded on the 29th of October 2007. Hulu is primarily an online service for television show streaming and is known for being faster than its competitors in the market.


Netflix is the top video streaming service in the market. It was founded on the 29th  of August 1997 by Reed Hastings and Marc Randolph. It is known for its critically acclaimed content which speaks to the audience of multiple age groups. It has a huge collection of television shows and movies, both licensed and self-made.

Amazon Prime Video

Amazon Prime Video is the eCommerce giant’s online video subscription offering. It is relatively new in the market but is quickly gaining momentum and becoming trouble for its competition.

Benefits of Video Streaming Apps

Video Streaming services have various benefits for the customers, let’s have a look at some of them:

1. Mobility

The greatest ease video streaming services have given us, is the ease to move. We no longer need to remain cemented in one place to watch a movie or an episode. You can watch it in bed, under blankets. You can watch it on the bus, on the train, practically anywhere where you can carry your handheld device.

2. Multitasking

Since it promotes ease of movement while being entertained, these services also help us in conducting various chores while taking our dose of entertainment.  

3. Storage

If there is one problem with these streaming services is that of dependency on the internet. When you don’t have a stable wifi connection, you can not stream any video. But Netflix has a fix for this as well. You can download an episode or two or an entire movie, which it will store on your device and then will let you watch it anytime you want, internet or not.

4. Social Media

In our current skeleton of life, we are very addicted to social media. We share everything that happens with us there. We also like to share with our friends what song we are listening, what movie we are watching and what book we are currently reading. So it is only natural that we would want to share our video streaming service exploits there as well. Netflix enables users to share their current watch on their various social media platforms.

Features You Need to Have in Your Video Streaming App

Now before you start developing your app, you need to conduct thorough market research. You need to assess the market and pick your target users. One more thing that you will need to do is research Netflix app very thoroughly. See what features they have, and out them, which ones are absolutely essential.

Then look for features which are making their app not as good as it should be and think of a way of improving that feature in your app. A crucial phase of market research is customer interviews. When you conduct such interviews, customers tell you their thoughts on the current apps, and how they could be better or the features they wish, it had.

You can use this information and introduce novelty features to attract more customers.

Of course, you won’t be able to put in every feature in the beginning. So we have created a list of the basic features your video streaming service must have.

1. Registration and Subscription

The first thing you need to do is come up with enticing subscription plans for your service. In the beginning, you need to start off cheap to get more customers in. So plan your subscription packages according to that. Furthermore, you will need a registration page. This page will take all the users’ information and his choice of a subscription plan.

Netflix has three subscription plans- basic, standard, and premium. You can see what each package has to offer in the below image.

2. Payment Gateway

Next thing you need to have is a secure and well-trusted payment gateway. This might be the most vulnerable and crucial portion of your app. Whenever there is money involved, people get extra jumpy. So it is a good idea to use a popular payment gateway with a good reputation.  

Also, you need to provide various methods of payment as well. Don’t be rigid, the whole idea of video streaming services is to be flexible.

Netflix allows you to pay with Visa or MasterCard debit/credit cards only. But there are other ways you can pay with; like Google Wallet. You can go to play store and buy a Netflix membership there with your google play credits.

3. Quick Search

No one likes to wait anymore, for anything. So when your users need to wait for like a minute or two for you to index your search, they get bummed out. This way, you lose their faith and cease to be in their good graces. So you need to figure out a way to make browsing in your app fast.

Netflix has a phenomenally quick searching time.  It also lets you search with various genres and gives you suggestions based on your past app activity.

4. Design

In this phase, you need to find a middle ground between visual appeal and ease of use. UI and UX, both are major reasons why an app will succeed or fail in the market. This point is not related to Video Streaming services only; any app which is too hard to use, or doesn’t have a seamless UI  with an eye-catching design, fails to impress the customers.

When we talk about video streaming services, we need to keep in mind that we will be dealing with a lot of browsing. Furthermore, we will be giving a lot of data to the users. So a bulky UI will cost you time. Since it will take longer to load, your app will be slow.

At the same time, if your app is not pretty enough, then also it will fail to stand out in the market.

So as we said before, you need to find a middle ground between the two aspects.

Netflix has a fundamental design with a simple and modest color template.  Furthermore, its UX offers exceptional ease of use as well.

5. Settings

You will need to provide a basic settings menu to the user. From here they will be able to change their username or password or their subscription plan. Here they will also be able to tweak a few other details about the app itself or set their preferences.

6. Profile Page

You will need to provide users with a rustic profile page, at least. Here they will be able to change their avatar, screen name, email address, etc.

7. No Screenshots

The greatest threat on these video streaming services is theft of content. So to stop people from recording what they are playing on their screen and then leaking it on the internet, you need to block any form of screen capturing. This way you preserve the copyrighted content.

8. Social Media Integration

Most apps these days have social media integration. They let you log in using your social media accounts and share your current activities there. Video streaming services need this feature so that their users can share their current watch with their friends on various social media platforms.

9. Multiple Languages

Not every user can read or understand English. So you need to make arrangements that the text in your app, is in various languages.

10. Push Notifications

They are a great way of interacting with your customers. You can tell them about any new series you might be launching. You can tell them if there are some changes in your terms and conditions or inform them if you’ve released an update for the app.

Push notifications are a great marketing tool and a must-have for your app.

11. Download

You can allow users to download the content and save it on their devices. This way, they will be able to watch their serial or movie even when they don’t have access to the internet.

Netflix lets you download and saves the content for you to watch later.

Things to Ponder

Now you know all the features you need to add, you have a game plan, and you’re excited. But just to be on the safe side, ponder over following points:

  1. Have you conducted your market research properly?  This phase will be one of your most crucial sources of information about market sentiment. You need to be sure about the features you’re providing in your app.
  2. Add new features, don’t just copy others.
  3. Your UX should be seamless, fluid and all and all, a delight for the user. You need to find the right balance between ingenuity and ease.
  4. Know your customer base and try to hold their attention.

Don’t Forget to Add Your Own Touch to The Video Streaming App Development

What we discussed up until now, is all that Netflix is doing; you can copy all that, certainly. But at the same moment, you need to make this app original. If you’re not providing anything new, why will people use your app?

So you need to bring in some unique features that will make your app stand out from the rest.  


The era of the living room is dead. The times when the whole family used to get together and watch the series of their favorite prime time shows, is gone. Now, we all have handheld devices, and we all subscribe to one video streaming service or another. These video streaming apps are the modern way of entertainment.

In the past few years, apps like Netflix, Hulu and Amazon Prime Video have successfully carved an identity for themselves in the entertainment business. Every month, more and more people subscribe to one of these services and watch their favorite shows and movies, anywhere they like. And by the way things are going for these video streaming services, they are sure to be the future of entertainment. So right now, is the best time for you to get in on the action.