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05 January 2023

How to Make a Live Video Streaming Website like Twitch or Netflix

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What do you choose: read a book or watch a movie? Most will prefer the second option, because it’s more familiar to the brain, which means it’s more pleasant (90% of the data entering the brain is visual information). Due to this feature, most of the Internet traffic falls on sites such as YouTube, Netflix, Twitch and Amazon Prime. Below we will tell you how to use this trend by creating your website for live video streaming and monetizing it.

Step 1: Explore the video streaming market

Statistics on the popularity of streaming services by region. Source of the image

According to Sandvine Incorporated research video transmission takes up 60% of all Internet traffic, most of which is online streaming of news, TV shows, sports, TV series, movies and video games on Netflix, YouTube, Twitch and other sites. When creating a website for video streaming, you should rely on their experience in development, design and marketing.

Netflix. An American entertainment web service that delivers movies and TV shows based on streaming media. The main feature of the site is the ability to view the entire season of the series, while other services show one series per day or week. Surveys show that due to this, 60% of users stay on the Netflix website much longer, watching two or more episodes in one session, many browsing all season at once.

Other Netflix Features:

In addition, it is worth noting that Netflix finances the filming of films and TV shows, many of which are very niche projects which development would never have paid off on the big screen and TV. Often, Netflix buys franchises that other companies have abandoned. The service does this in order to expand the audience and diversify the content (for which many fans are very grateful to Netflix).

YouTube. The service has been operating since 2005, the ability to conduct live broadcasts appeared in 2011. The main feature of the site is free access to all functions, including the ability to monetize content. Thanks to this, YouTube has become the most popular platform for streaming video games, television and radio programs (podcasts), shows, lectures and chatting with other people.

Other YouTube Features:

The conditions for accessing content through online streaming on YouTube depend on its type. If these are the usual broadcasts of bloggers, video games, lectures, etc., then the content is free, but with advertising inserts. If these are films and series, then, most likely, for access to them you need to pay a fixed amount. Old movies and TV shows are free.

Twitch. Service for free viewing and streaming video games with the ability to monetize content, communicate with viewers, a subscription system and more. The site is popular among fans of network games (LoL, Dota, Counter-Strike, Fortnite) and MMORG. In recent years, Twitch has also started using video bloggers to chat with fans, ASMR broadcasts, and watch movies and TV shows together.

Twitch Service Features:

Cloud Gaming. In addition to these sites, it is also worth noting such streaming services as Vortex, NVIDIA GeForce NOW, Shadow, Parsec and the future Google Stadia. These are platforms for cloud gaming, which, in addition to streaming games, also take care of the processing of all graphic processes, transferring the load from your PC, set-top box or smartphone to cloud data centers.

The forecast for the development of the cloud gaming market. Source of the image

If you want to create a streaming service, online gaming is the most promising option, since this market, according to experts, will develop faster than other streaming services and there are few competitors - a maximum of two or three worthy players. But the launch of a cloud gaming site will require a very large investment - from 50 to 500 million dollars.

Step 2: Choosing a site’s business model

If we analyze the aforementioned streaming services and their analogues, then we can note that they work according to one of two business models:

Paid subscription for all content. Visitors must pay a certain amount once a month or a year in order to be able to publish / stream their content or watch videos of other users. This business model was chosen by Netflix, Hulu and the future Google Stadia. Moreover, a subscription usually has several tariff plans, depending on the quantity and quality of content.

Netflix Subscription Cost

The choice of this business model for your service implies the absence of advertising on the site and while watching video content, both on the site and on mobile and desktop applications. If you enter advertising and at the same time a subscription, users will go to other sites where there is advertising, but there is no subscription.

Free content with ads and premium features. This business model can have two varieties:

  1. All videos and streams are free. The site is monetized by advertising inserts at the beginning of the video and / or while watching it. This business model is used by the gaming streaming service Twitch.

  2. Most of the content is free, but there are separate videos for which you need to either pay a certain amount (for example, $ 5 per video) or subscribe. This is how YouTube works. There is also advertising on the site.

In addition, in both cases, the site can receive additional profit due to premium features, such as the ability to chat via streamer, original profile customization, disabling advertising, etc.

Price and features of paid YouTube subscriptions

It is worth noting that the use of ad blockers by users, for example, AdBlock, reduces the profitability of this business model. Some sites try to work around this problem by blocking access to content until the ad blocker is disabled. This works if there is unique content on the site that the user needs. But, in most cases, such measures simply repel people.

Instead, it’s better to create an application for your PC and smartphone, where ad blockers do not work. YouTube did just that by launching the mobile app, and Twitch by creating apps for the phone and PC.

Step 3: Determine the functionality

Universal functions. Tools that all users will use (video content providers, viewers, administration), regardless of their needs and rights to content (management, processing, deletion).

Universal things include:

  1. With its help, they inform visitors about the platform features, broadcast content and terms of use (free, subscription). Recommended content is usually shown here - the best or trending videos and streams.

  2. Registration / login. Creating a user profile on the site and access to it via email, phone and social networks. There should also be an option for password recovery / profile access.

  3. User profile. On streaming platforms, this is a panel for navigating the entire site. There should also be access to tools for customizing your account, setting privacy, entering personal data, integrating with social networks and paying for subscriptions and premium features.

  4. Contextual prompts introduce users to the platform’s capabilities on first launch. It is important that users before starting training have the opportunity to choose an interface language, if there are several. Many sites / applications neglect this point, which is very annoying to users.

Viewers / visitors (video consumers). To make it convenient and enjoyable to watch videos on your site, you need functions:

  1. Video search. When your streaming platform starts to gain momentum, the amount of video content will increase exponentially. This will complicate the navigation on the site and the search for the desired video. To avoid this, you need a system of categories and tags, as well as many filters. Also, this will be facilitated by autocorrelation and autofill of search queries.

  2. Video library. Various "Shelves" of viewers, where you can note your favorite and favorite videos, films, series, matches. You can also add “Recommendations” based on likes and past views.

  3. Video player. Your main point of contact with the audience, therefore, this function should be implemented as efficiently as possible and the appearance of the player should be as pleasant as possible. To do this, you need to enter the ability to customize the appearance of the player, the quality and speed of the video, display the listing of content (streams). If this is video game streaming, then you can also add the ability to track the streamer's gaze (if it has the appropriate equipment), display additional statistics on the screen, etc.

  4. Subscription and interaction. The ability to track new publications of your favorite channels, streamers, categories and interact with content using chat, comments, ratings, reviews, reposts, likes and dislikes.

  5. The ability to pay for a subscription or financially support a streamer here and now will keep users on your site. This requires integration with PayPal, Visa / MasterCard, Braintree, Stripe, banks and major cryptocurrencies.

Video providers. The set of features and tools that companies, streamers and video bloggers will need includes:

  1. Uploading videos from other resources and devices to your website with the possibility of subsequent processing of content, as well as tools for capturing video from a web camera and screen or integration with video streaming programs.

  2. Video management. Managing your multimedia library should be simple, straightforward, and functional. The creators of video content should be able to sort the video, add and edit the accompanying video information, create playlists, configure access rights and copyrights.

  3. Running ads during a stream, connecting ads that will be shown while watching an already uploaded video, including banners and more.

  4. Track important statistics

Site administration. A set of tools for tracking processes on the site, content moderation, payment management, monetization system settings, advanced analytics, QoE / QoS monitoring and more.

Step 4: Create Design Prototypes

Usually site design development consists of the following steps:

Custom thread. A simple diagram showing the steps that a user must follow on your site to perform an action. This chart helps designers evaluate and optimize user flow.

Custom Flow Chart Example

Site Map. Displays the navigation structure on your platform. Thanks to the site map, you can understand how the content will be organized into “screens” or sections and how the user will be able to switch from one section / “screen” to another.

Site map example

Low-quality UX prototypes. A simple schematic representation of the screens and interface of the site. Usually these are black and white wireframe drawings, giving only a general idea of the future design of the site.

UX low-quality prototype example

High Quality UX Prototypes. They show all the visual and typographic details of the design of the created streaming site. When creating them, the physical dimensions of the screens of user devices are taken into account to visually understand how the site will look on these devices.

An example of a high-quality UX prototype

Interactive Prototypes. Demonstration of the interface and site design, transitions from one section to another, launching key functions and other things in action.

Step 5: backend development

After creating a working design, you can proceed to the "backstage" - the functions that are responsible for the possibility of streaming on your site. Here you need to implement the four elements of your web platform:

  1. Open source software for recording and streaming video, such as OBS Studio.

  2. Converter segment. The place where video content streaming is saved, processed and converted to the desired format. Typically, this element is implemented through adaptive MPEG-Dash bitrate technology or Apple's HLS live streaming service.

  3. A web part for creating an application that connects to a web server and displays a video stream to viewers.

  4. Content Delivery Network / Distributed Server System, which is responsible for delivering content to users based on their geographical location.

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