How to develop an app like Netflix or Amazon prime

Case Study , Posted by on 2019/09/11 0     Comments

Blame the Lumiere brothers for this change, at least I would. Back in 1895, they were the first ones to introduce moving pictures. The audience was seen running when the train approached the station. Since that day the ‘movie’ was unstoppable. And why not? After all, it is derived from the literature itself. On top of that if a story is pictorial and it gives its audience the benefit of both watching and hearing the story who would not get engaged?   

Now, that technology has developed remarkably, a need of over the top service had become mandate soon Netflix over-topped Blockbusters and left a permanent mark on the industry for delivering video content. We often talk about which series we are following and have heated discussions on what is going on in the same. Here, in Vyrazu Labs we already have developed a similar app for over the top services.

Let us go through the basic things that are necessary for building an app like Netflix and Amazon Prime which will help you understand the essentials.

What are the requisites for making an app like Netflix and Amazon Prime?

For better performance of an app like Netflix you need:

  1. Amazing connectivity of Network
  2. Storage reliability
  3. Less jitter
  4. High Bandwidth
  5. Security
  6. The latency factor

Amazing connectivity of Network

You can take your time to decide on making your app successful over the course of time. Concurrently, you will be needing a Content Delivery Network, if you immediately base your trust on this bad boy it will help you scale the app. You might not know what a CDN does. It is nothing but a solution that guarantees delivery of the content to its users via a network of servers. It is very important particularly when your app is content-based. 

The CDN will help transform your streaming app for the ott network into a scaled system for the demand of your content to avoid complications. It is cost-efficient and will work as an alternative for a customized server. There are many other reasons for which a CDN is a must install. 

First, it will shorten the request-response time for the users. 

Second, there will be less probability of losing the package. 

Third, it will prevent server overload for the smooth running of the app.

Storage reliability

When you are developing an app like Netflix and Amazon Prime you will have to think about the storage as your users will demand availability of the video. Above all, you will have to seek out a place to host your media files which will not lag. The host will be responsible for streaming your content or media. This implies that it will not let the content lag and terminate issues that arise while running the app. As you will be starting from scratch you can take a measure that is cost-relevant. 

  • You can always use less powerful and cost-effective storage to host the video data which are not popular or are watched rarely.
  • If you use an SSD storage you will be able to keep the popular data and the latest content, just a click away. If you choose to keep all the data in the SSDs, it will cost quite a deal of dollars.

When you grow your app like Netflix you can access the cloud service hosting. The cloud service will take the load of streaming your media off the local networks. It will help you to speed things up in your app like Netflix and help administer precision making it dependable.

Less jitter

The jitter is responsible for image freezing, drops in the video frame, desyncing of video and audio, and various other problems. A turbulent stream is responsible for causing the ultimate pain for video-on-demand (VOD). Netflix, Amazon Prime alike ott’s are not resistant to rebuffering, themselves. The technical problems of live streaming are jitter, for which adaptive bitrate (ABR) streaming is used.

The package or live stream is often encoded into file segments often known as chunks. This can be done by using the desired format that involves audio codec, video codec, container, an encryption protocol, etc. These segments generally represent two to twelve seconds video. These segments are eventually hosted on regular servers. For this reason, the resolution, bitrate, codec level, or codec might differ. 

A recent venture that was an AI-based approach allows you to select the bitrate. The researchers at MIT CSAIL has developed a neural network algorithm designated as “Pensieve”. This will make sure that the content can be streamed smoothly with excellent quality. The impact of this development has resulted in a fall of rebuffering by 10-30 making the picture quality go up by 10-25.

High Bandwidth

Suppose your user is watching a video that uses 4Mbps speed to watch it in 720p in real-time. Now, if you have 2,700+ users watching the same video, that will be 10Gbps, however, it will be more for HD videos. With 4k becoming a commonly used resolution Netflix says use 25Mbps and Amazon Prime recommends 15Mbps. The further calculation is easy from here, right? 

There are two basic things to consider to make sure bandwidth:

  1. The right protocol for bandwidth
  2. And, the quality of the CDN

Security

When you are making such a delicate app like Netflix you have to consider a way in which you will be able to protect the content from unsanctioned users. Check out the following points to prevent video piracy: 

  • Making payment for watching content.  

For enabling this you will need a complete SSL encryption of transactions done by your users. This encryption will provide payment data from your users. 

  • Using security via Tokens. 

You will be able to avoid redirection of content to any third party source without the authentication of the owner. Enabling token will help to protect the data from being pirated elsewhere.

  • Watermarking the content. 

When you add your watermark to the content streaming in live videos it will prevent pirates from optimizing your content and run it on their server. You will also be able to retain rights to your stream.

  • The truth about the network. 

A CDN that is trustworthy that ensures worldwide security and prompt connection, which will also check and keep a backup 24*7 to maintain the availability of the content even when the server fails to perform.

  • Restricting domain. 

To perform this task a fracture called “referrers” will authorize you to lock your content to the given domain. This will prevent all from seeing the submerged link in the base code for which no other site can root that.

  • Restriction on geographical locations. 

For copyright and licensing the app like Netflix, you will have to exclude some areas from your service.

Too much about security, eh? Let’s move on to a different topic without further ado.

The latency factor

When you are watching a live stream, do you know that it doesn’t reach you exactly at the same second it is being shot? It takes several seconds to reach you, as the data takes some time to travel. It is fair if a few seconds gap is seen in a live concert while a few other services should be faster. There is no solution to this right now, yet you will be able to maintain this if you find a way to balance these points.

  • The size of the audience and location
  • Protocol encoding and media player compatibility
  • Complexity and media resolution

A few examples like RTMP, WebRTC, and WebRTC will help you maintain the latency not compromising the quality of the video.

The scope in over-the-top services

The story Netflix told

Netflix an underdog rental services company had approached Blockbusters for selling 49% of the company for providing online rental service. Netflix had professed a revenue of $50 million, Blockbusters laughed off the proposition in those days. A decade had passed on since that incident, Netflix now has a $47 billion revenue in their hands and is running a resounding success service all over the world.

Talking about market share

Forbes stated that in several years Netflix will start losing market share as Amazon Prime and Zulu take on the market. To understand how to develop an app like Netflix and Amazon Prime we will first have look at the market and what is the status of the market. It looks like you will have to hurry up. In 2019 a total of 182.5 million people will view ott services via subscription that represents 55.3% of the population. Presently the market share for Netflix stands at 158.8 million viewers and Amazon Prime catching up at a steady pace has 96.5 million viewers.

Why will you choose an over the top service for development?

There was a time when we had to make do with downloading content. It sometimes took minutes and rest hours to download depending on the server speed. Now, “Netflix and chill” is the new trend. When there are seamless services like Netflix and Amazon why wait? Just switch it on and start watching.

There are basically two types of video streaming. One that is prerecorded and the other is live streaming. We have seen that both the fields are quite famous throughout the internet. Starting from Youtube to Facebook everyone is using it to share their content with the users like an immediate video. The pre-recorded video or on-demand video is something that is already shot and compressed later stored in the server to share it with numerous users who request that video. 

In the case of a live stream, it is shot where the action is taking place, then it is compressed and transmitted in real-time. This action needs specific hardware support, for which an OB van (Outside Broadcasting is an electronic field production van) is sent on the spot of the live streaming. For social media, we have seen that when we make a live video on Facebook it is stored for eternity in case of other apps like Instagram it stays for 24 hours. 

Learning about video streaming

Video streaming is a service that is worked by breaking down the video into small chunks and those pieces are sent using the internet for reassembling the data so that it can be played by the users who are demanding that video. To say it in technological jargon codec, container format or streaming protocol are used to assemble the data. Let me quickly tell you what are the uses of these jargons. 

When you use codec with which you can compress the data forming bundles of data that will be sent to the container format who will contain the service i.e. it will store the data into a package. After the compressing and the storing have been done the data will be handled by the streaming protocol that will deliver the data to its designated location. Once the data reaches the user they will not be able to see anything unusual, they will just see the video playing in the media player.

Why did video streaming gain fame?

There are numerous reasons that can be set in front of you still it will be less to describe why video streaming gained fame. The reason behind this is there are millions of users with millions of reasons for using apps like Netflix. I can state a few reasons that will help you understand the reason behind video streaming being famous to its users.

  • The usual controls– The usual controls like play, pause, rewind, stop, etc are integrated into the media player which makes the use of apps like Netflix easy and compatible.
  • Storage factor– When we used to download movies and series it took a lot of space in our devices which made it impossible to keep our favorite movies stay for long in order to make space for the new content. Now that everything’s online we are able to see anything that we want right from the app like Netflix. 
  • Device compatible– As you are making an app like Netflix it can be accessed from anywhere we like. That means an area with an internet connection will allow us to see the content in your app like Netflix from anywhere and at any given time.
  • Control over the app– you are the owner of the app like Netflix so why see content forced on you rather choose from the content and watch it as you desire.
  • Variety– An app like Netflix will provide you with variety which means that when you want to watch animated videos you don’t have to look elsewhere, anything you want will be available on this app i.e user-generated content (UGC)
  • Dynamic– The videos that will be available on the app like Netflix can be shared and will be engaging for which the consumers will have a hard time leaving your app. 

Do you smell business yet? 

Video streaming and development of apps like Netflix have taken the market by storm and why not? If there is a service that allows you to see videos, movies, series animes, cartoons, etc online then why will it not grow? By the year 2025, the revenue system of video streaming will grow up to become $124.57 billion now which was $12.5billion in 2017. 

Right now, the market is such that in almost every department video streaming has become just like a feature they have. Institutions like media and entertain being the leaders on videos on demand followed by educational institutes, healthcare, e-commerce, big brands, and every other field that requires the engagement of videos. 

Contain your excitement there is more to it. By using unique business models, you will be able to attract your target audience as long as the audience stays in your app you will be earning money for that. But there are other ways to monetize the app like Netflix you will definitely have to introduce subscriptions for the users as delicate content like these is not free. 

You can also have ads in your app but that might irritate your customer, so you can provide them with plans that will eliminate those ads. In the video, ads are quite famous on Youtube. Introducing monthly payment or paying according to what the user is viewing can also be integrated into an app like Netflix.  

What are the features that are commonly seen in apps like Netflix?

To illustrate why features are important is a completely different topic. What I can say right now is if your app lacks unique features and is complicated to use the target audience that you have chosen will probably run away, hence let’s take a look at the features that can be integrated into an app like Netflix.

  • Login and Registration– The login and registration have to be integrated into your app, that is the only way you can draw faithful information from your users. This will help you understand their likes and dislikes (later on that). You can also allow them to use different social media logins or direct login. You can ask them to login using their Facebook or Google accounts or just by generating OTP for singing in. 
  • Subscription– As you are a rental service like Netflix you will have ask your users to use the app for a given time without any given cost. When the trial period gets over they will have to pay for continuing the services. This includes lots of subscription models as discussed earlier. 
  • Home screen– The home screen of the app like Netflix should contain all the latest videos/new arrivals, trending videos, favorites, and recommendations using modern AI depending on their searched content. This is a page that will have to be designed precisely as the first impression is the last hence, it should have
    • Clean UI/UX
    • Simple design
    • Easy to use
  • Onboard– The users to not get confused with the controls. They should be able to navigate in your apps almost like a blind person navigating their usual streets. This means that the app should be so simple and sorted that your users envy your app comparing their lives.
  • Interaction with the app– Integrating interactive features like 
    • likes/dislikes
    • Commenting
    • rating
    • Reviews
    • Sharing
    • Screen sharing 
    • live chat 

will make the app more useful as it will provide the users with complete freedom to leave their remarks for the content, which will solve two purposes 

  1. Those users will be satisfied and
  2. The other users watching that video will know if at all they should watch it or not.
  • User profile– The user profile will contain a dashboard that will guide them through the entire experience they have had in your app like Netflix this will also be the area from where you can gather insights on the user. 
  • Settings– In settings options like sharing the content over social media must be there if it is not present below the videos itself. This is the area where the users will be able to: 
    • change their privacy controls
    •  manage their monthly subscription fees
    • choose from different plans
    •  change profile details or
    •  credit card details, etc.
  • Smart search– The box provided for searching out the content, this is will be used by the customers to search out the content they are looking for. It should be able to filter by broadcast, date, genres, location, topic, language, autocomplete sentence, autocorrect, etc so that you can provide your users with the best user experience from your app like Netflix.
  • Media player– should be completely usable with outdated controls like play, pause, fast forward, rewind, etc.
  • In-app video recorder– A service that will be able to record the video that is being played and the option to upload it over social media. If this video is editable then nothing like it.
  • Video library– There should be a video library that will should be categorized into different groups like action, rom-com, comedy, drama, animation, classics, etc this organization will help your user to search out content depending on what they are willing to watch at that point of time, this organisation is very important as it helps the user to locate the data they are searching for in one go.
  • Managing video– The video that is present in your app like Netflix should be very simply organized so that it can be located by the user. Even though there is a lot of content it should be easy to navigate. The content creators for your app like Netflix should be able to organize content and the metadata using the appropriate tools and manage it easily, edit the information, customize the apps for the users (recommendations), and other such jobs.
  • Payment– You will have to integrate different payment gateways for the users to make a safe payment. You can integrate Google Pay, Apple Pay, PayPal, etc in your app so that there is no confusion with the payment process and it is as secure as it can be.
  • Analysis of the app– The content creators used to be able to access the tracking systems to measure traffic engagement to that they can initiate recommendations.  

The admin panel

The admin (that is you) will have 

  1. Manage payment
  2. Moderate content
  3. Perform advanced analysis 
  4. Monitor QoE and QoS

QoS is essential for running the app for a long period of time.

Which is the technology that you will use to make an app like Netflix 

When you are making an app like Netflix you have to choose very carefully who will be doing that job for you. When you are working with a delicate system like Netflix you will have to be very careful who you choose. The tech stack, however, will remain the same that all the apps use for development. For the data and application, the developers will have to use the apps which have been used to create different apps like Instagram, Airbnb, etc. The tech stack will look something like this:

  1. React
  2. Rednx.js
  3. React Native
  4. Objective C
  5. Python, 
  6. Django, etc

And for the development operations, they will use:

  1. Babel
  2. Sentry
  3. Fabric, etc

For knowing more about the tech stack you can follow the article on how to develop an Instagram clone app, which will give to all the necessary information on the tech stack that is being used to develop such applications.

The Architecture of an app like Netflix 

The architecture of an app like Netflix is like a three-layered lasagna. The first one being the user software, in the middle is the distribution component and the last one is a server component. While the server component is responsible for taking the segmented chunks of the stream, modifies them into a suitable format and cooks it up for distribution. 

Then the distribution component delivers the media and other resources to the users on their request. If the media is at a large distribution scale, other CDNs and edge networks can be used. The user software controls the chucks of the content back in a comestible format. If you do not get these three elements properly set then the system might not be cost-effective, forward-oriented, good-quality solution that will be able to give out amazing user experience. 

Cost of developing an app like Netflix

You can choose a lot of options for developing an app like Netflix:

  • Make a custom app like Netflix 

For developing a custom app like Netflix you will have to make multiple devices compatible. Devices like Apple TV, Amazon Fire TV, Chromecast, Roku, etc should be able to support your app. To develop a custom app like Netflix and get the MoM maintenance it will cost you $50,000 to $100,000 per device.

  • Developers and designers outsourcing  

When you select outsourcing as an option it will help you in your business in the initial stages as freelancers are not an option here as you will need to call up the company to ask them to maintain it, update it as technology develops, and keep a check on its performance time to time. This will cost you about $50,000 to $80,000 for just developing and designing it and you can talk about the maintenance after the app is complete and is running. You can contact us for your software development outsourcing needs

  • In-house developers and designers 

If you are hiring in-house tech specialists will draw a yearly salary which will be more than $450,000. It will definitely help you in an enterprise setup however the developers and designers will draw half the revenue on a yearly basis. On the contrary, it will give long-term support.

  • Roku direct publisher 

The Roku direct publisher will help you build a basic app like Netflix for free. It will only run on Roku, nevertheless, that app will include everything that is required to start up a business. It will provide you with minimum display customization, ads, analytics, and maintenance service as well. This setup will be very limited for a small business or individual like you who wants to understand the options of other better tools.

  • Using a platform 

Choosing a platform will be the easiest and fastest way of creating an app like Netflix however there are restrictions to that. But if you are a little tight on budget you can choose from a plethora of platforms like Uscreen, Zype, Lightcast, Unreel, Vplayed, Contus Vplay, Ooyala, etc. You can also choose the Maz which has very high and tested formats. It will provide you with AVOD and SVOD options for monetization, there will be marketing tools and the maintenance will also be included.

Conclusion:

I hope you like this article was useful and it could teach you about how to develop an app like Netflix, Amazon prime or any ott networks. If you still have some confusion connect with us so that we can clear it. If you are looking for a company who will build an app like Netflix you can reach out to us, we are a leading software development and design company who will be able to help you out with anything that you require. If you spot any mistake in the article please please comment or feedback we appreciate your critical views. We are looking forward to joining you in a detailed meeting on how to develop an app like Netflix.