The Ultimate Guide to OTT App Development: Cost, Features, Timeline, Tech

Discover everything about OTT app development with The Ultimate Guide. From conceptualization to launch, our insightful guide covers it all!

By Lokesh Dudhat

Last updated on: June 6, 2024

The Ultimate Guide to OTT App Development - Cost, Features, Timeline, Tech

Over-the-top (OTT) streaming has been on the rise in recent years, and the trend is set to continue into 2023 and beyond. With the proliferation of smartphones and high-speed internet, more and more people are turning to OTT apps to consume their favorite TV shows, movies, and other video content. This has created a huge opportunity for businesses looking to capitalize on the growing demand with OTT app development.

According to a report by Statista, the global revenue from OTT streaming is projected to reach $174 billion in 2023, up from $83 billion in 2019. This massive growth in revenue is a testament to the growing popularity of OTT apps among consumers.

In this article, we’ll dive into the world of OTT app development and show how to build a successful OTT app.

There’s so much to know about OTT apps – From understanding the market and competitors to choosing the right technology stack and monetizing your app. We’ll cover all the key components to help you create a cutting-edge OTT app.

OTT App: An Overview

Over-The-Top (OTT) apps refer to streaming services that deliver video and audio content directly to a viewer’s device over the internet. These apps bypass traditional cable or satellite television and offer users a more convenient and flexible way to access their favorite content.

Think of OTT apps as a personalized TV channel that offers a range of content and services tailored to your needs. 

Like how you can switch between channels to find your favorite show, you can choose from an array of OTT apps to find the one that best suits your interests. From entertainment and education to news and commerce, OTT apps have something for everyone.

Well-known OTT applications are Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, Disney+, Hulu, among others.

With the rise of internet-connected devices, OTT apps have become increasingly popular and are transforming how people consume media.

Key Considerations For OTT App Development

Key Considerations For OTT App Development

  1. Target Audience And Content

    When developing an OTT app, it’s crucial to clearly understand the target audience and the content they are interested in consuming. This information will help guide the design and functionality of the app, ensuring that it meets the needs and expectations of the users.

    Understanding the target audience will also inform you about the types of content and features you must offer, such as live streaming or user-generated content.

    A solid understanding of the target audience will help ensure that the app is appealing and relevant, ultimately leading to higher engagement and user retention.

    For example, if the research shows that most users are young adults aged 18-34 interested in sports and fitness, then you’d focus more on getting right to famous sports tournaments and shows on fitness and health.

  2. Monetization Strategies for an OTT App development

    Monetization strategies are an essential aspect of OTT app development. There are various monetization models to choose from, including:

    • Subscription-based
    • Advertising-supported

    Choosing the right monetization strategy based on the target audience and content offered is important.

    For example, a sports OTT app may opt for a subscription-based model, where subscribers pay a recurring monthly charge to access exclusive content. On the other hand, a video-on-demand app may opt for an advertising-supported model, where users can access content for free but are shown advertisements.

    It’s also important to consider the revenue potential and user experience when choosing a monetization strategy. A well-designed monetization model will help ensure the long-term sustainability and success of the OTT app.

  3. User Experience And Interface Design

    An OTT app’s user experience and interface design are crucial in attracting and retaining users. A user-friendly and visually appealing interface design will make it easier for users to navigate and find the content they want.

    Consider the target audience and their preferences when designing the user experience and interface. That’s why we’ve put them first on this list. 

    For instance, when targeting elderly individuals, the interface should be user-friendly, featuring larger font sizes and straightforward graphics for easy navigation. On the other hand, if the target audience is tech-savvy young adults, the interface can be more visually appealing, with interactive features and animations.

    Regular application testing is necessary to ensure user-friendliness and a smooth experience. A well-designed interface that offers a positive user experience will enhance the overall user experience and result in increased engagement and retention.

  4. Integration With Other Platforms And Devices

    Integration with other platforms and devices is crucial for OTT app development, as users expect to access content across multiple devices and platforms. It’s crucial to ensure that the app can be utilized on various devices, including smartphones, tablets, smart TVs, and gaming consoles.

    Additionally, the app should integrate with popular streaming platforms, such as Amazon Fire TV and Apple TV, to provide users with a seamless experience. This will allow users to access the app and its content from any device without switching between multiple apps or platforms.

    Integration with other platforms and devices will improve the user experience and make accessing content easier, leading to higher engagement and user retention. Furthermore, it will also help increase the reach and visibility of the app, making it more accessible to a wider audience.

Understanding The OTT App Development Process

Understanding The OTT App Development Process

  1. Defining Your OTT App Idea

    Before you start building your OTT app, you must clearly define what you want to build. Consider the issue you aim to resolve and examine how your app will stand out from competitors in the market.

    In addition to defining your OTT app idea, you should also consider the following:

    For target audience:

    • Who is your target audience?
    • How can your OTT app provide value to them?
    • Do they already spend money on similar products or services?
    • If so, how can you improve their experience with yours?

    For feature identification:

    • What are the core features and functions of your OTT app?
    • How would you distinguish it from the competition?
    • What do users need from an online video viewing experience?
    • How will these needs differ depending on whether they’re watching live or pre-recorded content?

    Outline the features and functionality of the app, which will be crucial in determining the development timeline and budget. This includes content delivery, user interface design, and technical requirements for compatibility with various devices and platforms.

    Finally, you’ll need to decide whether you want a flat or skeuomorphic look, whether to use colors or grayscale, and whether you want any animations or graphics in your app.

    Having gathered this information, it’s time to commence development!

  2. Designing The User Experience

    The UX design process is one of the most important steps in OTT app development. It involves designing all aspects of an application that its users will use. This involves creating the visual appearance of the app, including its color scheme, fonts, and other aspects.

    It encompasses the effectiveness, efficiency, and overall satisfaction with which users can accomplish their objectives.

    Moreover, the interface should be attractive so that users will want to spend time on your app. This can be achieved by partnering with a specialized UX design firm like SolGuruz. They will help you create a great user experience through their expertise in this area.

    Once you have defined the UX, it’s time to move on to coding and development. This is where things get more complicated because there are many different types of OTT apps, and each one requires its own development.

  3. Building The Technical Infrastructure

    A robust and scalable technical infrastructure is crucial for the success of an OTT app. It should handle large amounts of data and provide smooth and seamless video content streaming. In addition, the infrastructure must be able to handle spikes in traffic and maintain high availability levels to ensure that users have a seamless experience.

    The technical infrastructure of an OTT app involves the platform, hosting, and streaming technology used to deliver the content to the users.

    • Platform: Popular platform options for OTT apps include iOS and Android and web-based platforms such as HTML5.
    • Hosting: Cloud hosting is a common choice for OTT apps as it provides scalability, reliability, and cost-effectiveness. Amazon Web Services (AWS) and Google Cloud Platform (GCP) are popular cloud hosting options.
    • Streaming technology: There are several streaming technologies to choose from, including HLS (HTTP Live Streaming), RTMP (Real-Time Messaging Protocol), and DASH (Dynamic Adaptive Streaming over HTTP). HLS is the most popular streaming technology for OTT apps, as a wide range of devices and platforms supports it.

    Ultimately, the selection of platform, hosting, and streaming technology will be determined by the unique needs of the OTT app and its intended audience. Choosing the right combination is important to ensure a seamless user experience and meet the app’s performance and scalability needs.

  4. Marketing And Promoting Your OTT App

    OTT app development is very competitive, and it can be hard to stand out from the crowd. That’s why marketing and promoting your OTT app is so important.

    To reach your target audience and drive engagement, it’s essential to have a well-planned marketing strategy in place. Some key considerations for marketing your OTT app include:

    • Developing a marketing strategy: This includes identifying your target audience, defining your unique value proposition, and creating a plan for reaching and engaging your audience through various marketing channels.
    • Leveraging social media and online channels: Promoting your OTT app and connecting with your target audience can be greatly facilitated by social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. Other online channels, such as email marketing and advertising, can also effectively reach your audience and drive downloads.
    • Implementing in-app and cross-promotions: In-app and cross-promotions can help drive engagement and increase retention. For example, offering special promotions or discounts to users who refer friends to the app or using push notifications to promote new content or features.

    Other organic reach enhancement techniques for OTT apps include:

    • App store optimization (ASO): ASO is a technique that can help an app rank higher in the app stores. This entails enhancing an app’s metadata and keywords to increase its visibility in search results.
    • Search engine optimization (SEO): SEO enhances discoverability by search engines, and drives increased traffic to the site. Also, you can use SEO with ASO to increase the traffic an app gets from organic search results, which translates into more downloads for you!

    These are just a few crucial elements to keep in mind when marketing and promoting your OTT application. By implementing a well-rounded marketing strategy, you can effectively reach your target audience, drive engagement, and ultimately achieve success for your OTT app.

  5. Monetizing Your OTT App

    Sustaining the long-term success of your OTT app requires effective monetization. You can test and tweak the revenue model based on user feedback and the data collected during beta testing.

    Here are some key steps to consider when monetizing your OTT app:

    • Choosing the right pricing model: There are several pricing models to choose from, including subscription, pay-per-view, ad-supported, and more. The right pricing model will depend on your target audience, the content you offer, and your overall business goals.
    • Implementing payment gateways and billing systems: To enable users to pay for content, you’ll need to integrate payment gateways and billing systems into your OTT app. This will enable users to securely and conveniently purchase content and manage their subscriptions. Several options exist, including payment processing services like PayPal and Stripe and in-app billing systems.
    • Optimizing revenue streams through analytics: User behavior can be effectively analyzed, and revenue streams optimized through analytics. This may include testing different pricing models, experimenting with different pricing tiers, and monitoring the effectiveness of promotions and discounts. You can make informed decisions about pricing, content, and marketing strategies to maximize revenue and profitability by analyzing user data.

    It’s important to consider factors such as the cost of producing and acquiring content, the value of your offering to users, and the competition in the market. It’ll help you break even quicker and remain profitable in the long term.

  6. Launching And Maintaining Your OTT App

    Once the app is fully developed and tested, it’s time for the big launch. This is an exciting moment as all the hard work is about to pay off. You’ll leverage the marketing plan you created earlier to ensure a successful launch. After the launch, it’s equally important to maintain and support the app.

    These are the main steps involved in launching and maintaining an OTT app:

    • Testing and debugging: This step involves thoroughly testing the app to identify and resolve any bugs or issues before the launch.
    • Submitting the app: After testing, the next step is to submit the app to relevant app stores (such as the Apple App Store or Google Play Store) or other platforms where you want to distribute the app.
    • Ongoing OTT App maintenance and support: After launch, it is important to provide ongoing updates and support to users, fixing bugs and adding new features as needed. This guarantees the app’s continued functionality and relevancy, leading to the development of a dedicated user base.

    The ongoing OTT App maintenance process requires continuous effort from the development team to keep the app relevant and up-to-date. Moreover, monitoring user engagement and feedback is essential to identify areas for enhancement and making necessary modifications.

    Overall, the launch and maintenance of an OTT app are crucial steps in ensuring its success and longevity in the market.

The Future of Streaming is here with Custom OTT app development

Must have features for an OTT Platform App

Over-the-top (OTT) apps have revolutionized the way we consume media, allowing users to access video content anytime, anywhere. In order to stand out in the crowded OTT market, apps must offer unique and innovative features that cater to their users’ needs. Some of the must-have features include:

  • Tools for live streaming
  • Extreme personalization
  • Custom APIs and SDKs
  • Online video using HTML5
  • In-depth reporting
  • The best customer service possible

These features can help differentiate your app from the competition and provide an exceptional user experience. To learn more about these features and their benefits, check out our detailed insights in our previous blog article.

Tips and best practices for successful OTT app development

  1. Collaboration With Industry Experts And Partners

    OTT app development is a complex process that requires an understanding of multiple business requirements and technologies.

    Successful OTT app development requires collaboration between various stakeholders, including developers, designers, project managers, and other experts in the field. They’ll be able to provide you with valuable feedback about what works and what doesn’t. It can help guide your development process.

    It’s important to work with an experienced team with a broad knowledge of technology and an understanding of the complexities of developing OTT apps.

    You want people who can help ensure your app runs smoothly on different devices and operating systems. Additionally, they can guide monetizing your content through ads or subscriptions.

  2. Keeping Up With Industry Trends And Updates

    To ensure that your OTT app stays relevant and up-to-date, it is important to keep an eye on industry trends and updates. This includes new technologies, user preferences, and changes in the market.

    Keeping up with these changes will help you make informed decisions about the design and functionality of your app, as well as help you stay ahead of the competition.

    One recent example of how industry trends have changed within the OTT landscape is the shift toward personalized content recommendations. 

    With the rise of AI and machine learning, OTT apps can now provide users with customized content recommendations based on their viewing history and preferences.

    Personalization facilitates the discovery of content that is more likely to be favored by the user. This trend has led many OTT app developers to invest in these technologies to stay competitive and offer users a more personalized experience.

  3. Addressing Compatibility Across Various Devices and Operating Systems

    The OTT market is diverse and fragmented, with users accessing content on a variety of devices and operating systems.

    To reach a larger audience, your OTT app must be compatible with as many devices and operating systems as possible. This includes smartphones, tablets, smart TVs, game consoles, and more.

    Ensuring compatibility will help you reach a wider audience and improve the user experience. It allows the audience to access content on their preferred device.

    Also, regularly testing your app on different devices and operating systems is important. It’ll ensure that the app works smoothly and any bugs are fixed promptly.

  4. Providing Ongoing Support And Updates To Users

    User engagement and satisfaction are keys to retaining users and building a loyal customer base. Regularly releasing updates that improve your app’s functionality and user experience can help keep users engaged and satisfied.

    Additionally, having a robust support system, such as a customer service hotline or online chat support, can help address any issues or concerns that users may have quickly.

    By providing ongoing support and updates, you can build trust with your users and establish your OTT app as a reliable source of high-quality content.

Music And Podcast app development - case study

Case studies (Successful and Unsuccessful OTT apps)

Here are some of the most successful over-the-top (OTT) apps and their key features:

OTT App Case Studies

  1. Netflix

    • Wide selection of TV shows, movies, and original content.
    • Recommendation algorithm to suggest content based on viewing history.
    • Support for multiple devices and offline viewing.
  2. Amazon Prime Video

    • Huge library of TV shows, movies, and original content.
    • Watch unlimited movies and TV shows with a Prime membership.
    • Integration with Amazon Prime delivery benefits.
  3. Disney+

    • Large collection of Disney, Pixar, Marvel, Star Wars, and National Geographic content.
    • Option to download content for offline viewing.
    • Ad-free experience.
  4. Hulu

    • Various current and past TV shows, movies, and original content exist.
    • Live TV option with access to live sports and news channels.
    • Integration with popular cable providers for a seamless transition.

These OTT apps have gained popularity due to their accessibility, convenience, and rich content libraries.

Several unsuccessful over-the-top (OTT) app development efforts have yet to gain traction or become profitable.

Some common lessons that can be learned from these failures are:

  • Lack of differentiation: In a crowded market, an OTT app needs to offer something unique and valuable to users. If the app offers similar content or features as other existing apps, it’s unlikely to gain traction.
  • Insufficient marketing: A well-designed and well-executed marketing strategy is crucial for any OTT app’s success. Without effective marketing, even a good app may struggle to gain visibility and attract users.
  • Limited content library: OTT apps rely on their content library to attract and retain users. An app needs a more curated content library to gain and retain users over time.

Example: FilmStruck was an OTT app that provided a curated library of classic and independent films. Despite having a dedicated user base, the app struggled to gain wider traction and was eventually shut down due to insufficient revenue.

The lessons learned from FilmStruck’s failure include:

  • The importance of having a unique value proposition
  • The need to market the app effectively to attract a wider audience

These are some common mistakes made by unsuccessful OTT app developers, and they serve as valuable lessons for those looking to enter the market.

How Much Does OTT App Development Cost?

The costs of developing an OTT app can vary widely based on desired features and capabilities.

On average, a basic OTT app can cost anywhere from $30,000 to $150,000, while a more complex app with additional features and integrations can cost upwards of $300,000 or more.

The cost of OTT app development can be influenced by various factors such as:

  1. The App’s Complexity And Features

    An OTT app with more features and functionality will generally have a higher development cost.

    For example, adding live streaming capabilities, personalized recommendations, and advanced search functions will increase the cost compared to a basic app that streams pre-recorded content.

  2. The development team for the app

    The development team’s expertise also influences the cost of developing an OTT app. A team with experience in OTT app development that uses the latest technology will naturally charge a higher rate than a less experienced team.

  3. Platform selected for the app

    The platform on which an OTT app is built can also affect its cost. Developing an app for multiple platforms, such as iOS, Android, and the web, requires more effort. It’ll result in a higher cost than just building for a single platform.

  4. Customization and integration with third-party services

    Customizing the user interface and integrating the app with third-party services incur additional development costs. Services such as payment gateways, advertising networks, and analytics tools are just a few of these additional costs.

  5. Maintenance and updates

    Ongoing maintenance and updates are factors to consider when estimating the cost of developing an OTT app. Costs associated with an OTT app can encompass the following:

    • Fixing bugs
    • Incorporating new features
    • Maintaining compatibility with the latest platforms and devices

    Ultimately, the investment in OTT app development can pay off in terms of increased engagement, revenue, and brand recognition.

How SolGuruz can help create the OTT app everyone would love

SolGuruz is a custom software development company that specializes in creating innovative OTT apps.

Unlock the power of streaming with SolGuruz's OTT App Development services

By leveraging their expertise in the latest technology and their understanding of user behavior and market trends, SolGuruz can help create an OTT app that users will love. Their services cover the entire process, from idea to launch, including app design, development, testing, and deployment.

SolGuruz also provides ongoing support, including maintenance and updates, to ensure the app remains relevant and user-friendly.

With a focus on delivering high-quality, scalable, and secure solutions, SolGuruz is well-equipped to help create an OTT app that users will love and drive business success.

Final Thoughts

With the OTT market poised for continued growth, now is the perfect time to consider developing an OTT app for your business.

By following the steps outlined in this guide, you can create an app that stands out in a crowded market, meets the needs of your target audience, and drives your business forward.

All you need is the right development team and a well-thought-out plan. You can create an OTT app that everyone will love and use.


How do you make an OTT platform from scratch?

Developing an OTT platform from scratch requires market research to comprehend the target audience and their requirements. Next, choose a suitable platform and development team. The platform should have the necessary features and support the desired content. Then, design and develop the platform, focusing on user experience and making it scalable. Finally, test and launch the platform and constantly revise and improve based on user input and feedback.

How does an OTT app make money?

OTT apps can generate revenue through subscription-based models, advertising, and in-app purchases. Subscriptions allow users to access premium content in exchange for a monthly or annual fee. Advertising can be integrated into the app and targeted to the users based on their behavior. In-app purchases allow users to purchase new functions or information within the application. Combining these revenue streams can create a diversified and sustainable business model for an OTT app.

Which is the No 1 OTT platform in the world?

As of 2023, the number one OTT/streaming platform in the world is Netflix, with over 223 million active subscribers worldwide. It earned an estimated revenue of $31.6 billion in 2022. Netflix offers a subscription-based model, allowing users to access its vast library of original content and licensed shows and movies for a monthly fee. The platform’s strong focus on original content and user experience has helped it become a leader in the OTT industry.

Are OTT profitable?

Yes, OTT platforms can be highly profitable, especially if they have a large subscriber base and diversified revenue streams. A successful OTT platform can generate revenue from multiple streams. Each year, several top-performing OTT platforms generate billions in revenue.

How do you make an OTT app?

Creating an OTT application requires researching the target market and its requirements to gain insight into their needs. Next, choose a suitable platform and development team. The platform should have the necessary features and support the desired content. Then, design and develop the app, focusing on the user experience and making it scalable.

What are the Benefits of OTT App Development?

For businesses, OTT apps provide a direct, subscription-based revenue stream and opportunities for monetization through advertising and in-app purchases. OTT apps also allow for greater content delivery and user experience control. For consumers, OTT apps offer convenient access to a wide range of content on any device with an internet connection.

How long does it take to launch an OTT streaming app?

The launch duration of an OTT streaming platform can differ widely depending on the intricacy of the platform and the resources accessible for its creation. On average, it takes approximately 2–4 months to launch a basic OTT app with a limited set of features. However, more complex apps with custom features and integrations can take upwards of 6 to 12 months or more to launch.

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Written by

Lokesh Dudhat

Lokesh is a Co-Founder and Chief Technology Officer at SolGuruz, a senior technical consultant with over 10 years of experience in exploring the horizon of the software development industry. He has worked closely with startups and enterprises, mentoring them in engineering their tech solutions. With a hands-on experience of 10+ years as a developer, he has delivered solutions using a wide range of technologies such as iOS, Android, Angular, Node, RTC, React, MongoDB, PostgreSQL, Python, and many more. At SolGuruz, we believe in delivering a combination of technology and management. Our commitment to quality engineering is unwavering, and we never want to waste your time or ours. So when you work with us, you can rest assured that we will deliver on our promises, no matter what.


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