Humans have an innate need to consume content, and surely, the most popular and engaging format of the content is video. Thus, any business that focuses on providing video content is sure to be a hit, as long as the business is executed properly.
Traditionally Video was consumed through television, and provided by cable distributors and broadcasting operators—for a brief period IPTV (Internet Protocol Television) was successful as well. However, technology has established a new realm with a much superior ecosystem for content consumption. Video streaming over the internet is the new normal.
This brings us to the issue of the OTT video streaming business. But before we properly discuss the concept of OTT platforms, let's quickly glance at the main focus of this blog—online software that helps you build an OTT video streaming app:-
- WordPress - S3bubble, WPStream, Streamit, Vayvo
How do OTT video streaming services work
The following part will include a streamlined definition of a few fundamental technical concepts involved in OTT video streaming. A brief introductory awareness of how OTT works will help you choose the best solution for your business.
The acronym OTT is an abbreviation for “Over-The-Top.” OTT replaces the traditional cable infrastructure with the idea of delivering media content over the internet. OTT services are more efficient, personalized, and low cost. To understand how OTT video streaming platforms work, you will need to understand three concepts—CMS and other backend services, OTT client, and Content Delivery.
1. Content Delivery
Content delivery includes all the processes and infrastructure that enable the ingesting of media files and deliver its streaming to the user. Content Delivery is mainly identified for three checkpoints, media ingestion, video encoding-transcoding-packaging, and delivery through a preferred Content Delivery Network. First, the high-quality media files are ingested from partners, organizations, media produces, individual artists, and so on, into the ingest server.
These files are then encoded, transcoded, and packaged, into compressed optimized quality files for efficient streaming over the internet. The process of transcoding is what generates adaptive bitrate streaming, which gives the user the opportunity to stream the video in quality best suited to his/her internet connection.
Finally, the content is delivered to the user through a Content Delivery Network. Having the right CDN at your service is important as it will determine the speed and latency of the content delivery. Every OTT platform will have limited streaming servers, but a good CDN knows how to make the best of these limited servers.
2. Content Management
Next comes the Content Management System. The CMS will act as a database for the metadata of all your content (in terms of service, many CMS services can provide a complete solution for OTT video streaming, including content delivery, content management, and front-end development.) Other backend services include Customer Relationship Management (tracks and maps user behavior, user history, and user details,) Recommendations server (generates content recommendations for the user,) and Search Server (facilitates the content search for the user.)
3. OTT client
Lastly, we have the OTT client which is nothing but the web interface for streaming. This is the part where we have the video player, 3rd party application integrations, payment processes, and other technology involved in the rendering for streaming.
8 OTT platforms to build your video streaming application
WordPress with over 50,000 plugins and integrations, and a huge collection of interface themes, still proves to be the best solution for any online business you can think of. Although there are other no-code platforms, application builders, and CMSs, that are dedicated to building OTT video streaming services, WordPress still stands to be a worthy consideration.
Additionally, you get the benefits of core WordPress features like quality hosting, diverse payment gateways (accept payment from over 60 countries,) security, Google Analytics integrations, and advanced SEO tools.
You can build your WordPress OTT streaming service using OTT Plugins and UI themes. The Plugins are complete solutions as they provide dedicated integration for CMS and CDN services, monetization services, video player, and front-end themes.
The themes, however, take care of only the front-end development. Depending on your OTT strategy and business model you will either have to depend on core WordPress features or opt for additional WordPress Plugins for different backend services.
A. S3bubble Plugin
S3bubble is an AWS-based media streaming plugin for WordPress sites, that helps you set up, encode, protect, and manage your video content. S3bubble services are mainly dependent on its integration with AWS, Woocommerce, and EZDRM.
Your content delivery and management are mostly dealt with by integrating with AWS services. The content licensing and Digital Rights Management related concerns are tackled by EZDRM. Your monetization functionalities can be developed with WooCommerce integrations.
S3bubble provides an AWS Secure Packager and Encoder Key Exchange API integration that helps you encode your video content for various DRM systems, like Widevine, Playready, and Fairplay. The DRM media player also protects your video content against unauthorized downloads.
S3bubble also provides a desktop app to encode your videos with HLS adaptive bitrate. Lastly, S3bubble also has a collection of instant hosted OTT video streaming platform themes that can get you started right away.
B. WPStream Plugin
WPStream is a plugin as well as a theme for setting up your OTT video streaming service to your WordPress site. WPStream provides both VOD and live broadcasting, but is particularly notable for its live broadcasting features. Live broadcasting, an aspect where many platform builders struggle, WPStream excels.
Even the most economic pack of WPStream supports unlimited live channels, unlimited videos, and unlimited viewers. You can stream your live events under different monetization schemes, advertisement-based, subscription-based, and pay-per-view-based. WPStream also integrates with other prominent WordPress plugins like WooCommerce.
C. Streamit Theme
Streamit is a WordPress theme for OTT video streaming services; it comes with a no-code template as well. This theme has a Netflix-like design and layout. The theme has a smart and optimized importer that can directly import video from Youtube and Vimeo. Streamit theme has many desirable features like responsive design and page layout, admin panel, impressive typographic options, Multilingual friendly, Mobile device compatibility, Elementor widgets, watchlist, advanced search, video rating feature, and more. This theme does however lack a very important component, the video player. For that, you will need a separate video player plugin.
D. Vayvo Theme
Vayvo is yet another worthy WordPress theme for OTT video streaming. With a drag and drop based no-code interface, Vayvo is a strong competitor of the previous Streamit theme, if not better. Vayvo can seamlessly integrate with Elementor and WooCommerce. The Vayvo template has a very responsive design with a highly customizable template. Creating sliders, maps, and pop-ups is especially interesting with this theme. The theme additionally includes features like pay-per-post, unlimited color schemes, restricted content feature, Boosted elements addon, ARmember membership, multiple payment gateways, and video player.
VPlayed is an OTT platform for building applications to provide online video streaming services. VPlayed is a product of the leading digital engineering service provider, Contus. VPlayed is a very reliable platform with over 300 developers constantly working on the platform’s maintenance and enhancement. A very unique feature of VPlayed is that it can provide you with both cloud and on-premise services. Vplayed is strongly focused on providing OTT applications to the broadcasting, media, and sports industry.
VPlayed is not just a feature-heavy platform but provides high customization benefits as well; you can even personalize the video player to suit your brand. VPlayed can help you build both video and audio streaming features. VPlayed offers all the industry-standard OTT features like offline viewing, multiple payment gateways, video thumbnail preview, advanced content search, watch history, watchlist, smart recommendations, and more. Lastly, the platform provides multiple monetization options, server-side Ad-insertion, and third-party Ad integration.
Vplayed also fairs strikingly well in the area of live streaming. It can turn live stream videos to VOD, schedule live streaming and implement live countdown, simultaneously stream to multiple destinations, webcast to mobile devices, conduct live viewers chat, polls, and Q&A, edit ongoing live video, and share clips on social platforms and stream with minimum latency.
The platform security is very high with features likeGeo-Blocking, AES integration, multiple DRM platform integration, parental control, dynamic watermarking, and advanced SSL certification. The video player provided by VPlayed is HLS and Dash adaptive. It supports multiple codecs, closed captions, Mini player, 360-view and VR, and ensures the fastest playback.
As far as the CMS is concerned it is very responsive with supporting bulk upload, multiple media formats, and Multiple languages. The CMS is also robust in creating and managing dynamic playlists, user management, database management, content library management, and media import/export management.
Uscreen is an online no-code platform that helps you build your own OTT video streaming service like Netflix, Disney+, and Hulu. Uscreen, a leading service in its domain, already has a huge user base with use cases in video genres like Yoga & Lifestyle, e-learning, Health & Fitness, Arts & Crafts, Faith & Spirituality, Kids, and Entertainment. Uscreen takes care of hosting services, content delivery, Content management, and front-end development.
Uscreen OTT platform provides a very flexible customization option that will benefit your branding. Uscreen has many features that are considered gold in the OTT industry. The features include secure PPV live streaming, global monetization, marketing and analytics tools, a dedicated video CMS with a central admin panel, a unique video player, templated themes, data security, and a strong community base. Lastly, Uscreen integrates with industry-leading OTT tech and services like AppleTV, AndroidTV, Roku, and FireTV.
Buildfire is a no-code platform that can help you build and deploy websites and applications without writing a single line of code. The features of Buildfire are not OTT specific but they are extremely handy in building an application in general. As far as your video streaming needs are concerned, the platform provides a vast marketplace from which you can select plugins that will help you build OTT video streaming features. If you plan to build an application that is a hybrid between OTT application and an eCommerce application, then Buildfire will be much useful over other OTT-specific platforms.
One of the most interesting features of this no-code app development platform is that it provides a real-time interactive emulator that shows how your app would appear on the user interface. Buildfire offers different development packs that are exclusive to different business domains.
The “Content creators App” pack will be helpful in building an OTT video streaming service. You will get features and components like Content management, push notifications, scheduling content release, content search, video player, integration with YouTube and Vimeo, drip content, content monetization, and more. The only downside is the cost of this platform. Even the least expensive plan costs $159/month.
Adalo is a cheaper alternative to Buildfire, with free plans and plans as cheap as $50/month. This no-code app development platform might not be as feature-heavy as Buildfire, but still provides decent core features. Once again like BuildFire you will have to browse the Adalo marketplace for plugins that will help you build OTT video streaming features.
Adalo has a small but useful collection of templates, and a functional & UI kit that will help you develop your app. The Adalo marketplace has a YouTube component, video player, and stripe payment, that will help you build your OTT service. Note, that Adalo is very minimalist, and thus the OTT app you build with it will be minimalist as well. Scalability and design flexibility isn’t really a strong suit of Adalo; cost-efficiency is.
Zype is an OTT platform that provides a complete app development solution for OTT video streaming services. Zype includes all major OTT functionalities like Video Content Management, video app integrations, video encoding, user management, and Content Delivery with optimized cache hit ratios.
Zype has a very streamlined content management process and a robust media ingestion system. The versatile encoder and packager produce streaming benefits like multi-rendition, multi-output encoding, and 24/7 linear content. Zype also allows multiple monetization channels and methods, and payment processes.
Maz is a typical feature-heavy media-focused OTT platform that excels at building applications that provide OTT video streaming services. It integrates with Apple, Android, Fire, and Roku. Maz supports multiple monetization options for your content including, advertising, sponsorship, subscription, metering, and IAP. Maz allows you to host with Maz or use your own hosting solution. Maz provides a dedicated video CMS, 24/7 linear live streaming, and adaptive bitrate streaming.
Maz also provides beautiful design layouts that are optimized for all devices. The development design of Maz focuses particularly on fast publishing to the web. What makes Maz stand out from the rest is its novelty in monetizing the content. It goes beyond the traditional AVOD, TVOD, and SVOD model, and includes flexibly metered paywalls, and powerful ad integrations (like Google Ad Manager and SpotX.)
Muvi is a very similar no-code OTT app platform like Maz, but with an exclusive marketplace for templates and extensions. This marketplace makes Muvi a better option if scalability is a priority to you. Muvi allows you to use your own domain. The platform integrates with iOS App, Android App, LG TV App, Amazon Fire TV, Android TV, Samsung TV, Apple TV, Roku App, social media, Zapier, WordPress, Chromecast, and many more.
The platform provides core OTT services like video CMS, efficient CDN, Digital Rights Management, Template customization, User Management, AI-based content recommendation, multiple payment gateways, multiple monetization options, HTML5 based video player, potent video encoding and transcoding, DVR-enabled live streaming, cloud hosting, Geo-Blocking, live chat, subtitling, content library, and offline viewing.
Muvi also provides a few unique stand-out features that will be appreciated by the end-users. Muvi offers a loyalty program with which your service can reward its loyal users. Muvi also helps you create a dedicated library for all the cast and crew related to the content. Muvi has the feature to build biometric authentication for users in your application. Finally, Muvi provides the feature to build a service in your application that enables users to upload and manage their own content, and allows users to send any video content as a gift.
Limitations of The OTT service building platforms
The above-mentioned platforms are unarguably brilliant and innovative, but that doesn’t mean they will be a hit with all businesses. The main reason being, after a certain point the application development will feel a little rigid, especially to SMEs.
Imagine an OTT service that plans to stream niche content to a very geo-specific target audience. Does that application really need to support a vast number of languages, payment gateways, and 3rd part integrations? When you buy a plan on the above-mentioned platforms, you pay for all the features in that plan, irrespective of how useful they are to your business.
This is where the custom development of applications excels. Build your OTT application with features that are relevant to your OTT strategy and business model. Focus your investment in areas like content management, content delivery, live streaming technology, user management, load balancing, and video encoding to provide an enriching user experience and high-speed VOD streaming.
Custom development of OTT application at Inkoop
Inkoop has years of experience in developing software and shaping successful digital products from business ideas. Inkoop has successfully built many websites, software, and web applications, across various domains, including OTT video streaming services.
Two notable examples of Inkoop’s custom development of OTT applications are Favatv and Ballersbridge. FavaTV powered by AMS network—shares, archives, and globally streams the work of artists and organizations. Ballersbridge on the other hand streams niche video content that showcases talent videos of different college basketball players.
Why Choose Inkoop?
- Build an optimized OTT app with scalable features.
- Focus strictly on OTT functionalities that amplify the positives of your OTT strategy.
- Use state-of-the-art technology, infrastructure, and cloud hosting for your OTT content management, delivery, and streaming.
- Premium code quality and code testing for bug-free performance.
- Quick platform delivery with a minimum build time.
- Round-the-clock tech support and maintenance for bug fixes.
Let’s end by discussing what makes a good OTT application. Frankly speaking, it completely depends on the content you wish to stream and your target audience. A good OTT application for domains like eLearning must have a robust Content Delivery service with the optimized routing of traffic to different streaming servers, low latency streaming, DVR-enabled live streaming, Live-to-VOD feature, pay-per-view monetization option, and Live streaming features like live chat and Q&A session. On the other hand, it is pointless investing in hefty live-streaming features if your OTT strategy is based mostly on VOD content.
Thus, when you choose an OTT development platform or hire custom developers be sure to get your features right. Finally, there are a few fundamental areas that your app development must cover irrespective of the domain. Any OTT service must have diverse media ingestion, robust content delivery, high-quality video encoding & transcoding, organized content management, comprehensive user management, AI-based user recommendation, and an OTT client with a user-friendly and responsive design.
- Anubhav De