How Much Does it Cost to Build a Video Streaming App like Netflix

September 17, 2020 | Sakshi Sharma

It’s no secret that video streaming services like Netflix have gained popularity over the years all over the world. However, since the global pandemic forced people to stay inside more, it has grown even more very quickly.

It’s not just the entertainment streaming services that have gained popularity but many other categories have been sought after as well.

If you’ve got some video streaming app ideas to remember that it can be about anything, fitness, education, health, cooking, and so on. If you’re wondering if now is the right time to get your video content streaming service going the answer is yes.

The biggest question on everyone’s mind is what is this cost going to be to build an app like Netflix. Well, there are a lot of factors that determine what the cost will be. Let’s jump into some details about what you would need first to help you understand the variations in prices.

1. Choose a Niche

Before you start the development process to build a video streaming app you need to determine your niche. Again, streaming services aren’t solely for movies and tv purposes. Maybe you want to do more education which has how-to videos across all categories. You need to determine what you want your users to watch.

2. Content

Next determine if you are going to display 3rd party content, your own original content, or a combination of both. No matter which option you choose here there is going to be an external cost of either buying content or having to create it yourself.

3. Find an App Development Company

Once you are ready to contact mobile app developers you will realize that depending on who you are contacting prices will vary quite a bit. Other countries cost less or more depending on where it is.

This kind of project requires your development team to consist of a UI/UX designer, a couple of developers, a couple of backend infrastructure developers, and a project team leader. However, if you are going with something on the simpler side you may not need that many people or you may need more if it’s going to be more complex. On average though that will be your team.

Keep in mind that while the front end may seem easy and simple, the backend will have a lot of complexities and needs a really good team like SDI who is well versed in creating a solid streaming service infrastructure.

4. Custom vs Ready Made

You can make your streaming service completely custom which allows you to do whatever you want in design and development without any limitations. What makes this the best option is that you can give your users exactly what they want without having to settle for something that is sub-par. The downside is this tends to be the most expensive option.

There are also 3rd party integrations and APIs that can be incorporated into your video streaming application platform which can decrease time and effort on the development side which makes the cost lower.

This hybrid option means you still have many parts that are custom but some elements that are being pulled from the APIs will have limitations on how much you can customize them. While there will be a cost associated with using this, more often than not it’s cheaper than doing the whole thing custom.

The third option is a video streaming app builder which makes the cost even lower because it’s not custom at all. You have some design elements you can customize but overall it’s a builder with limitations on just about everything. In the end, this really isn’t giving your users a unique experience but it does give you most of the streaming elements you need for a much lower cost.

In the end, it’s up to you which is more important, cost or creating exactly what you and your users want.

5. Video Quality

The cost of development also depends on the type of video playback service that is used. If you want a high-quality experience for your users then you can’t use a free or low-cost player.

It’s better to invest in something that has better quality and a great technical support system that way your users enjoy using your service. Have you ever used a streaming service that loaded slowly and/or was a bit grainy? If you have, chances are you probably don’t use that service anymore.

6. Devices

You can develop your app solely for iOS or Android phones or you can do it for both as well as iPads and tablets. Of course, there are also smart tv apps and a website. Depending on how many devices you want to develop your app on the cost will vary. 1 device is obviously less expensive than developing one for 5. Some developers like SDI offer a package deal that makes it more cost-effective to do multiple devices.

7. Payment Gateways

Your video streaming app has to incorporate a payment gateway service so that you can accept payments. You will need to decide how you want to charge people or if at all. Maybe you choose to have it free for users and companies pay you to show their ads or you want to charge a monthly/yearly subscription fee. Whichever option you choose a payment gateway will still need to be set up which will have a fee associated with it as well.

8. Hosting and Maintenance

You need to have a hosting service that will allow you to store all your videos for streaming otherwise the app won’t work. This would be a cloud infrastructure. This along with everything else needs to be maintained. It’s not about just building it and that’s it.

Everything has to be completely managed to keep it running smoothly. Hosting and maintenance have their own cost as it is something that is continuous and crucial to the survival of your video streaming application platform.

When you create a streaming platform you have to keep in mind that the architecture for this is quite complex and as your business grows so will the complexities of your architecture. From the very beginning, you and your entertainment app development company should scale your platform so that you can avoid serious complications in the future.

9. Security

The last major item that needs to be considered is the security of your video content streaming service. This is one of the most important elements you have to consider. Depending on the service you decide to use, your cost will change again.

The higher cost is worth it because protecting you and your users against cyber attacks has never been more important. If you decide to go with lower-cost options on other elements that’s fine, but security is the one area you should definitely spend more on to protect everyone properly.

As you can see, there are so many variables and elements that are involved so the cost to build a video streaming app really does vary. On average you’re looking at $30K for the app. This would include the design, development, and setting up the cloud infrastructure on any device of your choice.

However, there are additional costs when it comes to the type of cloud service you use, security, video streaming services, and hosting/maintenance. Most mobile app development companies have hosting and maintenance options they can provide to you to help keep your app working properly.

If you want to learn more about streaming app development, what your options are and the cost SDI can discuss solutions that can keep the price below $50k for the entire platform which includes everything, not just the app design and development. Get in touch today at or call one of our specialists at +1.408.621.8481.

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