How to Develop the Next Great Streaming App

Updated on :June 12, 2024
By :Rae Stenbach

One of the biggest changes to the way we interact with popular media is the rise of streaming applications for the web and mobile devices. More and more often, users are relying on streaming apps to the point of near exclusivity. From music and podcasts to movies and even live TV, streaming platforms offer a place for users to return time and time again for their favorite content.

The rise in streaming apps over the past 5-10 years might insinuate that it’s too late to develop your own platform. That’s hardly the case. Internationally, there are only around 200 platforms that industry experts consider to be the “heavy hitters.” Other smaller streaming apps find audiences all of the sorts by targeting niche markets and interests and offering an unprecedented in-app experience. How can you achieve that perfect blend of captivating content and an enjoyable interface? Well, hopefully, this overview of the best features, approaches, and business plans for a streaming app can help you approach your streaming app with the right foot forward.

What to Consider When Developing a Streaming App

A number of successful iPhone app developers will tell you that no matter how good of an idea you might have, execution is key. That means contemplating all of the variables and necessary considerations that go into a good streaming app. First thing’s first: what content will you offer? 

Content

The content you offer will dictate who might have an interest in your app. With that in mind, most streaming apps focus on either video or audio streaming. Most don’t try to tackle both; spread yourself too thin, and you might not master either medium. When it comes to video, you can operate as a Video-On-Demand streamer where users simply access uploaded videos, or you can offer a live streaming experience. Both require licensing for access to the content unless you’re making and claim ownership over the content you’ll host on the app. 

Audio streaming can be a great venture, especially when it comes to podcasting. Podcasts are listened to regularly by nearly 104 million Americans each month. On top of that, the ease of access to recording platforms makes it simple for anyone to start a podcast. Music and audiobooks can prove to be quite useful as well. Many video and audio streaming services focus heavily on the users’ experience when navigating the app. Here are a few tips for building out that perfect UI for your streaming app.

Design and Features

The ease of using your app, as well as its attractiveness, go a long way in building consistent users. In many cases, the first time a user visits your app can dictate whether they’re going to return or not. Offer easy-to-read text, quick navigation tools, and pleasing visuals, and they’ll likely enjoy the experience. Make it hard to read text, overwhelm them with clunky menus and pages, and they will probably delete your app on-the-spot. 

Of course, design is nothing without features for your app that draw audiences in. A great way to think of your app in the early stages of development is to aim for the most minimal, simple app possible. What’s the fastest way for a user to open your app and access content? Fun features and frills can get added as you go, but the core experience for a streaming app is immediate access to content that the user wants. Give it to them in the easiest way possible, and they’ll be happy to stick around. 

Development Considerations

When developing a streaming app, there are a few technical aspects worth thinking about. Firstly, a Content Delivery Network, or CDN, is a must-have for streaming apps in 2021. These networks scale your servers to ensure everyone accessing content on your app has flawless connectivity to what they're trying to reach. Without it, users might take that time they are left waiting for something to load to hop over to another app. Yikes.

While on the topic of accessibility, hosting and storage are crucial aspects of your app’s development. A reliable host is necessary for providing a great in-app experience. Likewise, storage ensures users can click a video or audio file, experience it immediately, and have plenty more to choose from at the push of a finger. 

Building the Perfect Streaming App 

The perfect streaming app keeps users coming back for more, ensures a great in-app experience, and is built for high traffic and uninterrupted access to content. Offer your users these with a key focus on a particular type of entertainment or content, and you’ll soon find an audience with whom you can grow your app into the next big hit on the App Store.

Rae Stenbach
Rae Stenbach

Rae Stenbach, representing Blue Label Labs, is a graduate of Tufts University with a combined International Relations and Chinese degree. After spending time living and working abroad in China, she returned to NYC to pursue her career and continue curating quality content. Rae is passionate about travel, food, and writing (of course).

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