Learn the benefits of building your own custom-built streaming platform.
With the number of digital streaming platforms, it might initially seem like a no-brainer to use an off-the-shelf solution to launch your streaming career. However, there are many scenarios when you might be better off with an alternative streaming service – i.e., your own, custom-built solution. We discuss these in the following article.
Why is it a good time to invest in building online streaming platforms?
The market is growing – fast
With the trend of various forms of consumption being shifted towards digital streaming platforms, it’s no surprise that the media and entertainment industry has significantly transformed and continues to do so.
Currently, online streaming platforms are playing a critical role in the digitalization of consumption. Taking a look at music streaming alone, we’ve witnessed a rapid shift from CDs, to iPods, and now, digital streaming platforms.
Despite COVID-19’s disastrous effects on many industries, the market for online streaming platforms has been growing at a fast rate for years. And this growth is predicted to increase. Why? Well, it’s caused by a surge in global demand for video streaming, which can be explained by various changes in consumer preferences.
Digital TV Research predicts that global online TV episode and movie revenues could potentially double between 2019 and 2025. This is a predicted growth from $83 to $167 billion in total. The total online TV market is composed of many segments – with the main one being subscription-based video on demand (SVOD), which is dominated by some of the best livestream platforms like Netflix, Disney+, and Amazon Prime Video.
A new study of over 10,000 people across five different countries shows that global online content consumption soared in 2020. Before this, the average time spent consuming online content was just over three hours, whereas now it's six hours and 59 minutes. This number includes phones, TV, and other forms of digital media.
This surge can be explained by many factors, but the majority of the increase is attributable to the global lockdowns brought to us by the Coronavirus. Platforms like Netflix, Hulu, Peacock, and Disney+ have been some of the biggest “beneficiaries” of this increase.
With lockdowns and severe restrictions that came about in 2020 as protective measures, what used to be a normal walk around the block to get some fresh air became a luxury. Daily activities that were once considered normal took a quick turn for the worse and many have even become digitized thanks to the Coronavirus.
7 ways you can benefit from launching your digital streaming platform
There are many benefits to launching your own digital streaming platform, let’s discuss a few.
You collect and manage your users' data — not the external platform
When using a third-party online streaming platform, you don't always have full access to behavioral and user data. The analytics platform lacks the full transparency you would otherwise have by owning a digital streaming platform, and you end up being restricted by what the third-party software decides to make available to you.
With data analytics being the main driver behind many business decisions these days, it suffices to say that having access to full user data can make or break your business success and set you apart from competitors who use off-the-shelf streaming platforms.
Launching your online streaming platforms holds a goldmine of insights that would otherwise not be available to you should you opt for an external tool. You become in full control of your listeners/viewers' data, from demographics and referral sources to user returns, and a plethora of other engagement and behavioral insights that can change the trajectory of your business for the better.
Independence & better scalability
One of the major downsides of leveraging an external online streaming platform in your business model is the technical limitations that stand in your way. By creating an alternative streaming services platform, you’re free to:
Implement any new feature you deem valuable, at any given time (could be a user-requested feature or one arising from an internal decision)
Innovate at your own pace rather than relying on an external company’s business decisions Integrate with any third-party tool of your choice, without being restricted to a list
Redesign or redevelop your app in your preferred direction – you avoid situations where you can be blocked from implementing change due to restrictions in place by a third party. This can be frustrating if the majority of your audience is using the platform and you don't want to leave it due to the fear that they won't want to move to another channel.
No hidden costs (for instance, for the number of users)
Many companies have been in a situation where they receive their invoice for the billing cycle only to be taken aback by hefty hidden costs. Certain businesses, such as one of the best livestream platforms like Zoom charge businesses per viewer/listener. This can be hard to predict and budget for, particularly when you first launch your service.
As an example, let's assume you're a yoga trainer who has built a small and loyal following on Instagram as a "micro-influencer." Let’s assume you decide to play it safe and find a platform that offers a reasonable price for a modest user number. However, your business ends up exploding beyond what you’ve expected, and you find yourself trapped with a huge price bump to unlock more viewers. Meanwhile, by creating a custom streaming service, you'll avoid this costly mistake that can limit your business growth.
Gaining more exposure through unique branding
By having full control over the aesthetics of your streaming service, you can ensure that your app is aligned with your brand and stand out from competitors. With branding being a major driver behind consumer purchasing decisions, having your custom branding integrated into a streaming platform will give you a competitive advantage over other companies that may appear rather generic.
Better accessibility and user experience
It’s no surprise that Millennials are always on the move. Because of this, they prefer streaming exclusive content anytime and anywhere without restrictions such as having access to a Wi-Fi connection.
By launching your online streaming platform, you can allow your subscribers to stream your content without any geographical restrictions. Whether your users are on a bus, metro, or even in a car, you can allow them to stream on their preferred devices.
Doing this allows your content to be more accessible to your target audience, and makes it convenient and easy for them – two factors that affect many of our daily decisions. All they have to do is open the app and tap on what content they want to stream, connect to their headphones, and voila, they're now streaming your content!
Creating your digital streaming platform allows you to make the user experience one that is swift, time-saving, and stress-free – leading to a positive association with your brand.
Diversifying your user acquisition channels (a safer business model)
When one of the best livestream platforms Facebook crashed for a few days back in 2021, a wake-up call was given to many online business owners who heavily depended on paid advertising to acquire new customers. This shutdown led to a massive loss of revenue for those business owners who had a less diversified user acquisition model.
When you choose to go down the proprietary route and create the best livestream platform suited for your business model, you not only establish your position among users by having brand recognition in the Google search engine (for web apps) as well as the app store (for mobile apps). You also decrease your risk as a business owner.
Creating your digital streaming platform allows you to feel less dependent and more confident, knowing that your eggs are not all in one basket. This means that in the worst-case scenario if your primary service goes down, you won’t be losing users.
By having your own service, you can encourage users to tune in to your app. Before you know it, streaming apps can become another large source of exposure for your brand and a new user acquisition channel.
Increased brand value
When you build your own digital streaming platform, you have full ownership of user analytics and behavioral insights that as we established earlier, are most often not fully available when using an external streaming service.
This means that when the time comes to sell your business, your brand value skyrockets. You have a goldmine of data that allows for infinite possibilities when it comes to restructuring your business, should your buyer choose to do so. Overall, your brand becomes more appealing to both investors and buyers, allowing you to sell for more.
Launching your own channel is a great alternative to streaming services popular on the market. You should particularly consider creating your own service if you care about custom branding, want to have the freedom to launch your own features, and are focused on scaling your business.