Best Streaming Services — What Makes a Streaming Service Great?

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      29 April 2022 (updated: 29 April 2022) by  Patrycja Paterska Patrycja Paterska

      See what the best streaming platforms have in common, according to the industry experts. 

      The world of live streaming is flourishing. Globally, in 2021, people spent 548.7 billion hours watching content on mobile streaming apps. This clearly shows what a great potential this space has. If you’re thinking about building your own streaming platform, then before you do so it’s worth taking a look at the best streaming platforms to check what makes them successful.

      We’ve asked seven business experts to share what they believe stands behind some of the top streaming platforms popularity.

      What do the best streaming services have in common?

      Here is what some of the best OTT platforms and live streaming services are characterized by:

      Original content and user commitment


      Lisa K. Stephenson, Owner at CERKIT TV

      When we think of HBOMax we think of quality 2-hour long movies - whether drama or superhero. It’s widely considered one of the best streaming platforms because it is apparent that they do not skimp on cost when it comes to production. Additionally, it’s also about making a commitment to customers and keeping it. 

      I find that if HULU were not owned by NBCUniversal, they would not sustain. Asking subscribers to pay a monthly fee of $6.99 and still subject them to 1:45 seconds of commercials multiple times per program is pure greed. They have no compassion for their viewers and their experience. Thinking of your audience makes a difference because, while Netflix thinks of their viewers in terms of UX, they do not think of their viewers in terms of content. In my opinion, they are a "quantity over quality" module which, too, may not sustain itself for much longer. HBOMax and Disney+ seem to have the right idea.

      Access to a variety of bundles


      Laura Fuentes, Operator of Infinity Dish

      In today’s day in age, we have more people paying for streaming services than traditional cable. Maybe this is because you can take these services with you wherever you go, as long as you have a smart device and internet. So, if you’re looking into different streaming services, there are some things you’ll have to think about before actually paying for it. There are plenty of good services out there, but there are ones that are even better than just “good”. So, with that being said, the best streaming services should offer you deals. What I mean by “offer you deals”, is that the service should give you a variety of different bundles that include other services with it. In essence, you’re paying less a month as a bundle than you would separately. This bundle will help your bill stay low. And, on the plus side, you’ll be getting more options of shows/movies to choose from.

      Speaking of more options to choose from, that brings me to my next point. You need to look at what channels, shows, or movies are offered to you, and make sure they're options you want to actually watch. The price for them are also big indicators of whether they're ‘good’ or one of the best streaming services. These are just a few things to consider when choosing what streaming service to go with, another thing you can do is search reviews and ratings of each service. But, remember the more money you save, and the more options you have to watch, are what separates the best streaming platform from the merely good one.

      A system of tiers for payment


      Jeff Mains, CEO of Champion Leadership Group

      A tier payment system is what top streaming platforms offer. The purpose of streaming services is to acquire paying customers, but this is very difficult when your target audience has no prior knowledge of your platform's existence. Creating a hybrid approach with several payment levels for members is one method to get around this problem.

      A free membership with advertisements will expose your viewers to your material while generating advertising cash for you. As viewers grow more comfortable with your service and more confident in your ability to offer high-quality material, they will subscribe to your channel to enjoy your videos without interruption.

      Affordable subscriptions

      Rahul Vij, CEO at WebSpero Solutions

      Offering the best quality at reasonable prices takes a special place in people's hearts. And, uncoincidentally, it’s what the best OTT platforms offer! When you think of it, the subscription prices are very low compared to other entertainment types – say, tickets to a movie in the theatre. If a viewer who prioritizes pricing gets to watch so many movies, web series, dramas etc., just by paying the price of one or two tickets charged in the movie theatre, you know what their preferred choice will be.

      Live chat, comments, and ratings


      Laura Jimenez, Owner at Ishine365

      Chat is one of the essential features that need to be included – particularly, if sales are involved. The host or streamer can communicate with users in real-time with chat options. For instance, if a user has a question regarding an offer or a product that’s being advertised in the streaming, they could chat with one of the hosts and quickly get answers. Chats also allow streamers to collect feedback, strengthening their bond with their audience.

      Apart from real-time conversations, users should also be able to comment during live streaming and rate the live-streamed video after it has ended. This builds a relationship between the user and the video creator.

      Content management system (CMS) and customization features


      Adam Ng, the CEO and Founder of Trusted

      Content management system (CMS) is a must-have for every top streaming platform. Not only does it help to categorize all content and create an organized environment for all the movies you offer, but also makes it easy for viewers to navigate within the system. Video content management systems will allow people to create a personalized library, discover new content, and quickly access their favorites.

      Some of the most common functionalities of CMS you can find among competitors include categories, tags, quick search, user-friendly and intuitive navigation, ratings and comments, voice search, and many more.

      Customization features

      For many users, customization is a nice addition that lets them create a unique experience and gives them more control over the platform. Here are a few examples of the most popular options users look for:

      • Playback speed control
      • Subtitle support in different languages (especially, if you offer services globally), dubbed content, closed captions
      • General settings for the viewer account like privacy, ads options, setting a theme, layout, grid and list views, etc.
      • Picture-in-picture feature and floating window
      • Different resolution
      • Smart AI recommendations
      • Building personalized playlists

      Show users customization is available, but make it manageable. On the other hand, don’t lump everyone together. Not all users will opt for customization. Some people will want to keep things simple so keep them in mind when building your platform.

      User-friendly interface and access to global content


      Patrick Smith, Editor-in-chief Firesticktricks

      The most important feature or characteristic needed to qualify as the best streaming service is a user-friendly interface. User experience is vital to attract customers. They tend to abandon their purchases due to a bad user experience. People don’t like dealing with complex interfaces, nor do they have the time. Users just want easy access to their content. Streaming services should focus on engaging with their UI and UX specialists, who handle all the visual aspects of your app, and ask them to run tests and demos to ensure it is user-friendly. Whoever provides the user with the most user-friendly experience, would be considered the best.

      Another important characteristic of the best OTT platform is access to global content. Users want to discover new languages and cultures, and experience traditions and customs from different parts of the world. Hence, services should not focus on just one type of content, but rather give their audience content of different genres. Users want a variety of content to entertain themselves. To be successful internationally, streaming services would have to be versatile and offer content from all geolocations.

      Top streaming quality


      Meera Watts, Founder of Siddhi Yoga

      At my business, we provide a holistic environment to transform lives through online yoga practices, meditation, and the goodness of Ayurveda.

      In my opinion, the best streaming services allow users to view or listen to content continuously, enjoying an undisrupted experience. Rather than an entire media file being downloaded first, the content is transmitted in data packets a few seconds at a time, stored on the user's device, and played there remotely. For me, quality is an integral element of a good video streaming service. And I don't just mean that the code should be bug-free. Intuitive interfaces, clever view mechanics, a decent set of data analytics to determine view preferences, and, of course, high res videos are pivotal to setting up an excellent streaming service.


      If you’d like to enter (and succeed in!) the streaming world, it’s a great idea to look at what the best streaming services have in common. Bear in mind that the exact features will depend on the type of streaming you’re planning to launch. Whether it’s an OTT or live service, one that’s video- or audio-based, paid or free, among many others.

      • However, some of the characteristics of the top streaming platforms include:
      • Creating original content
      • Ensuring top streaming quality (i.e., making sure that users can stream even without the best internet connection)
      • Offering affordable subscriptions or even freemium accounts (with revenue made through ads).

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