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OTT App Development: The Ultimate Guide

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What were people's options for watching their favorite shows in the past? There was only one television, and the entire family sat and watched the same stuff.

People soon had the opportunity to watch their favorite videos with their computers on websites like YouTube, thanks to the internet. 

Boom! Everything changed after that, with the advent of mobile phones. People did, in fact, transfer from their televisions and computers to their phones to watch their favorite shows.

Slowly, people started enjoying the freedom of watching what they like without anyone’s interference. The only stumbling block was limited and slow internet connection

Today, with the advancement of technology, streaming has become the most common method of consuming videos.

Did you know that the average person spends more time on OTT apps than driving, socializing, or other pastime pursuits?

Table of Contents : 

What are OTT apps 

Why are they important

How to develop OTT Apps

How much do OTT Apps cost

Which OTT app you should launch first

How to find the perfect OTT provider


So if you want to develop OTT apps or know more about them, this guide will help you. 

Let’s begin. 


OTT, or over-the-top, enables viewers stream premium content directly over the web, without the use of cable or satellite TV. 

So, OTT apps are the apps that deliver online videos straight to your devices over the internet. 

Take Netflix,. You can watch Netflix on your computer, mobile (Android and iOS), and Smart TV devices (Roku, Android TV, Samsung TV, etc). Netflix has developed native apps for all these platforms and all these apps are called OTT apps.

This is because Netflix realized that developing OTT apps is the most powerful approach to reach its target audience. 

If you have great content to give your audience, no medium is more potent than OTT.


Are you spending more or less time watching videos online, compared to, say, 5 years ago? What about your friends? 

As you might have guessed, the usage of OTT apps and the online video industry is growing exponentially. Millions of people have reduced the usage of cable and satellite TV and are spending more time watching videos over the internet, on their PCs, mobile devices, and Smart TV’s

Statistica reports reveal that

  • OTT media revenue is expected to reach USD 158.84 billion by 2024. In 2018, this figure was less than half of it – USD 67.8 billion.
  • Netflix is the largest OTT provider in the world, with over 150 million paid subscribers.
  • User penetration of video streaming is forecast to reach 6.2 percent by 2025

Here are 4 reasons why you should launch OTT apps: 

Gain more viewers  

Over the past few years, video streaming traffic on mobile and smart TV devices has grown significantly. 

Global mobile data traffic is projected to grow from  65EB(exabytes) per month in 2021, to  288EB per month in 2027. That’s a whopping growth of 4.4 times.

The monthly global average usage per smartphone was 11.4GB by 2021 and this is forecast to reach 41GB by the end of 2027.

Global mobile data traffic from 2017 to 2022 (in exabytes per month) (Source – Statistica)

In fact, 82% of all internet traffic was from online videos in 2021!

It’s obvious that people are streaming videos on their mobiles and Smart TV devices. You should take advantage of this trend to gain viewers. This is the #1 reason why you should launch OTT apps. 

Make more money 

OTT has simplified Video Monetization in so many ways. 

You have multiple Video Monetization options – subscriptions, transactions, and advertisements

OTT revenue from all three models is booming.

Subscription revenue (SVOD) is expected to grow from $25 billion in 2017 to $69 billion in 2023. Advertising revenue (AVOD) is expected to grow from $20 billion to $47 billion during the same period. While TVOD services (Transactional video on demand) or pay-per-view revenue is expected to reach $46 billion in 2020. 

Ad marketers too are drifting from traditional entertainment platforms to OTT platforms to capitalize on better ad targeting.

You don’t have to choose one model over the other for your OTT streaming service. You can go with a hybrid Video Monetization model – a combination of SVOD, TVOD, and AVOD. Provide your non-premium videos free of cost and charge your viewers for watching premium content. 

Lower cost 

It’s far cheaper to launch your OTT service than launching a cable/ satellite TV channel. 

With OTT, you don’t need to pay uplinking and downlinking charges, carriage fees, content delivery fees, distribution fees, and more. You save hundreds of thousands of dollars every month!

There are only 2 types of costs if you use an OTT SaaS platform like Ventuno: : 

  • Fixed cost – platform fee (paid monthly/ yearly)
  • Variable cost – streaming, storage, encoding, API calls, depending on consumption.

Direct relation with viewers

With OTT, there is no middleman between you and your viewers. 

Viewers can directly watch your content on their OTT devices without subscribing to cable or DTH services. This gives you full control over distribution – you can reach viewers all over the world!

Another benefit of OTT is that you receive payments directly from your viewers. No need to wait for a middleman to pay you. Just integrate your preferred payment gateway to get paid.  

You already have the email and phone numbers of your users. You can now reach them directly. Want to inform them of new releases or any discounts? Just send an email or SMS!

Suggested read: Why are broadcasters are moving to OTT ( and why you should too)


You have 3 options for developing your OTT apps:

  1. Building it in-house 
  2. Outsourcing it 
  3. Using a SaaS OTT platform (recommended) 

Option #1: Building it in-house

The first option is to hire developers and build the OTT apps yourself. 

This option is suitable only for those who have serious resources, money, and expertise in app development.

Why? Because building an OTT app is not as straightforward as building any other app. There are a lot of features of an OTT service that makes it complicated. 

To launch a fully functional OTT service, you need to think and plan for the following things: 

  • Hiring mobile developers who build and maintain 9+ different apps (across web, mobile, and TV) 
  • video CMS to upload and organize videos 
  • storage and CDN to store and stream videos 
  • encoder to encode videos in different formats
  • integrating payment gateways to collect payments 
  • ad-server to run advertisements 
  • dashboard to view analytics 
  • servers to scale when traffic spikes 

and more.

Most content producers neither have the money nor the expertise in hiring and managing developers. 

If you have decided to build the apps in-house, we recommend hiring for the following roles: 

  • Backend developer – 2 or 3
  • Front end developer – 1
  • Product manager – 1
  • Android developer – 2
  • iOS developer – 2 
  • Smart TV developers (across 6 platforms) – 5 to 6
  • DevOps engineer – 1 
  • Designer – 1
  • Testers – 2  

Don’t forget that you will still need developers and testers for maintenance after the launch. You will be constantly adding new features, resolving bugs, and updating the apps on the stores. 

Option #2: Outsourcing it 

The second option is to outsource the development of your Video on Demand (VOD) app. 

There are so many app development companies out there. In fact, there are a few companies that specialize in OTT app development. 

These companies build OTT apps from scratch for each of their clients. They charge a one-time development fee for each project. 

After the apps are developed, they will share the source code with you and move on to the next project. You are now responsible for the maintenance! 

What does maintaining an OTT app mean? You need to have a team of web & mobile app developers and testers who will be fixing bugs, adding new features, and updating the apps on a regular basis. 

We do not recommend this option as you would still need to hire a team for maintenance and updating the apps. Most content producers don’t have the money or knowledge to maintain OTT apps. You are better off with a No-coding OTT platform that can be managed without developers. 

Option #3:  Using a SaaS OTT platform (recommended) 

Building OTT apps in-house takes serious time and money. At the same time, you will still need to have a development team to maintain the apps if you go with option #2. 

You can overcome both these challenges with option #3. All you need to do is find a SaaS OTT provider who has all the features you are looking for, provides great support, and is reasonable with their pricing.

In a nutshell, choosing a SaaS OTT platform is the most  affordable and time-efficient way to get your hands on an OTT app.

Benefits of using a SaaS OTT platform like Ventuno: 

  • Launch your apps quickly
  • Fully white-labeled
  • Zero upfront costs – just pay a reasonable monthly fee
  • No need to hire developers
  • No maintenance overheads
  • Cancel anytime 

This way, you can focus on what you are great at – creating awesome content!

Ventuno handles all the above things for you. You get a readymade platform that can be used to launch, manage, and monetize your OTT service – without any coding! 

We have compared the 3 options below:


In-house development 


SaaS OTT (like Ventuno)

Development Cost 

Very high 



Maintenance Cost 

Very high 

Very high 


Launch time 

6-12 months 

3-4 months 

1-2 months 

Resources needed 

Developers, testers, Product managers

Developers and testers

1 non-technical person who manages the backend

Suggested read: –  In-house development vs using a SaaS OTT platform 


There are three types of costs involved: 

  • Development costs 
  • Maintenance costs
  • Variable costs – CDN, encoding, servers, etc 

The cost for all the 3 options are different: 

In-house development

Development cost – Very costly. You would need at least $100,000 in salaries for web & mobile app developers, product managers, QA’s. 

You would also need to invest serious money in developing or integrating the technology that will power your OTT service (video platform, player, ad server, CDN, servers, payment gateway).  

Maintenance cost – Very costly. You will need to have at least 5 web and mobile app developers and testers for maintenance. 

Outsourcing it 

Development cost – Costly. The vendor will charge a one-time development fee. The fee can range from anywhere between $15000 to $100,000

Maintenance cost – Very costly. You will need to have 5+ developers and testers for maintaining and updating the apps. 

Using a SaaS OTT platform 

Development cost – Low. Usually, SaaS platforms don’t charge a setup fee for launching your OTT apps. 

Instead of a huge one-time fee, you will be paying a reasonable platform fee every month. The platform fee can range from anywhere between $500/ month to $5000/ month, depending on your requirements. 

Maintenance cost – Low. You don’t need a separate team of developers to maintain the apps after the launch. SaaS platforms will provide a dashboard where you can manage your entire OTT operations – right from uploading, encoding, organizing, video monetization, and analyzing your users, content, and monetization. 

Again, there are no separate fees for maintenance. Maintenance is covered in the platform fee that you pay every month. Check out Ventuno’s pricing to get a better understanding. You get an end-to-end OTT SaaS solution to manage your OTT business.

Variable costs

In all the 3 options above, there is also a third type of cost – Variable costs. 

Variable costs are the costs that depend on usage. Typically, these are the variable costs for an OTT service: 

Bandwidth: You will be using a CDN to stream your videos. The CDN vendor will charge you for the amount of data streamed by all your users. The most common CDNs for streaming videos are Amazon and Akamai. Check out Amazon CloudFront’s pricing here

Storage: You will be storing the videos in cloud storage such as Amazon S3. They will charge you for the amount of data that is stored on their servers. Check out Amazon S3’s pricing here

Servers: These are the servers on top of which you will be building the platform. Make sure to use auto-scalable servers that scale automatically when the usage spikes.  

Encoding: Your video needs to be converted to multiple bitrates to support adaptive bitrate streaming. The process of converting the video from one format to another is called encoding. You will be charged for the amount of data that is encoded. 


Sometimes, it might become confusing to decide which apps to launch first

After all, there are so many different platforms where you can build native apps. 




Apple TV

Android TV

Amazon Fire TV

Samsung TV



The best option? Launch all these apps simultaneously! Different people consume videos on different devices. Some prefer Apple over Android. Some use Chromecast while some have Amazon Fire Stick. The best way to reach out to all the potential viewers is to launch all these apps. 

However, if you don’t want to go all-in, we suggest launching any 2 apps that are used by your viewer the most. 


Are your viewers mostly in the US? You can start with iOS and Roku as these are the two most commonly used platforms in the US.

Are your viewers mostly in India? You can start with Android and Android TV. 

Are you a fitness creator? Start with a website and mobile apps. Most viewers consume fitness videos on the laptop and phones. 

There are so many other factors to decide the answer to this question. It depends on a lot of factors such as the location of your viewers, the category of your videos, your budget, your content quality, and more. 

Check out our detailed article on this topic: Which video streaming app should you launch first?


Assuming you have decided against in-house OTT app development, the next step is to find a vendor to develop the apps.

Between outsourcing the development and using a SaaS platform, we suggest going ahead with a SaaS platform as they are inexpensive and easy to maintain. 

Moreover,  it also gives you the same advantages as if you were building the app from the scratch. 

Finding a SaaS OTT provider is not easy. You need to make sure the platform is easy to use, has all the features you are looking for, and is within your budget.

We have created a checklist for you to find the perfect OTT provider: 

  • Do they provide an all-in-one platform? Or do you need to use 2-3 separate platforms? 
  • Are they able to launch all possible apps (web, mobile, TV)?
  • How long does it take to launch the apps? 
  • How easy it is to use it? Do you need mobile app developers for maintaining it? 
  • Can it handle millions of users? 
  • How good is their support? 
  • What’s their pricing? Any hidden charges? 
  • Do they accept custom feature requests? 

This checklist is not exhaustive. You can add more questions based on your unique requirements and use them to compare different OTT vendors. 

Reach out to our team if you are planning to launch your OTT apps. You will get an all-in-one platform for managing your entire OTT operations – right from uploading, organizing, monetizing, and analyzing videos. 

Suggested read: The ultimate guide to SVOD in 2020


The OTT streaming industry is growing rapidly. Global OTT revenue is expected to reach $159 Billion by 2024, more than doubling in a mere 6 years. COVID 19 has further accelerated growth. 

This is the perfect time to launch your OTT apps, attract users, and monetize them with ads, subscriptions, and transactions. 

Reach out to us for developing your OTT apps. Our SaaS OTT platform has all the features needed to launch a fully-functional OTT service – video platform, player, servers, CDN, ad-server, payment gateway, and analytics.

What are your thoughts on this article? reach out to us at if you would like to discuss! 

Looking to launch your own streaming service?