How To Build An App Like Netflix?—Streaming Service Development 101

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App Like Netflix

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Let’s start with a little trip down memory lane, when everything started in 2007, when Netflix, an unheard-of DVD-by-mail service, took video streaming technology and hit the jackpot. And nowadays it nor a surprise that it’s a leader in the niche with 223M users worldwide.

Netflix has attracted a huge audience with its original content by allowing users to both stream and download movies and shows. And it even made it into a new English vocabulary with the “Netflix &  chill” phenomenon 😉.   

Utilize cross platform development and create a streaming app, just like Netflix. Read on to learn how!

Why is Netflix so popular?

It’s hard to say in a few words what makes Netflix so popular among users. It might be a huge selection of movies and TV shows available at any moment, thousands of high-quality original programs, or an easy-to-navigate interface of the video streaming service. Frankly, the list can go on and on, but let’s take a closer look at Netflix from the business perspective.

Netflix Business model

According to statistics from FourWeekMBA, Netflix had 230 million paid subscribers in 2022, an increase from nearly 222 million paid subscribers in 2021. Netflix’s business model is not simply about how to generate revenue. It also involves embracing your audience and creating an organizational ecosystem that can support future growth.

The streaming service is subscription-based, which allows the company to be scalable and expand its market internationally.

Value Proposition

The value proposition of Netflix includes 4 key elements: 

  1. Accessibility. Netflix can be used on any device without losing quality. Having full accessibility Netflix maximizes its user base.
  2. Original Netflix content. Netflix has exclusive programs and offers some Netflix shows, that can’t be accessed on other streaming services
  3. No ads. Premium subscription provides an ad-free experience, while ads are shown only to free accounts. Ads can get annoying, which is a great motivation for the company to pay for premiums.
  4. Unique recommendation algorithm. The streaming service has thousands of shows and movies and the unique algorithm of recommendations gathers suitable content for a particular user. 

 If you want to create your own Netflix app, then go to our article about how much it costs to develop your own product!

How does Netflix earn money?

The main source of revenue is subscriptions. In the US people can choose from 3 membership plans:

  1. Basic—$9.99/mo—It allows watching movies and T.V. shows on one device screen at a time.
  2. Standard—$15.49/mo—The same as Basic but with 2 screens playing at the same time.
  3. Premium—$19.99/mo—Allows watching 4K videos on 4 screens simultaneously viewing. 

And as for the TA, Netflix has 3 main business segments:

  • Domestic streaming
  • International streaming 
  • Domestic DVD

How to create an app like Netflix?

Now, that you know why Netflix is popular and how it makes money let’s take a look at the steps on how to utilize mobile app development to create an app like Netflix. To make the process easier, we created a full step-by-step guide.

Steps you need to build a streaming service

As a mobile app development company we can say that developing a streaming service is significantly different from other types of app development. Here are all the main steps you need to take to create your own streaming service like Netflix.

Step 1. Pick Your Niche

If you’re building a streaming platform, the first thing to consider is what kind of content you want to offer. Of course, you could stream entertainment shows, popular TV series, stand-ups, and documentaries. 

But why not think outside the box? With unique content and specific functionality for your platform, you can find your audience and stand out from competitors. 

Here are 3 niches that are in trend right now:

  • Fitness/Wellness. After the lockdowns, the trend for online workouts and meditations is still going strong.
  • Studying. The E-learning market is growing like a rapid-fire and streaming different courses and educational videos can be a massive hit.
  • Documentaries. Netflix has different docu-series, but why not harness the popularity of documentaries and build a streaming platform that specializes solely in them?

Step 2. Analyze your TA

The streaming market is getting more and more competitive, with new streaming players joining the fray as often as every month. Unfortunately, a lot of them fail by the time you hear their name. So, it’s very important to:

  • Analyze the market
  • Find your top 5 competitors
  • Research their businesses
  • FInd their pain points
  • Think about ways to fill the gaps

Step 3. Understand Your Content

Content is king. And if you want to create a successful streaming video service, you need to have content that matches your customers’ interests. 

Generally, there are two types of content you can use to that end: 

  • licensed content
  • self-created content

Both of them are represented on Netflix, but for your video streaming app you can pick the content that suits your creative idea the most.

Step 4. Select Your Monetization Way

Important part of turning a creative project into a business is finding the right monetization model. How does Netflix make money? Here are the options to choose from:

Subscription Model

You can provide on-demand access to your videos by charging users a monthly or annual fee. This option brings you a stable revenue, but it can also create security issues, as people will provide their banking info to pay for the membership.

Pros Cons
  • Revenue stability
  • Security issues
  • High brand loyalty
  • Problematic backlinks, as paywall keeps people from referencing your content

Ads Model

A common way of monetization that is quite self-explanatory—ads are played during video streaming.

Pros Cons
  • Users get free content
  • Dependance on ad partners
  • High user-trafic
  • Extensive ads to scare off some users
  • Long-term revenues

Pay-Per-View Model

And the last but not least model to consider for your Netflix-like app is pay-per-view. It allows you to charge your users for the particular videos they watch. 

Pros Cons
  • High traffic
  • No long-term user commitment
  • Substantial profit, but not stable
  • PPV requires good marketing

Step 5. Review Requirements of the Streaming Platform

To build mobile app or platform for streaming, you need to comply with a number of requirements. Here is a list of things to consider:

Cloud Hosting & Computing Architecture

All of the content you plan to stream should be stored somewhere safe. From our experience in mobile development cross-platform, we recommend using cloud hosting, as it provides flexibility and cost-effectiveness.

Network Connectivity

When developing a streaming app like Netflix think ahead, and plan how you are going to scale up. Consider incorporating a content delivery network, which will stream videos via a server network.


Working with licensed content and private information of users, you need to ensure the security of your Netflix-like app. Here are a few points to consider:

  • Set domain restrictions
  • Set geographical restrictions 
  • Ensure that the network background keeps content available in the case of failure of the server.

Payment Gateways

Here the rule of the more the merrier applies. It’s a good idea to provide your users with different payment options to make the payment easy and secure.

Step 6. Build An MVP

Before you pour your resource into a full-fledged website like Netflix Hulu Disney, you should develop the product’s MVP to get real user feedback at a fraction of the price. And later on, add new features to the user experience.

Let’s explore must-haves and not for a service like Netflix:

Must-have Nice-to-have
  • Sign-up/login
  • Recommendations
  • Basic profile
  • Comments
  • Search
  • Complex search
  • Payments
  • Fav lists
  • Video player
  • Dark/light mode
  • Rating
  • Show/movie details page
  • Admin panel
  • Push notifications

Tech stack for Netflix-like service

Let’s see what’s behind streaming mobile app development services. Note that we’ve listed the approximate tech stack. If you need more detailed help with choosing the right technologies for your business—book a free consultation with an OmiSoft expert.

Service Mobile Web TV
Netflix, Hulu, Disney+
  • Kotlin (Android)
  • Swift (iOS)
  • C#
  • NodeJS
  • C# (LG TV)
  • React  (LG TV, Samsung TV)
  • Node.JS (Samsung TV)

Also, it’s not a secret that many companies use third-party services to boost the development process and get a smoothly-working MVP version. We collected the top-used for you.

Content type Best tech for it
  • AWS
Live streaming
  • Web RTC +

As you can see, there is a large tech stack that can be used to build an app like Netflix, and developers at OmiSoft have the experience and specifically skilled developers to cover your needs.

Cost of Making an App Like Netflix

To make a website like Netflix or a mobile app, you need time and resources. However, the cost of the final product will depend on which features you want to add. You can see below the approximate total development cost:

Cost of MVP version:

Time Up to 1,500 hours
Cost Around $70K
What’s included? 1 server & 2 mobile apps

Cost of full streaming app development:

Time Up to 3,000 hours
Cost Around $140K
What’s included? 1 server & 2 mobile apps

Final word

We hope you’ve found this guide useful! If you’re ready to launch a streaming platform like Netflix, then look no further than OmiSoft. Write to us, we are waiting for you!

Just contact us and book a free consultation with our cross-platform mobile development expert.

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