There are so many video streaming websites that it can be a daunting task to figure out which ones to use.
On the free side, you have Youtube, Bitchute, Vimeo, and a host of other platforms.
You can pay for subscriptions as an upsell on many free sites, or you can choose a service that’s entirely behind a paywall. Netflix is perhaps the most popular video streaming service, and for good reason. Their library contains many blockbuster movies, as well as lots of niche content and indie films that are often hard to find. But, is there space for another player to enter this space and compete successfully?
How to Launch a Video Streaming Website
Start by Choosing Your Video Genre
It would be extremely difficult, and costly to capture market share from Youtube or Netflix if you try to have a collection that’s as broad as theirs. When people think of free videos, Youtube is top of mind. If they think of movies, it’s Netflix. Sometimes, the way to win is by not playing the game. Or rather, by playing a different game. Enter niche marketing.
Instead of trying to promote a broad range of videos, find a niche that you can specialize in. Maybe you want to promote business education videos. Or, maybe you want to have a subscription service for indie films about hipsters in Brooklyn. Whatever your niche, think small, and you have a shot at making it big.
On-Demand Video vs. Live Streaming
On-demand video is prerecorded, where live streaming happens in real-time. Generally, on-demand video requires far fewer resources than live streaming. So, when you consider your Minimum Viable Product (MVP), think about whether you really need live streaming, or if you can get by with on-demand video streaming. Then again, if you have the budget for live streaming, then it could give you a point of differentiation from your competitors.
Website Front End
When you create your streaming website, you should think about the content on your homepage and other areas of your website. Your homepage is often the first place people land when they come to your website. SO make sure it highlights your top content and the benefits of signing up for your service. Also, make sure you make it easy to register for an account. People don’t always commit to paying for subscriptions right away, so offer some free options and capture their contact information. It’s also not a bad idea to enable social media logins through Facebook, Google, and other services. Also make sure that it’s easy to sign up for a paid subscription, including multiple payment options.
Also consider the functionality of your website. How easy is it to search for a video? Do you have good filters on your website for different genres, clip lengths, and other attributes? This may require putting in the work to tag every video with searchable information, but it’s worth it. Part of what draws people back to websites is the user experience, so give them a good one.
Video Streaming Tech Stack
Now that you’ve got a feel for the front end of your website, it’s time to think about the underlying architecture. For starters, you’re going to need a fast, dedicated server. Start by reading dedicated server reviews to understand the pros and cons of different setups. You can think of video streaming in three tiers. The server stores chunks of content that can be picked up for distribution. The distribution component then takes those chunks of data and delivers them to individual users. Then, each user has client software that puts those chunks of data back together in a stream of video. Each of these three tiers requires as much power and reliability as your budget will allow.
Keep in mind, there are a number of video streaming protocols to consider. Some of them are designed for streaming, and some aren’t. You’ll need to make sure you’ve got the right ones in place.
Video content, user accounts, and your data need to be protected from hackers and unauthorized users. Some of the things you can consider include monitoring, token security, domain restriction, and of course, SSL. There are other security measures you can take too, including low-tech approaches like watermarking your videos. Make sure your web developers fully understand network security or bring on an expert.
Keep Doing Your Research
This guide will get you started, but it’s only the beginning. Make sure you read up on all aspects of building your video streaming website. It’s a big investment of time and money, so take your time and do it right. If you do a good job on all of the technical requirements, then you can just focus on marketing and content.