We are blessed to leave in “The Golden Era” of what would have been called “television” just a decade ago.
Seems like Netflix changed the way we perceive entertainment. The company that started as a DVD rental service with a rather modest collection of 925 discs turned to video streaming media giant with 148M paid members streaming on more than 500 million devices.
With its’ current paid subscription business strategy, the company manages to generate more than $4.5 billion of revenue in the quarter of the year (as of the Q1 2019) and lots of envy from the competitors (real and potential).
The company claims it keeps to the same strategy over the course of its 20-year-history: “When we please our members they watch more and we grow more”.
Should Netflix be Concerned about Competition?
This story seems to be a complete success, and not a single video streaming service of the competitors is close enough to reach Netflix’s greatness.
Yes, there are Amazon Video, Hulu, HBO Now, Youtube Prime and NBCUniversal with Disney+ are up-and-coming. But it is Netflix that has the biggest popularity, shows the highest numbers and seems to find it’s the way in slang even (“Hulu and Hang” sounds like a weak parody to “Netflix and Chill”).
As for now, Netflix is not really worried about the competitors. Morris Mark, CEO of Mark Asset Management and Netflix Investor said on Disney+ arrival to the market:
“I can’t think of a family that has anybody under the age of 18 that wouldn’t seriously consider subscribing to it”.
Suntrust tech analyst Matthew Thornton agrees here.
“We do not view Disney+ as a strong alternative to Netflix. Bottom-line, Disney+ features family content, while Netflix offers a much broader range of content with the majority of the most-searched content on the platform”.
However, Apple TV might be a whole another story. It is dangerous to underestimate Apple’s new beginnings, you know.
Just have a look at this interview of Steve Ballmer making a fool at himself while ridiculing an iPhone before the device first went on the market. Apple employees laughed at it at the moment it aired. We can have a smirk right now.
What’s It Going To Be from Apple?
Apple holds its Special Events annually. Usually, they include the presentation of new iPhones (and we got ourselves a treat with plenty of memes on iPhone 11), iPad, MacBook, Watches and other products.
This year the event from Cupertino took place on September, 10 and was streamed via YouTube for the first time and got 1.8 million viewers simultaneously during the peak minutes.
The thing we were interested in respect to this article was obviously Apple TV+ streaming subscription service.
The release of the service is scheduled on November, 1. Starting that day, anyone who can access the Apple TV app on their devices (Android phones won’t have the app, obviously), will be able to subscribe for $4.99/month. Those who would purchase certain Apple devices (iPhone, iPad, Mac, and Apple TV) will receive one year of Apple TV+ for free.
The feedback from Reddit is positive on the pricing. The service will be commercial-free (like Netflix) but won’t follow its patterns at releasing the seasons all at one day for binge-watching.
it is hard to make any predictions of how on-demand video streaming market will look like in a couple of years. But what we can do right now (as a custom software development company with proper expertise and experience) is to have a look at how certain features of live-streaming apps are designed in their software.
Basic Features a Netflix-like App Must Have to Be Relevant
Okay, you may ask why we are narrowing the scope down to mobile applications. Cisco predicts that by 2020, over 75% of global mobile data traffic will be video content, and it seems like video streaming apps are responsible for the big chunk of that percentage.
We’ve already mentioned that Apple TV Plus will only operate on iOS devices, so if you own, let’s say, Samsung mobile phone, you won’t be able to enjoy the content. At the same time, Samsung Smart TV set will definitely enable you to do just that.
Netflix has their very own tech blog where they describe realization of certain features.
The registration screen opens up the list of basic functionalities. The industry standard includes authorization via e-mail or a social network, “remember password” option and follows up. By the way, Netflix notifies users that they “hate paperwork too” – a nice psychological trick that makes billing process as simple as it gets.
Meanwhile, Netflix offers 30-days free trial to all the newcomers. Apple offers a much shorter trial of one week, and we have already mentioned that a year-long subscription after the buying a device is pretty nice feature.
Then the streaming apps have personal profile where a user can set an avatar, update payment information, change the password and do some general customization of their interface.
Push notifications play a big role in guiding users to absorbing content (and reminding of the service to those who are browsing their phone in search of the activities for the night.
Inbuild feedback forms are necessary as well – whether it is a star-rated system (that used to be on Netflix before the horrendous Leather Special of Amy Schumer), or just thumbs up/down system.
Certainly, there should be onboarding screens and high-class content browsing system. Netflix Roulette is what the app of the same name uses: judging on the list of criteria the service offers you options for the show.
By the way, geolocation is an absolute must for figuring out the user preferences.
Watchlist and systems of tracking of the status of user’s current content (seen, watching, in plans for watching later) are also among the basic features.
Netflix lacks the function of leaving comments or an opportunity to share with your peers. However, sometimes it seems reasonable to execute them.
Nothing of the above mentioned would have been relevant if not for video codecs that enable compressing (and decompressing of the digital data).
Also, the right balance between the quality of a video stream and absence of freezes and lags should be created with just the proper bandwidth. if anything goes wrong, customers will be deeply dissatisfied.
These are an absolute minimum of functions that were required for the Netflix-like success of a video streaming app. They all have to be executed properly for high-quality product to be dominating at the market.
Once again, Netflix covers the way they execute certain aspects of the functioning of the app in their tech blog. Some insights may be found there.
Instead of the Conclusion
If you are interested in the way media giants operate on their apps not just from the curiosity but also trying to find a business opportunity (perhaps, get your company a video streaming app), feel free to contact us to receive a free quote.
Also, keep in mind that streaming applications may be used not just by the enterprises. We are able to develop a live video streaming application for surveillance system companies for instance.
Also, some streaming platform like alternative to Twitch could be developed by Elinext if you have an idea on which segment of the market you might be interested in conquering.
Applications are plenty. Much more than there are on-demand video streaming apps on the market.
P.S. Isn’t it a wonderful video content world out there? Gigantic corporations are fighting for quality of their series and movies just to satisfy our viewers taste and take the share of the market. The only viable question is not to go to the dark side and become a pirate as there are so many streaming companies.
The convenience of modern mobile apps is making most of us chose the right path, staying away from the “dark side” of torrents and stealing the content from the owners.