How to Start a Streaming Service Like Netflix (in 8 Steps)
Tired of being underpaid for your content?
Do you want to earn more money with your videos?
if you answered yes to both questions, then you have come to the right place.
We created an extensive guide on how to start a video streaming service. We’ll walk you through everything you need to build a successful video business.
In this guide we will talk about:
- The 8 steps to launching your own streaming video service.
- Why the Netflix streaming service is so successful.
let’s go in full…
how to start a video streaming service (8 steps)
video has become the center of how we consume content.
In fact, the streaming video market is currently valued at $85 billion and that number is expected to grow more than 10% each year from now until 2025.
so if you create video content that…
…then you are well positioned to enter this lucrative business by starting your own streaming video service.
We’ve already helped video creators reach a total of $100 million in revenue! and we’d also love to help you build a successful freelance video business.
Based on our experience in the video industry, we found that following these 8 steps is the most effective way to get your video streaming platform up and running. let’s get into them…
step 1: choose your niche
The first step in creating your own video streaming service is determining exactly what kind of videos you want to sell. as uscreen founder pj always says:
Your content niche is a specific topic or industry you create for. it’s a central “theme” that creates a clear sense of what your videos are about and sets the expectations of your audience.
You are probably already creating content in a certain niche.
but it’s also worth finding out what your premium niche will be. that is, you will need to establish what makes your paid platform different from your free content.
Luckily, the possibilities are endless when it comes to video content.
We have seen content creators in a wide range of niches such as:
- health and fitness.
- online learning.
- yoga and lifestyle.
- faith and spirituality .
- arts and crafts.
- content for kids.
To find that premium content creation “sweet spot”, you’ll need to think about where these 3 elements intersect:
- experience: what you are good at.
- passion: what matters to you.
- demand: what your audience wants to know more about.
Where all 3 meet is where you’ll find the most viable options for your paid content niche.
The more niche your topic can create, the more people will find people who want or need your content.
For example, take your scrapbook, it’s a successful streaming video service that teaches people how to create handmade albums and folios.
Your video business sits at the intersection of 2 different niches: arts and crafts and online learning.
This combination allows them to create their own space for video content. now, they can reach a specific and targeted audience, which makes it much easier to create and sell videos online.
Their scrapbook started on youtube, which allowed them to gauge demand for their type of content.
gained a healthy following of people who:
- likes DIY projects.
- wants to learn a new creative skill.
- such as scrapbooks/journals.
- want to use what they create.
So, they decided to put their popular content behind a paywall on their own streaming platform and were able to increase their revenue 10x!
If you want to learn more about how to choose your video content niche, check out the following guide:
step 2: know your target audience
Once you’ve found your premium niche, you need to be clear about who your audience is and what they want.
Who tunes in to your current content and would be willing to pay for a premium service around you? And what would you like to see on that platform?
You can start to better understand the needs of your target audience by answering these questions:
- What common themes does your audience share? (age group, interest, lifestyle, etc.)
- what your audience wants from watching your videos (i.e. entertainment, education, fitness, etc.)
- What can you bring to your niche that your audience wants and no one else is providing? this should be your unique selling point, it is what sets you apart from other content creators in the same space.
The answers you get will help you get an initial understanding of who you’re producing content for and what they need/want.
Going back to your scrapbook example (ybm) we can answer these questions as follows:
- My audience is creative and shares an interest in making things.
- My audience wants to learn how to make DIY projects that allow them to organize their memories/images and present them in a fun way.
- I can teach my audience to create albums, sheets and boxes, in a fun way with easy-to-find materials.
With that in mind, ybm creates online tutorials for the different ways people can organize and present their memories. they even categorize their content by tutorial layout. (more on that in step 5).
ybm also makes sure their tutorials are entertaining and easy to follow to maximize their audience’s engagement:
ybm knows that their audience wants to learn a new and creative skill that they can take advantage of. Now:It’s worth mentioning that you can also monetize your existing content that is published on other platforms. in fact, people are happy to pay for content they can get for free.
but you do need to create something original and unique that will attract your target audience to your platform and convince them to become paying subscribers. For more information on how to identify your target audience, check out this step-by-step guide on how to do it here.
step 3: choose a video monetization platform
Now, you need to choose where you will host and sell your videos.
find a place that allows you to upload, share and monetize your videos. We strongly recommend that you choose a provider that specializes in video websites and applications.
While generic website builders are great, you’ll still need to add a lot of add-ons like a content delivery network (cdn), firewall, payment gateway, and more to build a complete video business.
An easier option is to opt for an all-in-one platform that specializes in hosting and selling videos.
uscreen is a great example of this:
We have an impressive technology stack with everything you need to start, launch and grow your video business. With us, you can:
- create your own video website.
- upload and organize your videos with ease.
- distribute your content with ott tv and mobile apps.
- Monetize your content with the business model of your choice. (more on that in step 4).
- Accept credit card payments online with a built-in payment gateway (such as with uscreen, stripe and/or paypal payments).
- Market your video with built-in marketing and retention tools.
- Use live streaming to connect with audiences in real time, on any device.
- Track growth and subscriber churn.
- have access to end-user support.
< Own your audience with detailed marketing and sales analytics.
These features support the technology side of your online video journey, allowing you to focus on video quality.
We are currently the number one platform in the industry and our clients earn an average of over $12,000 per month!
We also know that uscreen isn’t the right choice for every video business, so take the time to shop around and find the right vod platform for you.
step 4: choose your pricing strategy
With your platform ready, it’s time to start thinking about how you want to monetize and sell your videos.
We recommend you choose one of these 3 monetization strategies:
- svod: subscription video on demand.
- tvod: transactional video on demand.
- hybrid: a mixture of svod and tvod.
Let’s take a look at each of them.
1. subscription video on demand business model
the svod monetization model gives subscribers full access to a video library in exchange for an annual or monthly recurring fee.
This business model is popular due to its convenient nature for both video marketers and consumers.
people pay for content they can get for free because it is:
- convenient: people are happy to pay for a one stop shop where they know they will find the content they love, instead of fighting through hundreds of pieces of content in their news feeds .
- family friendly: subscription services have become the new normal. research shows that 59% of consumers had an online subscription service and 46% of consumers are subscribed to a streaming video service.
- perceived as more valuable: Research suggests that people who pay for a service frequently in smaller amounts are more likely to commit to it in the future.
- Support your favorite communities: People love supporting their favorite creators and will contribute significant amounts of money to help them continue to create.
- No Ads: People want a smooth experience watching their favorite content, which means they want it ad-free.
In fact, industry reports show that viewers spend 65% of their time at home watching svod services. And that includes more than just the big entertainment platforms like Netflix and Disney+.
Business-wise, video marketers can reap the rewards of a subscription business model through:
- be able to predict your income stream and have a better understanding of the financial health of the business and where to reinvest income.
- less intimidating pricing for customers because they can charge a lower upfront cost more often.
- sustainable business model with longer customer lifetime value.
- build stronger relationships with customers and create a loyal community.
- focus on customer retention, which builds a loyal and profitable fan base and lowers the cost of customer acquisition.
- obtain valuable information from its regular users to improve the product or service. this will improve your user experience and the strategic business moves you make.
You can read about some of our successful subscription video clients in uscreen’s featured articles below:
- how tedxcambridge created a digital-first experience with uscreen
- how unicorns.live created an inclusive global streaming community
- how body harmonics became a powerhouse of pilates online
2. transactional video on demand business model
the tvod business model uses a pay-per-view format. that is, customers make a one-time purchase to access specific content.
These companies can make more money up front by charging a slightly higher fee per purchase. tvod can be effective if it offers one time transactions with a time limit or for live broadcasts.
for example, you can buy or rent movies on amazon prime video:
If you use the tvod model, you need to make sure that the number of purchases stays high enough to make a consistent profit. this means that you will have to keep convincing people to buy from you.
but, you can have your cake and eat it too…
3. hybrid business model: svod + tvod
Offering both subscriptions and individual transactions gives you even more earning potential.
You will be able to serve both your long-term and short-term clients!
In fact, many uscreen clients, like your memoir, use this hybrid model in their video streaming business:
Even better, unique customers can get a lot of value from these individual products, bringing them one step closer to subscription.
step 5: organize your content catalog
Your content catalog is your opportunity to showcase your video content to potential customers and give them a preview of what your platform will look and feel like.
A well-organized content catalog makes it easy to engage with your audience, leading to more business, a better user experience, and higher retention.
there are 4 things you need to do to optimize your vod catalog and create a great user experience that will help you keep existing customers and attract new ones:
- create intriguing titles and descriptions: these should be catchy and informative, your viewer should know what to expect before watching your video.
- add catchiness Visuals: You can use thumbnails and trailers. Attractive thumbnails increase click-through rate and trailers can encourage potential customers to subscribe or purchase your content.
- Enable convenient features: Your content should be accessible for people to consume when and how they want; you can offer subtitles and make your videos downloadable for offline viewing.
- Group your video content: Categorize your videos by relevant topics and have custom filters that help your viewers easily find the type of content they want.
how to organize our content catalog is a bit beyond the scope of this article, but you can check out our full guide on how to optimize your content catalog below:
step 6: customize your site
Now it’s time to customize your video website!
The video monetization platform you have chosen should give you the option to customize your own website and add your branding.
If you use uscreen, we have several customization options for you to choose from.
Our most popular tool is our built-in, customizable page builder, which lets you create stunning home pages, website pages, or stand-alone marketing pages.
You can choose any of our 19 main themes…
…and then edit the specific elements, like adding images, titles, text, and branding, to create a page that lets your brand and products shine:
Best of all, you can do this without any coding knowledge! (but you also have the option to edit things with html if you want to further customize your page).
One of the key things to remember here is brand consistency throughout your online presence. you need to consider the…
… that you are using on other platforms like social media or youtube and make sure everything matches well.
this will help your customers know they are in the right place.
For example, going back to our example of your scrapbook, you can see that they maintain consistency between the marketing platforms and the video website.
This subliminally assures the website visitor that they are in the right place and that they are visiting the website of a brand that they have already interacted with and trust.
You can learn more about creating your own video website with uscreen in our help center guides right here.
step 7: set up marketing tools
Once your site is up and running, it’s time to set up automated marketing tools that will help you reach more people and make more money.
We recommend that you set up these 3 marketing tools before launch.
- email list: a tool that allows you to collect email addresses of potential customers (ie mailchimp).
- upsell Subscription Manager: A tool that allows you to offer point-of-purchase upsells on your subscriptions to customers.
- abandoned cart: tool that automatically contacts people who abandon the sales process before finalizing their purchase.
That way, you can start building a solid foundation for long-term marketing of your business, as well as recoup any “lost” potential revenue from hesitant customers.
In the uscreen dashboard, you can access a complete set of marketing tools to help you launch, grow and retain customers. These tools also help you:
- view detailed analytics.
- create coupons.
- offer gift cards.
- reduce abandonment.
and if you have your own preferred tools, like email marketing software, you can use our api and integrations to create a personalized experience.
If you want to learn more about uscreen’s video marketing tools, check out this video:
Step 8: Expand your offering with Video streaming applications
a big part of the future of online video is ott apps. That’s because they allow users to view their favorite content natively on any device.
We found that 65% of video streaming happens on TV and mobile apps.
better yet, ott apps can increase your audience and revenue up to 30%!
You can hire a developer to launch your apps, but since it’s a full app development project, it usually takes 3-6 months and can cost $10k-$20k depending on the features you need.
That’s a lot of time and money!
Alternatively, if you are looking for a…
- Inexpensive option.
- Technically hands-off solution.
- Dedicated team to support and maintain your app (for free) after launch.
- an ott platform out of the box
…then you can lease an app from an ott service provider, like uscreen.
We already have an impressive technological suite that includes:
- video hosting bandwidth
- marketing tools
- live streaming
- push notifications on all devices </li
- subtitle function and video download
this means you get more than just an app… you get a full ott platform where your viewers can stream content on their smart tvs, mobile apps (for both ios and android operating systems) and tablets.
and, for the duration of your ott lease, you will have the full support of our team who will help you with the backend of your platform and regularly update your app to make sure it works optimally.
Creators can easily launch a wide range of OTT apps, as part of a bundle, such as Roku, Amazon Fire TV, Apple TV, Apple Watch Fitness, iOS, Android, and more.
If you’re looking for more ott services that launched with uscreen, check out this colorful list of video platforms, from 4 different industries, that successfully launched their ott platforms with us.
case study: what makes netflix video streaming website successful?
netflix has one of the most successful subscription video streaming services in the world. they are currently worth nearly $200 billion and have more than 200 million paid subscribers.
With its subscription business model, Netflix disrupted the entertainment industry and created a whole new experience for people to consume content.
netflix made its way into our daily lives, I mean, was it “netflix and chill” or “binge watching” anything before them?
They even paved the way for other streaming giants like…
- disney +
- amazon prime video
- hbo max
…to create your own video streaming services.
but what made netflix so successful? To begin with, they followed the steps above!
let’s break it down:
- they chose a content niche, hollywood and independent entertainment. they then expanded it once their customer base grew by investing in original content like TV series, stand-up specials and docuseries, giving their streaming platform an edge.
- Netflix researches their target audience extensively, so much so that they even know what their users’ snacking habits are! the company may collect valuable data about its users to narrow down its user profiles and improve its algorithm.
- put their content behind a paywall and launched a video streaming platform.
- netflix fully embraces the subscription business model which allowed them to earn recurring income, scale their business, improve their product, and build a group of loyal customers.
- your content is well organized, people can find content based on its genre and type. Netflix also enables convenient features like offline viewing and subtitles.
- the netflix site is unique, the dark scale background, red logo and sound animation let users know they are in the right place.
- netflix personalizes the user experience, suggesting relevant content for its users and sending welcome emails to new subscribers.
- launched streaming apps, which made their service highly accessible on all devices, to anyone with an internet connection.
now any streaming video service that wants to stay relevant has an app like netflix, produces original content and offers a subscription.
Congratulations on completing this guide!
By now, you should have everything you need to launch your own streaming service.
be patient. find your niche. build a community. And in no time, you’ll have a profitable streaming video website you’ll love running.