Streaming Apps Developer since 2012

How much does it cost to build a video streaming platform?

Choosing among a pay-as-you-go, subscription-based, or custom video streaming platform – what are the alternatives?

Video Streaming

Depending on your requirements and the urgency of your project, a video streaming service platform could cost between 5 K and over 500 K euro. This article will discuss several financial models for utilizing streaming, ranging from simple subscription-based services to developing custom OTT platforms:

  1. Subscription-based or pay-as-you-go streaming service
  2. Subscription-based streaming service handled by a software development expert
  3. Hiring a video streaming solutions development team
  4. White label licensing model
  5. Developing a custom video streaming platform

Video streaming is not a geeky whim anymore but an everyday reality. It has become a standard in marketing and content distribution in recent years. For example, many large content providers, such as Disney, consider streaming platforms as a primary means for reaching their audiences. Moreover, in mid-2020, less than a year after the launch, Disney+ achieved 60 million subscribers worldwide, hitting the low mark of their 4-year goal of 60-90 million global subscriptions. Disney’s case is just one of the many streaming platforms’ success stories that come to prove the rapid growth of Over-the-Top (OTT) video distribution.

The positive trend in streaming content delivery caused the faster development of multiple OTT platforms. Some of them are offering proprietary streaming solutions, while others are providing subscription-based services. These services made streaming even more widespread by catering streaming platforms to content owners with limited resources.

Subscription-based or pay-as-you-go streaming service

pay-as-you-go video streaming A quick “top streaming platforms” Google search will show you many articles listing various platforms providing video streaming services. These platforms differ by the set of features they offer, the pricing models, the ease of scalability, and the customization facility. At first glance, this is the cheapest and fastest time-to-market (TTM) option. And it is. Sometimes in the rush of time, it provides a remedy to the streaming needs. As demands increase and the need for customization, flexible scaling, and additional features appear, you will realize that this option is neither faster nor cheaper. However, if you’d like to try video streaming and have some time for experiments, this could be an excellent way to go, especially when using the pay-as-you-go option.

It is hard to estimate such streaming services because there are multiple pricing variations offered by numerous platforms. Besides, in most cases, the pricing for additional development services is not very transparent. Depending on data, traffic, storage, number of viewers, third-party services, etc. the price tag varies.

Video Streaming Lifecycle

Download Bianor’s white paper to learn more about the five most crucial components of video streaming lifecycle.

Subscription-based streaming service handled by a software development expert

video streaming set upIf your dedication to providing streaming to your audience is robust and your decision is unambiguous, you might want to reach out to a streaming development expert. Software as a service (SaaS) option is the best time- and money-saving approach and brings a hassle-free setting of the optimum video streaming platform. This option provides consultation for choosing the most appropriate streaming platform for your needs, a complete set-up, customization (according to the platform’s possibilities), and additional support and development if needed.

In most cases, the streaming service expert has a list of trusted partnering OTT platforms but does not limit itself only to this. Based on your needs and requirements, the expert will do additional research and offer you several streaming platforms. Once you make up your mind, the streaming expert will implement the full integration and setup for you, which will take approximately two weeks. After the initial arrangement, the expert will be at your disposal if you need engineering assistance, development, and implementation of new features. For example, such a task could be integrating a recommendation engine that very often is not included in the basic feature set but is highly appreciated by the end-users.

An example of a feature set included in this option is:

  • Set-top + Mobile App Templates;
  • Live Streaming;
  • Full Content Management System (CMS) feature set;
  • Subscription Video-on-Demand (SVOD) & Transactional Video-on-Demand (TVOD) / (Pay-per-View);
  • Advertising Support;
  • API Access;
  • Storage Fees;
  • A set number of Stream Hours/mo (live or VOD);
  • A set number of Hours Transcoding/mo;
  • Linear Playout (VOD to linear).

The overall benefit you get from hiring a streaming expert is the consultation and development and the reduced subscription fees paid to the streaming service provider. The total cost for such a streaming solution depends on several variables, and the approximate range is pretty wide. However, we could still frame it between $5K and $10K monthly.

Hiring a video streaming solutions development team

video streaming development teamAnother, more advanced option, which is more relevant to larger content providers with technical expertise and, in some cases, already available OTT platforms, is hiring a professional team. Building and sustaining a dedicated software development unit extends the in-house engineering capacity. It brings the flexibility of team size scaling, optimized TTM, and reduced operations risk. Utilizing an experienced streaming solutions developer’s knowledge and resource adds wider expertise and brings valuable consultancy and guidance for an OTT platform’s future development.

A streaming solutions expert has broader experience developing, implementing, and supporting various features in multiple streaming solutions. This fact facilitates the TTM for launching new features and improves efficiency.

The development experts are hired to complete a specific task in the so-called Time & Material (T&M) projects. In other cases, the OTT platform owner can hire a dedicated development team with a long-term commitment. This unit practically operates as a remote crew under the client’s supervision. One way or another, the client benefits from the proficiency of highly-skilled developers with in-depth competence in video streaming solutions, OTT platform development, and their real-life applications. Depending on the technology stack, seniority, and time frame of the engagement, usually, the average per man-day price for an experienced software developer specialized in this field is about $440.

White label licensing model

video streaming white label White-label licensing is most appropriate when you know a vendor with an already existing OTT platform whose features, functionalities, and market scope are similar to yours. White labeling is a relevantly cheaper and faster TTM solution than developing a custom OTT platform from scratch.

The license provider can implement customization, additional development, and the initial set-up in three months. This period is more extended than the second subscription-based streaming service model but is way faster than developing a custom streaming platform. The white-label model provides greater flexibility and functionality compared to the second one. Another advantage is that, practically, you are the platform owner and are in control of the content storage and user management. This model is the optimum choice for those looking for increased security. An additional benefit of this model is the continued support and update of new features.

The costs for a white-label OTT platform vary according to the included features and required customizations. The initial charge starts from $100K, plus payments to third parties for storage and CDN infrastructure. An annual License Maintenance Fee appears after the first year, which could be in the range of $40K+.

Developing a custom video streaming platform

video streaming projectBuilding a custom video streaming platform is usually the big players’ choice, such as telecoms and media companies (check out a case study about developing a custom streaming platform for a large media broadcasting operator). These are customers that have vast libraries of content and enormous numbers of potential viewers. They need complete control over the OTT platform and require the utmost security. Their streaming platform should bring superior user experience and functionality that makes them stand out.

An example feature pack of a custom-made streaming platform includes, but is not limited to:

  • Account management;
  • Create an account;
  • Add and Manage Premium Subscriptions;
  • Related Content;
  • Filters;
  • Associated metadata;
  • Change/Recover Password;
  • iFrame;
  • Login / Registration flows;
  • Purchasing flow;
  • Platform metrics;
  • Payments;
  • Articles;
  • Playback;
  • On-Demand Asset Page;
  • Live Event Asset Page;
  • Lists;
  • Search & Search Box;
  • Account;
  • Notices;
  • Multi-Language;
  • Navigation;
  • Watch Later List;
  • Sharing;
  • Continue watching;
  • Social Plugins;
  • Platforms – Android, iOS, Web, AndroidTV, Chromecast, etc.;
  • Platform Criteria;
  • Platform session limits;
  • Player – Analytics, Overlays, Supported Codecs, Multi Audio, DRM, Timeshift, Thumbnail preview;
  • Floating Video Player;
  • OTT Headend – Live streams, Live2VOD, VOD;
  • Global CDN;
  • Reporting.

The prices for a similar streaming solution range from ~$800K ~$1,5M depending on the features.


The streaming solutions market is continuously growing while the increased competition urges players to become more flexible and offer faster, more efficient functionalities. This process brings benefits to the content providers and the end-users alike, offering them various alternatives. Depending on their resources and plans for development, content owners can choose from several different financial models and technical solutions. When you find yourself dived in with such a multitude of offerings, it makes the best sense to consult with a video streaming expert to guide you to the best solution.

Which option would be optimal for your video streaming project? Call us to discuss it!

Video Streaming Lifecycle

Download Bianor’s white paper to learn more about the five most crucial components of video streaming lifecycle.