OTT App Development: A Comprehensive Guide to Market, Features, and Cost

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Ashlin Jose

Brand Communication & UX Writer

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OTT App Development:

Over-the-top (OTT) app development is becoming increasingly popular as more people consume media and entertainment through digital channels. OTT apps have disrupted traditional cable and satellite TV services, allowing users to access the content at their convenience and on a variety of devices. 

In this guide, we will explore what OTT services are, why you should invest in OTT app development, the different types of OTT apps, must-have features to include in your OTT app, the step-by-step process of OTT app development, how OTT platforms make money, and how much it costs to develop an OTT app.

What are OTT services?

OTT services refer to content and communication services that are delivered over the internet. These services are provided by companies that are not traditional media or telecommunication companies. OTT services have become increasingly popular due to their convenience and accessibility. Some popular examples of OTT services include Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Prime, YouTube TV, and Disney+.

Why should you invest in OTT app development?

Investing in OTT app development is a smart decision for businesses that want to reach a wider audience and offer their content and services on multiple devices. With the growing trend of cord-cutting, traditional TV services are losing market share to OTT services. According to a report by eMarketer, the number of OTT users in the US is expected to reach 197.7 million by 2023. This represents a huge market opportunity for businesses that want to capitalize on this trend.

What are the merits of OTT apps?

The OTT platforms are revolutionizing businesses and brands by offering various advantages that cannot be matched by traditional TV and other mediums. OTT apps offer several advantages over traditional TV services. 
Let’s discuss some of the significant advantages of OTT apps.
Branding across multiple platforms: One of the major benefits of OTT applications is their ability to offer consistent branding for businesses across various platforms. By using OTT software, brands can maintain a uniform appearance and user experience across all devices, ensuring their message and branding remain consistent regardless of the medium. This uniformity in branding plays a vital role in establishing brand recognition and loyalty, thereby strengthening the connection with the target audience.
Control over advertising placement and frequency: With OTT development, brands have full authority over their advertising placement and frequency. They can specifically choose the location and time for their ads to appear, ensuring that their target audience is reached effectively.
Moreover, brands have the freedom to regulate the frequency of ads, thereby preventing over-exposure and ensuring that users are not overwhelmed with too many ads.
Brand loyalty and increased user engagement: The top OTT apps are those that facilitate better user engagement and foster brand loyalty. These apps achieve this by delivering personalized content recommendations and content that is tailored to the user’s preferences, which ensures that users remain invested in the platform.
To further enhance brand loyalty, a reputable app development firm can provide social media integration, polls, and other interactive features, all of which can help build stronger relationships between brands and users.
Actionable insights for content refinement and performance measurement
Over-the-top (OTT) applications offer valuable insights for brands to measure their performance and improve their content. By analyzing user data, brands can determine which content is resonating with users and which content needs improvement. This allows brands to refine their content and make it more compelling to their target audience.
In addition, brands can track important metrics such as user engagement, retention, and conversion rates, which provide valuable data to make informed decisions and optimize their performance. By utilizing data-driven insights, brands can improve their overall user experience and achieve their business objectives.
Seamless user experience with content transmission: A company that specializes in developing OTT platforms can provide users with seamless content streaming. These platforms can adjust the video quality to match the user’s network speed, ensuring a smooth viewing experience regardless of their internet connection.
In addition, many of the most popular OTT apps also allow users to download content for offline viewing, enabling them to watch their favorite shows and movies at their convenience.
Multiple monetization models: An OTT (over-the-top) development company provides several monetization options for brands to choose from. These options include subscription-based, transaction-based, ad-based models, or a combination of these models. This flexibility enables brands to generate income while offering valuable content to their audience. Additionally, they can create a single app to house all their OTT platforms and provide video content in one location.

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What are the different types of OTT apps?

There are several types of OTT apps that you can develop, depending on your business needs and goals. Some of the most common types of OTT apps include:

Video-on-demand (VOD) apps: VOD apps are the most popular type of OTT app. These apps allow users to watch movies and TV shows on-demand. These apps provide users with the flexibility to watch their favorite content anytime, anywhere. Examples of VOD apps include Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon Prime Video.

Live streaming apps: Live streaming apps are another popular type of OTT app. These apps allow users to watch live events, such as sports games and concerts, in real-time. They are popular among sports fans who want to watch live games on their mobile devices. Examples of live-streaming apps include ESPN and DAZN. 

Catch-up TV apps: Catch-up TV apps allow users to watch previously aired TV shows and episodes on demand. These apps provide users with the ability to catch up on missed episodes and stay up-to-date with their favorite shows. Examples of catch-up TV apps include BBC iPlayer and ITV Hub.

Hybrid apps: Hybrid apps are a combination of VOD and live streaming apps. These apps provide users with the flexibility to watch both on-demand content and live events. Hybrid apps are popular among users who want the best of both worlds. Examples of hybrid apps include Sling TV and PlayStation Vue. 

Must-have features to include in OTT app development

To make your OTT app successful, you need to include certain features that will enhance the user experience and keep them engaged. Some of the must-have features to include in your OTT app development are:

User-friendly interface: Your app should have an intuitive and easy-to-use interface that allows users to navigate through the app and find the content they want to watch quickly.

Personalization: Personalized recommendations based on user viewing history and preferences are a must-have feature in OTT apps. This feature helps users discover new content and keeps them engaged with the app.

Multi-device support: Your app should be available on a variety of devices, including smartphones, tablets, smart TVs, and streaming devices.

Offline viewing: Offline viewing is a popular feature that allows users to download content and watch it later, even when they are not connected to the internet.

Search functionality: A robust search function is essential to help users find the content they are looking for quickly and easily.

Social sharing: Social sharing features allow users to share their favorite content with friends and family on social media platforms.

Subtitles and closed captioning: Subtitles and closed captioning are essential for users who are hearing impaired or who want to watch content in a language other than their own.

Payment gateway integration: Payment gateway integration is essential for apps that offer premium content or subscription-based models.

Step-by-step process of OTT app development

The process of developing an OTT app can be broken down into the following steps:
Ideation and planning: In this phase, you define the scope and goals of your app, research your target audience, and identify your competition.
UX/UI design: This phase involves designing the user interface and user experience of the app, including wireframing, prototyping, and creating a visual design.
Development: In this phase, the actual development of the app takes place. This involves coding, testing, and integration with third-party services.
Content management: In this phase, you will create and manage the content that will be available on your app, including acquiring and licensing content.
Quality assurance: This phase involves testing the app for bugs, errors, and other issues and ensuring that it is ready for launch.
Launch and marketing: In this final phase, you will launch your app on app stores and market it to your target audience through various channels, such as social media, email marketing, and advertising.

How do OTT platforms make money with monetization models?

OTT platforms make money through various monetization models, including:

Subscription-based model: One of the most common monetization models used by OTT platforms is the subscription-based model. In this model, users are required to pay a monthly or annual fee to access premium content. This type of model is used by popular OTT platforms such as Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon Prime Video. The subscription-based model is beneficial for both the platform and the user as it provides a steady stream of revenue and a wide range of content for the user.

Ad-based model: Another popular monetization model is the ad-based model. This model involves showing ads to users while they watch content. Ad revenue is generated based on the number of impressions and clicks. This type of model is commonly used by platforms such as YouTube and Hulu. Although this model provides free access to content, it can be frustrating for users who are constantly interrupted by ads.

Pay-per-view model: The pay-per-view model is another way that OTT platforms make money. This model allows users to pay for individual movies or TV shows they want to watch. This model is typically used for new or exclusive content that is not available through other subscription-based models. This model is used by platforms such as Apple TV and Google Play.

Freemium model: This model offers a basic version of the app for free but charges for premium features or content. This type of model is commonly used by gaming apps and can also be used by OTT platforms such as Spotify.

How much does OTT app development cost?

The cost of developing an OTT app can vary depending on several factors, such as the complexity of the app, the number of features, and the platform you choose to develop for. A basic OTT app can cost anywhere from $20,000 to $50,000, while a more complex app can cost upwards of $200,000 or more. It’s important to work with an experienced OTT app development company to get an accurate estimate of the cost of your app.


In conclusion, OTT app development is a smart investment for businesses that want to reach a wider audience and offer their content and services on multiple devices. If you’re interested in implementing or custom developing an OTT app solution for your business, please contact us to learn more about how we can help.

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F. A. Q.

Do you have additional questions?

OTT services refer to streaming media services that are delivered directly to viewers over the internet, bypassing traditional distribution channels such as cable TV. Investing in OTT app development can help businesses reach a wider audience and offer their content and services on multiple devices.

Must-have features for an OTT app include personalized recommendations, easy navigation, offline viewing, social sharing, subtitles and closed captioning, payment gateway integration, and more.

The step-by-step process of OTT app development involves ideation and planning, UX/UI design, development, content management, quality assurance, and launch and marketing.

OTT platforms make money through various monetization models, such as subscription-based models, ad-based models, pay-per-view models, and freemium models. Ad revenue is generated based on the number of impressions and clicks, while subscription and pay-per-view models require users to pay to access premium content.

The cost of OTT app development can vary depending on factors such as the complexity of the app, the number of features, and the platform you choose to develop for. It's important to work with an experienced OTT app development company to get an accurate estimate of the cost of your app.

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