OTT Apps: White Label or Build Your Own?

(Image credit: Setplex)

If you are considering launching an OTT application with a Netflix-like experience, there are a myriad of factors to consider for it to be successful. From an operational perspective, content costs, marketing spend to gain/retain your audience, and other administrative expenses are just a few of the components to think about.

From a technology perspective, is it better to build your own OTT application, or consider a third-party platform?

This article will discuss how to deploy your own streaming application like Netflix, and whether it makes sense to utilize a white-label OTT solution. 

What is an OTT App?
Netflix, Amazon Prime, Hulu, and Apple TV+ are some of the most popular OTT applications. With consumers demanding better, personalized content that’s readily available for lower costs, media companies quickly worked to create OTT platforms as a vehicle to deliver content. An OTT application allows brands to reach out to their audiences directly without having to include TV providers. 

Steps to Creating an OTT App
Budget is a critical component when looking to create your own platform. OTT applications can be classified according to the type of content they provide and their monetization models. There are two types of OTT monetization, the first is called advertising-based video on demand (AVOD) and it consists of services such as YouTube or Facebook Watch allow consumers to watch their content free of charge. The second type of OTT monetization is called subscription video on demand or SVOD. SVOD services include Netflix or Hulu that generate revenue from monthly or yearly subscription payments.

Whether you are creating an AVOD or SVOD OTT application, content is always king. Be sure to identify your target audience and deliver high-quality content. The larger the audience the larger the profit. Your content will drive engagement to your OTT platform, reduce churn, and ultimately serve as the deciding factor for a consumer to choose your platform over the competition.

An exceptional user experience is also important. A simple user interface for consumers to navigate through to find the content they are looking for across the devices is key. Every OTT application should feature an easy-to-use search functionality to allow users to find the show or movie they are looking for.

It is imperative to estimate all your costs before going live with your OTT application. Content can be expensive and so can licensing fees. You also need to make sure you have enough compelling content to ensure your consumers are coming back for more. You also need to set aside a budget to spend on advertising and marketing to get your audience to view the content. Lastly, you have to ensure you have the dollars necessary to launch and operate the platform itself. 

Should You Build it Yourself?
Now, that you have the steps in play to create your very own OTT application, are you going to build it yourself or use a white label solution? Building your own OTT platform from the ground up can be very difficult. You need to decide if you are going to hire designers and developers or keep the OTT application development in-house. Another key decision is whether you will choose to partner with other media companies to help deliver the content. There will be plenty of time spent building a comprehensive OTT platform to ensure it is being properly developed and maintained. 

Content delivery is typically the largest ongoing operational cost. By utilizing a third-party service, you will save your organization a significant amount of money. If you are just starting out and approach a content delivery network (CDN) company, you will pay the highest rates until you bring enough volume. CDN fees are typically the most expensive cost for OTT operators.

The market for OTT platforms is saturated. Leveraging a white label OTT application that provides the software and hardware is a simpler and cost-effective alternative to building an OTT platform from scratch. With a white label solution, everything is taken care of for you. 

You have the ability to customize the platform with your logo, color scheme, and all the features and functionalities that you are looking for. Updates are also free, and analytics are built into the platform to provide insight into what is working on your OTT platform and what’s not and needs to be changed or tweaked.

No Headache, More Money
Organizations are always looking for ways to enhance offerings and generate more revenue. Building an OTT platform from the beginning can be costly and time-consuming even with a great deal of expertise. Although you can build an OTT platform yourself, utilizing a white label solution is the much simpler, less expensive, and more comprehensive way to deliver a successful platform to your audience.

Marc Mulgrum
Senior Vice President of Sales and Marketing, Setplex

Marc Mulgrum is Senior Vice President of Sales and Marketing, Setplex  and has over 20 years of experience selling streaming video solutions. At Setplex, Marc runs OTT/IPTV global sales solutions teams across Asia, Europe, India, LATAM, and North America including sales, sales engineering, marketing, and customer success.