YouTube, the biggest community of independent video producers, filmmakers, and production studios. The platform has given a whole generation of decisive means to earn exposure, fan-following, and make decent money via YouTube Monetization. Let’s not forget the delegated brand sponsorships that come along with broadened followership and audience penetrations.
YouTube is home to a lot of genres- films, short films, documentaries, animations, gameplay, parodies, podcasts, tutorials, sketches, and live streams. You can find almost every kind of video on YouTube.
All thanks go to the talented video creators, who have popularized the term “independent production studios” in the market. These independent entities on YouTube have given an array of outstanding free content to the community.
Sometimes we laugh, sometimes we cry, sometimes we learn, and sometimes it totally cringes. Whatever be the content, let’s be honest- we have enjoyed YouTube for everything it has offered to us.
Here is the big question-
Can YouTube-Money support a professional production studio?
Have you seen the originals on Netflix, Amazon Prime, or Hulu? Do you think, YouTube-based production houses can deliver something of that stature?
Of course yes! They can deliver a lot more than that. There is no shortage of skilled and talented teams of content creators on YouTube. In fact, some of them have already given magnificent professional content. Content like Vox-borders, RWBY, and Vice- C for Crime etc. are perfect examples of the community’s abilities to produce professional level shows.
Can YouTube level the expenses made while producing professional content?
YouTube can be a difficult place to monetize content. Whether you are an individual creator or an independent production house, leveling up for the production cost itself is quite challenging. Ad revenue is not enough, brand-sponsorships won’t remain forever, and YouTube-based donations are not stable. Eventually, every production unit needs steady financial support to keep up the show. It’s a profession, you need an assurance you make good money out of it.
Consequently, skilled YouTube creators and independent production studios, with a will to support their production costs and team overheads are moving beyond YouTube by hosting their own content.
For that, they are relying on modes like-
–Building their own video streaming platforms,
-Integrating their own monetization models,
-Using crowdfunding for donations and support, and
-Collaborating with premium video streaming services.
What’s the actual scene on YouTube for creators?
With limited resources and earning, most of the independent YouTube-based production studios hinge on inspired content from third-party franchises. It includes parodies of popular mainstream shows & music videos, sketches based on trending pop-culture, animations pulled out of video games or cartoon shows, and a lot of other inspired content that can be managed with limited expenditure.
With this, parallel execution of original improvisations and skills also take place in the form of scripts, voice dubbing, direction, editing, music, and social media marketing.
But, this does not mean independent production teams can go any further with it. While some of them have been able to pull it off through third-party financial support, most of them could not even make it to the next phase –the phase where they can produce original content. The inspired content on YouTube probes inefficient to develop a stable business model that can support survival.
What’s the next phase after YouTube?
YouTube creators, despite using derived content, also showcase their honing skills capable of being recognized as the original cinematic creators in the long run. That’s why they don’t stay there for the lifelong.
With the advancement in technology and growing competition in the equipment market, it has become so easier to create, edit, and publish video content.
To create, they have got affordable equipment-cameras, mics, lights, etc.
To edit, they have got affordable professional editing software and computers.
To share, they have got affordable software solutions to create video hosting platforms.
Perhaps, the next boom in the software industry would come through these creators, who are the potential clients for video streaming software solutions providers. Possibly, this is where software development companies should scan for their future clients, and this is where Netflix, Amazon Prime, and Hulu would get their next original shows.
Success stories – Case studies | those who moved beyond YouTube
These case studies are not just the success stories, but also the inspirations for making a way out of hideous hurdles you face as an independent production unit. Each case is a unique example of matchless setbacks that can literary destroy your will power. However, the heroes of our studies not only pulled off the obstacles but also evolved to capitalize on them.
1. Rooster Teeth–Fame to Business
Rooster Teeth is one of the oldest YouTube channels. They started it in 2006, a year after YouTube’s launch. It quickly rose to fame with its show–Red vs Blue. The show derived in the comedy genre from Halo games, made a great impact with its video game animation.
Soon Rooster Teeth became a well-known channel and attracted viewers worldwide. Today, it has over 9.6 million YouTube subscribers on the main channel, 11 other channels, and accumulated over 5.7 billion total views.
According to the social blade, their average monthly earnings through YouTube monetization ranges from $5.5K – $88.1K.
Do you think this figure is enough to support a professional level video production?
Of course not! It’s not even close to level up the production cost, profits and earning are far to be considered. They have a huge team to feed and a massive setup to manage.
That’s why Rooster Teeth choose not to stay just a YouTube channel. Today, they are a full-fledged production studio based in Austin, Texas, Los Angeles, and CA. They have their own website –RoosterTeeth.com, which works on Subscription (SVOD) and Ad-based revenue generation model. The ad led streaming from free while SVOD for ad-free streaming.
With a combined Total of over 16 million subscribers on YouTube, they capitalized on their followership. They post videos on both YouTube and their own website. With over 507 videos, their show Red vs Blue has now a dedicated YouTube Channel, which is broadcasting its 16th season. The same can also be found on their own website too.
Another best show from their trunk is “RWBY, -an award-winning anime show. The success of the show led them to release the DVDs in the UK, Australia, and Japan, besides it is already available on YouTube and their website. Now guess the extent of its popularity by the fact that cosplay icon Jessica Nigri featured as one of the voice actors.
Rooster Teeth is a fabulous example of how independent production studios can make it to the mainstream by thinking beyond the horizon. YouTube is undoubtedly the source of their success as it gave them popularity and fellowship. However, they could not have made it to the large-scale production if it was just for the YouTube earnings. Now, at least they don’t have to worry if YouTube someday changes their algorithm and demonetizes certain content because they have their own website and some decently paid subscriptions over there.
Even if you are doing extremely well on a third-party site like YouTube, as a production company, you should not limit yourself to their terms and conditions. YouTube is a great platform to earn fame, but you need to direct that fame to somewhere you capitalize on, and build a stable business model out of it. This is what Rooster Teeth did.
2. TeamFourStar –Copyrights to Self-sufficiency
TeamFourStar came to the fame in 2008 with its parody show Dragonball Z abridged, which they derived from the iconic anime Dragonball Z. Since then, have grown into a family of over 3.3 million YouTube subscribers. Till now they have uploaded over 60 episodes of the show. It derives the episodes both from the anime shows and over 10 Dragonball Z movies.
The viewership goes in millions for the particular show. Besides that, they now also upload the abridged version of many other anime and games.
The bottom line is –TeamFourStar is not the only one to produce an abridged version of the anime, but it is one of the best creations. The production studio went beyond the traditional competitions and produced more professional content with high-quality setups. Many a time, you would find their abridged content more professional than the original version.
The biggest challenge to the team is the production cost, which is way too high than what they make of their content on YouTube. However, the trickiest and most frustrating part is YouTube community rules for copyright content.
TeamFourStar does not possess the copyrights of the Dragonball or any abridged content they make. Hence, they cannot claim on the earnings being generated on YouTube through the show. Though they have expanded their niche to video gameplay with “Let’s Play” and TFS gaming, it is still not enough to support their high-quality video productions. As a result, their main content gets copyright claims regularly, making them lose great money.
Another challenge is YouTube’s algorithm for copyrights claiming is being abused by individuals and bots. If we consider the general official copyright policies, TeamFourStar’s abridged content falls under Fair Use rules.
It states “You can use copyrighted content on YouTube for review, criticism, reporting, teaching, and research”. The same rule also states you can use the content with certain transformation and by adding new expressions such that it does not compete with the original content or affects its performance negatively. In short, your transformed content should not be presented as an alternative to the original content.
We often treat parodies and reactions as transformative with a new voice, a new appeal, and even a new story-line. An abridged content does not replace the original content. In fact, many a time we have seen original content getting more views because of a viral transformative content of the same.
The production company also makes sure that every video starts with a disclaimer that states it’s a parody based non-profit content and gives credit to the original release. However, this does not stop the original content owners (I am not pointing out any company or individual) from abusing the copyright loopholes.
Most of the big professional production houses and brands have bots who scan the copied content and they cannot really differentiate between a plagiarized and transformative content. With an aggressive automated system, they take down or de-monetize any content they find for their claims.
TeamFourStar found a solution for this frustration in setting up their own video streaming platform. As a result, now they upload their content on their own platform for actual monetization and also on YouTube for more exposure. Of course, they publish the content on YouTube after 6 days of publication of their official platform. It gives their own platform an edge and a decent way to get more subscriptions for their own SVOD platform.
Currently, they are active on all the major platforms to get more exposure and support for their productions. Beside the official site, you can find them on YouTube, Twitch, and Patreon. They are also into merchandise, which gives them considerable support from the fans. They also have other channels and sister sites where their live streams and play live games. Most of the earnings and support come through their Patreon page, which has over 2,654 patrons. The support from the platform has helped them set up their own office and work towards a building a full-fledged production studio.
Publishing on a third-party site would always expect you to abide by their rules. When rules are as harsh and non-human (bot automated) as YouTube, you cannot even expect to earn a penny from derived content. Most of the time, the Fair Use rules for transformative content seem a joke that individuals and bots can easily abuse.
I think, TeamFourStar’s decision to move beyond YouTube was a wise one. It gave them a chance to level up the production cost, make active income, introduce their merchandise, and stabilize their primary profession–video production. More importantly, it gave a direct control over their content monetization and a safeguard from flawed copyright claims from an imperfect automated system.
What’s better–Own platform, Crowd-funding, or Partnership?
No doubt, both the names in our list started with YouTube, gained exposure and then they extended beyond YouTube for active monetization. However, you cannot just always move to your own platform. There are a lot of factors that decide the fate of your venture.
What are the odds?
Take, for example, you have a successful YouTube channel with a large fan following. The nature of your content sometimes pushes it to the de-monetized part because of the copyright claims. Also, the earnings from monetized content are not enough.
In such a situation, you might feel starting your own platform would give control over your earnings and you would make great money. However, going full-time on your platform is not always a great idea. Neither would be selling the merchandise has any crucial effect.
If moving full-time was a definite solution, you would see thousands of production studio-owned streaming apps by now, but it is not so, actually. You hardly see a dozen of streaming apps. Out of which, the big ones are owned by giants like Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Prime, CW, etc, and soon Disney will launch its own service.
If you are a brand of Disney’s scale and can produce the movies and content like Alice in Wonderland, Lion King, and Beauty and Beast, go for your own platform. However, the truth is, you are not Disney. Neither it is your competition. You are an independent production unit, who wishes to produce some great content and maybe, someday become popular like Disney.
Even, Roster Teeth and TeamFourStar were not big. They started from the basic, gained the followers, looked for the perfect time, analyzed the odds, and then pushed beyond YouTube. This is exactly what you need to do. You need to capitalize on the current aspects, current market, current trends, and current opportunities.
You can host on your own platform to escape copyrights for your popular content like TeamFourStar did.
You can host on your platform to earn big by capitalizing on large followership and produce high-quality commercial content as Rooster Teeth did.
You can host on your site with a free model if you are an already established media house like Vice, which offers unique content from some unique genres.
What are the other options?
Another option would include being selected by a production network and getting featured on their well-known platforms. In the same way, AIB (All India Bakchod), an Indian production studio that got internationally recognized for its comedy sketches and satire shows. Their content “On Air with AIB” was featured on Hotstar, and then they made it to Amazon Prime with more shows.
We also saw a similar scene when RocketJump was picked up by Hulu. RocketJump’s YouTube channel is followed by over 8.5 million subscribers. They action-packed content enticed Hulu, which needed them moving beyond YouTube with a partnership model. The show on Hulu was a big hit which gave the production studio more fame and exposure among the mainstream media. They got more shows too, which included an original science fiction names Dimension 404.
It a highly competitive environment, the giants will do anything that takes to give their audience the best content. In this war, the role of originals from various small to the biggest production studios plays a significant role. If they like your content, trust me they will bid huge to buy the broadcast rights.
However, a new trend has also started. Instead of bidding huge and buying the broadcast rights, these streaming platforms are also into their own original content production. You can guess the trend by looking at a huge number of originals content on the Netflix platform (Netflix’s Stranger Things, bird box are great examples). Hulu, Amazon Prime, and HBO are also following the trend and making huge with this approach. HBO’s Game of Thrones and Amazon prime’s ‘The Man in The High Castle’ are a few of the names in the list.
My impressions on this are surprising. Streaming services in the pace of filling their platform with in-house originals are still not seeing the diversity of talent pooled on YouTube. These creators have every talent and skills to produce bests of the originals. The one thing they don’t have is the exposure and funding that streaming services and TV shows provide.
Nevertheless, it’s still on an open option, as we have seen many independent production studios making to the big platforms. Optimistically, we will see more of them in the time to come.
Does YouTube support its creators?
Besides Ad revenue, YouTube had nothing else to support the creators financially. However, with the beginning of YouTube Premium, we saw a shift. We saw great originals from mainstream production studios (e.g. Cobra Kai), which they later extended to some chosen YouTube channels too.
In the same way, YouTube Red did with PewDiePie (89 million current and 55 million then subscribers). They featured his own show “Scare PewDiePie” only on YouTube Premium, which they later ended because of some political reference. Other YouTube names that made to the premium section include Joey Graceffa(8.9m subs), MyLifeAsEva (9.6m subs) and Game Theorists(11m subs).
A further shift was made when YouTube introduced Superchats and Premium Channel Subscriptions. With Superchats, fans got the option to send paid live chats, which streamers see as highlighted and pinned in the chat screen. While the paid channel subscriptions let followers support their favorite YouTube channel by committing a recurring amount of $0.99 Per Month. These features are not available in all countries as of now. However, YouTube plans to implement it worldwide soon.
Another option that YouTube gives is setting up crowdfunding using YouTube Donations Cards. It’s like Patreon where your fans can support your channel by giving direct financial donations. Channels also use this feature to create different campaigns fundraising for a cause or charity fund.
These are indeed right moves by YouTube and give financial support to the creators for going beyond the limits and spend more to produce extraordinary content. The only catch is–YouTube takes a large cut from all these financial aids you get from your fans. Perhaps it’s okay, as you are using its platform to gain the same.
So why YouTubers need to see beyond?
Traditionally, video production is seen as a huge-scale setup with massive investments for commercial use. Usually, only the mainstream production studios can afford the products, equipment, and software required to produce commercial-scale videos.
However, today, the trend is shifting and the cost of the equipment and solutions have gone down significantly. They have become more accessible to independent creators. It was never so easy to produce a film.
Further thanks to free ad-based platforms like YouTube and Twitch, which are giving a stage to start the journey and explore the possibilities. With them, video production would have still been a luxury and forte for big labels alone.
Extended thanks to the growth in web development technologies. Today, anyone with a decent investment can build a video streaming platform of their own. You need not code one from scratch. You can buy an affordable script and setup your platform on it. Building a video streaming platform was also never this accessible.
Ultimately, creators with great skills need to move beyond the ad-supported third-party platforms and build their own business model. They need to earn more so they can produce a more and scaled level of content. Today, having a successful YouTube or Twitch channel is great if you do it for a hobby. However, it’s not enough if you are aiming to become a production house with commercially acceptable content. Eventually, you would need to extend and depend on mainstream monetization to make a living out of it. You need to feature your content on your own platform or a mainstream Network that gives you a lot of money.
Video streaming over the internet allows users to view and download video content from anywhere on the globe. Utilizing this technology, Netflix launched its videos streaming service in 2009 with video streaming for Hollywood movies and TV series. With aspects like HD video streaming, buffer-less streaming, affordable pricing, multi-user, and multi-platform support, Netflix revolutionized the way video content is consumed by the users; first in America and then everywhere on the planet.
If we consider today’s scenario of video content consumption, the audience is massive. In fact, it is large enough to accommodate Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon Prime altogether. People love watching videos. When one-third of the internet traffic is videos only, there is massive scope for new entrants in the market to claim their share of revenue from this $20,501 million industry.
Considering this trend, a large number of entrepreneurs, who see VOD as a billion dollar industry, are entering in the market with their video streaming services. Netflix being a global example of a well-planned and efficient video streaming service, entice almost every VOD entrepreneur. Our collaboration with the founder of “Netv.net”, Simone, was a result of one such enticement with the Netflix business model and its portal’s architecture.
Simone wanted to launch a video streaming service in America. On our first conversation itself, we were made clear that he wished to start a Netflix-like video streaming service. Though he did not intend to upload as many videos at the beginning, his requirements were not any less than Netflix-like scalability.
You can make a website like Netflix. In fact, it’s not tough to design an identical clone of Netflix. What that makes your video streaming service different from Netflix are your own business model and Content quality. Simone was certain about adopting an identical business model like Netflix. However, he had some unique content ideas for his own version of the same-
Original content from independent creators
Prize-winning movies from film festivals
Popular web series content
The primary focus retained the intentions to fit original films from film festivals. Numerous film festivals occur everywhere on the planet. Many of them win some prestigious awards. However, such high valued content gets lost in the crowd of massive commercial films released every week. What a waste of some high-value and revolutionary content! The founder of NeTV wanted to give a commercial platform to such content. A win-win relationship where these awesome content creators get a platform and the platform gets some high valued, unique and exclusive content for its audience.
As we started evaluating the requirements, we found the following main challenges that needed our prominent attention-
Film festival content– The platform was supposed to fit originals, which is an inherited feature from the Netflix. However, the challenge was to design a home-page and category architecture that show-cases this content as a USP to the new users landing on the website.
Global Standards– Though the client primarily aimed at acquiring the audience from America, he was also open for worldwide consumers. Hence, the challenge was to design an internationally acceptable UI and architecture.
Registration Flow– The first thing that comes in mind with a Netflix-like business is its ground-breaking registration flow architecture. With this flow, a user can access the content only after registering a user account. The user registration flow actively involves the steps in a particular order-
Select a plan
Provide details(Name, Email, Contact Number)
Verify details (Email or Contact Number)
Continue browsing as per base plan
The challenge was to tweak the Registration flow with a custom requirement, which demanded the following flow:
Register user account
Select a plan
Free Trial– In this whole customized Registration Flow, the challenge was fitting a “One-month free trial”. That too with a selected subscription plan. After selecting a plan, the user is supposed to continue with a free one month trial.
Cancel Anytime– Like Netflix, the user must be allowed to cancel the subscriptions anytime.
Subscription Plans– The platform was supposed to offer three plans: One-month free trial, Plan-1, and Plan-2.
Auto Renewal– As soon as the trial is finished, the user subscription would be automatically renewed as per the selected plan
Categories on Homepage– We were supposed to implement the categories-architectures to segregate Originals, Film-festival content, and Web-series separately.
Cross-platform support-Last but one of the biggest challenge was making the platform compatible on almost every device. NeTV users were supposed to stream the video content anywhere from the following platforms-
Coupon Management System- Like every smart online business, NeTV too wanted to offer various discounts to the users. For this, the platform was supposed to offer a coupon management system where the admin can create, deploy, and track discount coupons.
Content Moderation Dashboard- The Platform was supposed to offer a separate dashboard for content creators. Using this front-end dashboard, the content creators can upload their content, which will then be inspected by the Admin or Moderators before publishing them to the public.
Commission management system- The content creators would be paying commissions to the Admin. We were supposed to integrate both – a percentage-based commission system and an absolute amount-based commission system.
The Turnkey Solution
Netflix has done an exceptional job of anticipating the consumer needs and preparing its platform accordingly. After analyzing the requirements and post multiple communications with the client, the most suitable solution we settled on was a Netflix clone script. We selected our StreamView Netflix clone to do the job as a base script for the project.
The main reason for selecting the StreamView script was its similarity with Netflix’s architecture. Moreover, as per the client’s requirements, this script also offered the exact UI that he wished for. Just a few tweaks and UI-design would have been ready.
Requirements that were fulfilled by the base clone Script
Luckily, a majority of the requirements were seemingly being fulfilled with clone script alone. Here is a list of requirements and how Netflix Clone was able to offer the same with minimal or negligible modifications-
Business Requirements & SRS Documentation-
Based on the requirements analysis and solutions we proposed, an SRS document was prepared and shared with the client. After three iterations involving the client’s approval and modifications, we finalized the final document and started with the Implementation phase. With most of the requirements being already fulfilled with the base Netflix clone script, we moved to the customizations phase.
As the majority of requirements were fulfilled by the based script, we had to perform minimalistic customization on the following features-
Registration Flow: We tweaked the registration flow to re-arrange the process as per the requirements (as stated in the ‘Challenges’).
Subscription plans– The default script offered four plans. Using the integrated plan management controls, we allowed the client to set new plans as per his choice. Default plans were one-month free trial plan, and three other plans like Netflix. The new customized plans were one-month free trial, and two other paid plans.
User support– Default script allowed a maximum number of simultaneous logins similar to Netflix. However, we had to tweak a little to allow admin to change the logins as follows: Plan 1 with SD video support and 1-login allowed at a time. Plan 2 with HD videos support and 2-Logins allowed at a time.
Technologies utilized in the project –
The Readymade Netflix clone script was built on the following technologies.
Bootstrap – Frontend Framework
Angular JS – Frontend UI
Laravel 5.2 – Backend
MYSQL – Database
Nginx Server – Streaming engine
DigitalOcean – Server Hosting
Firebase Cloud Messaging- Push notifications
REDIS Server and Queue Concept – Dynamic video compression and Resolution conversion.
PayPal Payment Gateway –on-site transactions
BitBucket- Version Control System.
Facebook and Google Plus API- Social login
JW Player-video player
SMTP- Email delivery
GreenDao- Android ORM
AFNetworking- Library for Apple devices
Process and Approach
A team consisting of the following members was assigned to the project-
One project Manager
One SEO expert
One graphic designer
One web designer
We followed the agile model to develop the final script. Post each phase, the project was sent for review to the client as we kept posting of the progress through Trello Project Management System. The process continued in the following sequence-
Design- Finalized the design of the website.
Prototype- Prepared a prototype design using HTML and sent for review to the client.
Development – After multiple iterations, we finalized the design and continued with the development phase.
Testing- Post development, we conducted multiple testing sessions with different approaches and analyzed the software with functionality, regression, and strain testing.
Beta Phase- Post multiple iterations of testing and error handling, we exposed the beta version to a group of hundred users.
Re-development– We went through multiple iterations again to fix the issues detected in the beta phase. The project was again exposed to final testing before delivering the final version.
As per the customer requirements, the following applications were delivered to the client. All of the applications are synchronized with the WebRTC version of the project through a web service script.
Android Mobile App
iOS Mobile App
The stable versions of the website and all the applications are now live. In a very short span of launching the service, the platform was able to get some decent number of customers. The business is performing extremely well with is unique value proposition of exclusive content, affordable plans, and multi-platform support.
The service currently offers three subscription plans-
One month free trial- with no commitment required
Popular plan- with $6.99/month and maximum one user allowed
Premium Plan-with $9.99/MONTH with maximum 2 users allowed
The client speaks and as we quote-
When asked the Founder about experiences with StreamView clone and StreamHash’s team, here is what he says:
Q1 – What made you start NeTV?
I have been working in the industry as marketer analyzer for many years, and since the beginning in early 2012 I have noticed that filmmakers work hard but not always received the recognition they deserve. NeTV is behind the filmmakers allowing them to easily distribute and profit their movies soon after attending the Film Festival. Many films get lost nowhere unless continuing financing the film in the hope to find distribution without losing any rights or loyalties. With NeTV it is possible.
Q2 – What makes NeTV stand out from the crowd?
NeTV is an independent network. Our platform will broadcast only originals independent films from festivals.
Q3 – Who are NeTV customers?
All major film festivals organizations around the world will join NeTV with their movie programs, from feature movies to short movies of any genre.
Q4 – How did you find StreamHash?
We have found StreamHash through the internet as it is the best-voted company outside the US to develop such a platform like NeTV.
Q5 – What challenges were you experiencing prior to purchasing our product or service?
None that I remember.
Q6 – How were the initial conversations with StreamHash Sales team? Can you specify how easy it was to gather requirements and kick off the project?
It was very simple to request the services through their website and soon after one of their personnel connected with us via Skype.
Q7 – How was your experience with StreamHash during the development process?
Excellent, they are working hard around the clock, always available.
Entertainment can go hand in hand with education and value proposition to the real-life scenarios
We were introduced to the concept of NFaStudios as something that can fill the void between entertainment and education. According to Angelo, the founder of NFAStudios, a lot of entertainment is just about passing some time, there is nothing like a learning curve in them. He had something unique in his mind. He was looking for a solution not just enough to serve the purpose, but also to propose a value in the regular life of his viewers.
Angelo found the Netflix business model, quite competent to serve what he has been aiming for. His focus was on creating and as we quote, “an on-demand commercial-free viewing rather than live, ad-supported programming.”
The rapid change in the internet and on-demand video scenarios has propelled a need to disseminate content full of entertainment and knowledge. The traditional video channels and platforms find it difficult to accommodate the required genre of content. In particular, many big platforms have their own guidelines and policies, which refrain from contents of a certain kind and with some unique propositions.
For example, people see politics as taboo and political leaders as just some vague speakers. It is because common people do not understand politics and its importance in society. The NEWS channels present political speeches with spices and many adulterations. The common audience hardly gets the gist of what those speeches mean to them. There could be many reasons why the common audience must gain raw access to these educational speeches.
Political videos are just the highlight of what more Angelo wanted to display to his audience. He understood the advantages and power of good video content that can educate and entertain at the same time. The result was strong opinions formulating the path to do what other popular platforms are afraid of doing.
The Content Objective
It was well important to have an idea of the kind of kind content Angelo wanted to have on the platform. Knowing this was important as it helped us preparing the first draft of the prototype. Considering the business plan, we could conclude that Angelo wanted to launch a video-on-demand service that would-
Let creators do what others are afraid to do.
Give small and talented creators a platform.
Give a platform to the influential content in its raw form without any adulteration.
Extend the array to include ‘Originals’ in the latter part of the business development.
Stream educational content rather than streaming unorganized live content or sports event.
Let viewers experience the spiritual and motivational speeches from real influencers.
The business part and content curation were quite challenging for the client. However, for us, the only preliminary challenge was to fit our turnkey solution “Netflix Clone” into his business model. Luckily, the client wanted a similar platform like Netflix with the subscription model of revenue generation.
We had developed the Netflix clone -“StreamView” in response to various past queries for a Netflix-like VOD solution. No doubt, people wanted so, as Netflix is the first globally recognized VOD service with more than 103.95 million subscribers worldwide. We found our Netflix clone script best suited for the requirements. However, we were also required to do some modifications-
A fit Originals-The client wanted the ability to scale up the solution to fit “Originals” and many other types of content in the latter parts of the business development. In short, he wanted a solution fit enough to scale up the content and subscribers to count as the business grows.
Global Standards– The expected challenge was tailoring our existing script to let content creators have a platform for displaying video content and making it available for seamless, secure, anywhere-in-the-world access by the NfaStudios subscribers and content partners.
Registration Flow-The base script supported both subscription and pay-per-view model. Hence, the script did not come with the “Registration Flow’ of access to the videos. The client just wanted the subscription model and intended to allow access only after subscribing to the plans, just like Netflix.
Subscription Plans-Though the StreamView script already had the option to support multiple subscription plans, the challenge was to limit them to two plans with the client’s preferred plans. It just required some easy modifications in the existing codes.
Auto Renewal-Next challenge was to implement a Netflix like free trial and Auto-renewal logic. The aim was to let users subscribe to the free trial with a selected plan, and then auto-renew the next month’s subscription with the same plan. Like Netflix, we were also supposed to let the subscribers cancel the subscriptions anytime.
Categories on Homepage-The StreamView script, by default, supported the display of categories on the homepage. However, the displayed categories were not in harmony with the categories listed on the menu, they also had some additional categories. We had to synchronize the menu categories with the ones shown on the homepage, that too in identical order after listing the default categories above them.
Requirements: Automatically fulfilled by the default Script
In addition to the modifications and tailoring required to the existing Netflix clone script, the client also served us with many other requirements. Luckily, our existing script had most of them already. Here are a few of the fulfilled requirements for reference-
The central part of the initial multimedia strategy involved streaming video-on-demand. Coupled with Streamhash’s Netflix clone, the first strategy to scale up the platform and let subscribers across the planet access them was automatically fulfilled by the default script.
As the IT team initiated to gather business requirements, the project broadened beyond the initial impressions where we aimed to cover the entire spectrum of a VOD business with a more sophisticated user experience. The client’s intention to scale up the content in later parts and redesigning the interface to match the brand’s identity was our first priority-
Bootstrap as Frontend Framework.
Nginx Server For Streaming Video
DigitalOcean Server for Hosting.
Google Cloud Messaging.
Angular JS for Frontend UI.
REDIS Server and Queue Concept for Compressing and Converting Video Resolution.
PayPal Payment Gateway Integrated.
BitBucket for Version Control.
Facebook API Integrated.
Laravel 5.2 as Backend
MYSQL to Save Data.
SMTP to Emails.
Process and Approach
Angelo needed a powerful design and development for a streamlined user experience. Our aim with designing principles focused on –
Building and managing a huge database of subscriber profiles and video content.
Ensuring seamless interaction between subscribers, high-quality videos, and corresponding membership plans
Ensuring safer online transactions with a secure payment gateway.
Streamlining the website flow according to the Registration flow model.
Keeping the fundamentals in our sense, we advanced with the initial designing phase. The style and design preference focused on keeping the brand identity proficient, refined and trustworthy. Hence, with mutual consent, we settled on the color pallet, which was a mix of black, light blue, and white. Blue is the color of the sky. It is frequently associated with depth and stability. The color also displays the NFAStudio’s unique proposition and creative content base. Thus, after numerous trials, we finalized the pallet and implemented a clean and balanced UI matching the brand identity and contemporary design requirements.
We started with HTML as the base code and came up with a blueprint of the website. This helped us to clear the doubts, as we came across some further requirements after discussing the prototype. Finally, we ended up with our final website design after understanding the precise needs.
It is important to comprehend the ever-changing needs of a VOD platform. Hence, we assigned the project to a dedicated 8-member team-
One Project Manager
One Technical Architect
One quality Analyst
Two website developers
One website designer
One Android developer
One iOS developer
Each member was precisely briefed about the project. We focussed on stressing the fact that the client needs a flexible and scalable platform for onboarding users from across the USA and other parts of the world in the latter parts. Moreover, we also customized the registration flow to work only according to the subscription-based model (no access to the website without a subscription). Without any scope for compromise in the user experience and scalability, the development team finally came up with the actual script.
Post-development phase, the eight-membered team started testing the whole project, while they were managing the workflow through the Trello board. After each phase of the Manual, Functional, and automated testing, the project manager and Technical architect would check for the quality and enhancement possibilities. Taking the feedbacks, the development team would again work on the rectifications and transfer the task to the testing team.
After some repeated cycles on the grounds like Stream quality, integration and user experience trials, etc. we came up with the beta phase of the project.
The Beta Phase
We piloted a marketing cum live testing campaign through Native Advertising. The campaign targeted around 4500 users. The live user analytics and feedback helped us to test our project in a crucial real-life environment, different from what we tested on our systems.
We also organized a tech talk where we explained and tested the project with 40 men and women from our workspace. Based on the feedback and analytics, we further fine-tuned the functionalities and optimized the user experience.
Based on the development done on the web version of the platform, we came up with the mobile apps for both Android and iOS devices. We synchronized both the mobile apps to the web version in terms of–
Special care: While developing this multi-device VOD platform, we took special care to make sure that the following requirements are rigorously fulfilled:
A user can gain access corresponding to the subscribed plan.
The total number of simultaneous logins is limited as per the subscription plans.
This is similar to Netflix’s maximum number of allowed simultaneous logins.
It means that if a user subscribes to a plan that offers only one login at a time, he or she cannot log in on the laptop if already logged on to the mobile app.
As of today, the stable versions of the website and both the mobile apps are live. They are performing well and attracting many users. The service is currently offering the base subscription for $9.99/MONTH with a cancel anytime facility.
The Live Android and iOS Apps in Official App stores
The subscribers can access the content from anywhere: Mobile, tablet, or desktop.
The business is steadily growing its roots. With certain unique propositions like the only subscription-based video streaming platform to offer access to historical lectures by The Honourable Minister Louis Farrakhan. It is also offering some Premium Original Content related to politics. The most recent breakthrough shows such as 40 Miles, How to eat to live, and Food Nation are responsible for attracting an array of new users to the platform.
As of now, the NFA Studios has acquired more than 4000 subscribers in about three months. It offers both monthly and yearly plans, with an additional free trial period. The trial subscribers can choose to-
Continue with the selected plan after the free trial.
Change the plan while renewing the subscription.
Cancel the subscription any time, without any commitment.
As of Feb 2021, NFA Studios now has over 20k paying subscribers which roughly translates into a revenue of around $400k – $500k.
The client speaks and as we quote
When asked the Founder of NFAStudios on his experience with StreamView and StreamHash, here is what he says:
Question 1: What made you start NFAStudios?
We started NFAStudios because we felt it was a void in what we call “Edu-tainment”, or being educated and entertained at the same time. A lot of entertainment is just that, entertainment. People are being entertained but walking away with nothing that enhances them as a person. We want to entertain but also teach and help people learn, enhance themselves, their lives, those around them, and walk away better people.
Question 2: What makes NFAStudios stand out from the crowd?
NFA Studios stands out because we are doing what others are afraid of or unable to do. And that provides entertainment that not only entertains but raises the quality of life of the viewer.
Question 3: Who are NFAStudios customers?
NFA customers are people of all ages, races, and religious backgrounds, who want a different alternative from the entertainment currently provided by mass media.
Question 4: How did you find StreamHash?
We found StreamHash by googling “Netflix style website themes”. It took us several weeks of searching to find the best match for us but the best ended up being StreamHash
Question 5: What challenges were you experiencing prior to purchasing our product or service?
We experienced many challenges prior to purchasing StreamHash. Other developers we contacting said they could do the job but in reality, when we hired them, they fell short of what they promised. Or if they could develop the site we wanted there styling and design were not up to par. We experienced this with several different software development companies.
Question 6: How were the initial conversations with the StreamHash Sales team? Can you specify how easy it was to gather requirements and kick off the project?
StreamHash has an exceptional sales team! We got on the phone with them and within a day or so we were up and rolling. There sales team is very friendly and easy to work with and answered all our questions which made it very easy for us to move forward.
Question 7: How was your experience with StreamHash during the development process?
For the past few months since the soft-launch of our site, we have been working closely with the StreamHash tech team on the development of our site. The StreamHash team makes the development process very enjoyable. They are great at communication, usually responded immediately to any questions or concerns. And when matters are pressing they do not hesitate to get on a Skype call to solve the issue. Working with the StreamHash tech team on the development of our site has been AMAZING, to say the least! This is just the beginning of a great partnership; we hope to continue to work with StreamHash on this project and future projects.
Also labeled as the “African YouTube”, Ndiribho TV is one video streaming platform originating from Zimbabwe with the owner Edzai Zvobwo reminding the world that every individual living here has got the right to express.
To make their opinions heard and their experiences shared Edzai has launched a video hosting and sharing platform for Africans to get more connected to the world which the continent has never seen before.
Edzai basically had the idea of bringing the current affairs into the limelight portraying their wrongdoings by sharing various videos and interviews online.
NdiribhoTV was ideally named to signify the rights that the commons have been denied, to bring justice to the ones who have been unheard or is fighting for the improvement of the nation. The meaning of Ndiribho in African colloquial terms is “I am fine”.
The platform is a user-generated one that associates video content makers and buyers by giving a user-friendly live streaming and video on demand platform.
NdiribhoTV gives anybody with a channel a chance to broadcast live recordings and transfer them straight from their camera gadget. This enables African individuals to share or watch continuously when any news is breaking, visiting another place, or meeting individuals and sharing concerns real-time.
StreamHash is the turnkey solution which hosts NdiribhoTV. Without much of an expense, Streamhash has been the one-stop solution to Edzai’s problems. He now owns a YouTube clone where he can host, record and share videos. With the impeccable video streaming script of Streamhash and an imperative CMS the African community will probably now be able to streamline their thoughts to the world.
NdiribhoTV interfaces video content makers and buyers by giving a simple to use live streaming and video on request platform. It even gives you a chance to share live recordings and transfer them straight from your gadget.
Prominent specks of NdiribhoTV:
Broadcast live video and connect with individuals through emoticons and remarks.
Discover well known live video streams from around the globe or look for broadcasts by area or theme.
Instantly share your live sessions on Twitter and other social media.
Upload recordings from your gadget to share with the world.
To the left side of the page, you would notice options such as “live videos” and “trending”. Any live stream that has been commenced within 24 hours can be viewed if missed real-time.
The trending section broadcasts the videos which have the most number of viewers and can influence the other lot of the crowd.
Just below the trending section, there are some channels which are differentiated according to categories such as sports, entertainment, music etc. The channels which have been the most hyped actually is gifted a place in the column.
Technology behind NdiribhoTV
Since StreamHash is the platform ready to serve the NdiribhoTV with its brilliant Video CMS software, it needs to incorporate the technologies used by the StreamHash model itself.
These mind-blowing technical aspects include:
Bootstrap for the Frontend User Interface.
Videos streamed are hosted by the Nginx Server in RMTP format for Android and web however in HLS for iOS.
Digital Ocean is the hosting company.
REDIS server and queue concept are used for the compression and correction of video resolutions.
The back-end, however, is triggered by Laravel 5.2.
PHP is the technology with which the whole platform is presented.
Payment Gateway and Security
Stripe payment gatewayis incorporated keeping in mind the little aspects of monetization. PayPal is integrated as well since NdiribhoTV looks at gaining attendees from all over the world.
Pay-per-view is included to monetize live video streams as well.
With StreamHash you need to stop worrying about scaling your business. You can now accept payment globally.
How can you get your own video streaming website like NdiribohoTV?
With one-time cost video CMS giants, StreamHash will host your site and upgrade it for life. Your platform will be ready with a brilliant front-end, a communicative admin panel, excellent SEO, the most secure and robust payment gateways and a platform independent feature so that you can run in both on Android and iOS.
NdiribhoTV focuses totally on African issues. Live video streams and on-demand videos are being monetized using pay-per-view and channel-centric micro-subscriptions which meets the need of the content creators.
Create your own video streaming platform to address things that never been portrayed and to make everyone aware of your surroundings just like Edzai did.
Despite the furious hurricane of live streaming tools that has swept the digital realm over the last few years, the live video space has seen few players claim their share of the market. Most applications have risen and sunk at much the same pace and there has only been a handful of live streaming platforms that have really stood out. The narrative for live broadcasting has largely been re-written by one prime player in the recent past; one who has capitalised on the digital youth movement in a big way. Live.me, a live video streaming platform built to envelop moments throughout the day has given rise to a brand-new communication paradigm for Gen Z. Its members use the live streaming software to broadcast life on the go, a far cry from conventional social media platforms geared towards chronicling special moments and memories. Live.me is a sharing tool that thrives on the essence of community.
What is Live.me?
Live.me is a live broadcasting platform that allows users to monetize live streams. The live streaming platform works in a gift economy where followers of a live stream can buy virtual gifts for stream owners as gestures of appreciation and acknowledgment. The philosophy behind this is that virtual gifts bought with money go above and beyond generic hearts and thumbs-ups. Live.me has also installed a new differential emolument feature that enables handpicked broadcasters to sell products in live streams. In the future, this feature will be extended to a greater set of streamers. Live.me works on a bilateral gift-giving model. While viewers can gift broadcasters virtual gifts, broadcasters can in turn hand out virtual coins to select viewers. The platform’s success has been largely attributed to the fact that it is not gated. Anyone can join the community, garner followers through live streams and earn on the go. Broadcasters with large followings are generating significant revenue from the live streaming platform. While Live.me has gained prominence in the digital entertainment arena, the advent of turnkey technologies has sparked myriad creative platforms. StreamNow, a superior framework developed by Streamhash, is one such example. The technology allows entrepreneurs to set up live streams quickly and economically.
Let’s Take an Example
Live.me is one of the most interactive forms of live streaming there is. Here are a few examples of communication sequences that broadcasters may favor on the platform:
Picking a random viewer for a live interaction when views touch 1,000
Promising a virtual coin drop if likes touch 100,000 within ten minutes
Promising a favor to whoever sends the highest virtual gift domination
Committing to perform, sing or dance if a certain number of viewers capture and share a stream on social media platforms like Instagram and Facebook
What Technology Powers Live.me?
What Is Live.me’s Monetization Model?
Being just over a year old, live.me has seen exponential growth since its inception. While the live streaming platform spins a margin off virtual gifts within its economy, it is continually exploring new monetization models.
How Can I Build My Own Live.me?
Despite being a business rooted in China, Live.me’s largest market in North America, where twenty-somethings have taken a special shine to the application. This goes to show that a business model can be tailored to suit a specific geographic audience. In Live.me’s case, its makers have gone to great lengths to replicate trends from China in the American market. Regionalisation has worked wonders here. Live.me has also leaned heavily on influencer-led marketing, a trend worth emulating. Celebrities like Roman Atwood and Collins Key have become loyalists of the service, using it exclusively for all their live feeds. Live.me’s noteworthy collaboration with NerdHQ this year was spotlighted on various forums. The live streaming platform supported a fundraising campaign at Comic-Con San Diego where celebrities were interviewed backstage before or after their panels. Virtual gifts sent to celebrities were sent to Operation Smile, an organization supported annually by Nerd HQ. Live.me is a brilliant model to follow if you’re gravitating towards a career in live streaming. Work on a regionalized strategy for your brand and pick one or two key spokespersons who can reinforce your message to your audience. Influencer messaging is a valuable medium to leverage.
Live.me has come a long way since its birth in early 2016. It had become the highest grossing streaming app on the Apple App Store and the Google Play Store by September 2016, a considerable feat for such a new platform. Live.me is a robust, positive business model to draw inspiration from. To build a similar live streaming platform, pick a stand-out turnkey technology. StreamNow is our top pick. Next, scan trends in your region that you could stitch into your gift economy. Infusing your ecosystem with known, recognized facets can draw users in. With a skillful marketing strategy and a sturdy streaming service, you’re already halfway to the finish line.
Netflix is a well known American Entertainment Company. It is a leading company in the field of providing streaming and video on demand services- both online and DVD by mail. On 29th August, 1997, Netflix was founded by Reed Hastings and Marc Randolph in California. Though it started its business with DVD sales and Blu-ray rental services, it ventured into vod services in 2007. In 2017, this vod platform explored into the content-producing industry with “House of Cards” being its debut series. Since then, it has released more than 126 original movies and television series under its banner “Netflix Original”.
Netflix has emerged as the largest video on demand platform in the entertainment industry. Streaming on Netflix is available in 190 countries, which clearly shows its wide reach. As of July 2017, Netflix had a whopping subscriber base of 103.95 million worldwide, which includes 51.92 million in the United States only. As of 2016, revenue generated by Netflix is around $8.83 billion, and its net income is at $187 million.
Netflix Business Model:
The highlight of Netflix Business Model is that it categorizes its users based on psychographics and not on demographics.
Users have been segmented into 3 basic groups in terms of psychographics:
Users who are busy and don’t want to go out for movies
Users who love watching movies and rent them to watch
Users who want to save their money and want to have the best
The initial step is to purchase the commercial rights or acquire a license of the streaming content from their original production houses.
Managing and maintaining a smooth platform which can be used to broadcast the acquired content seamlessly.
Offering various kinds of attractive offers such as a free one-month subscription to lure new users to join.
Providing satisfying service to the users so that the new users convert into paid subscribers, and existing users become recurring subscribers.
Updating the platform with new and exciting content regularly so as to maintain the subscriber base.
How Netflix makes Money:
For the video on demand business, Netflix offers 3 different membership plans for the subscription which is based on streaming quality and screen count for accessing the content concurrently:
Standard Definition Plan: It allows streaming of content in standard definition quality on a single screen at a time.
High Definition Plan: It allows streaming of content in High Definition quality on two screens concurrently.
Ultra-high Definition Plan: It allows streaming of content in Ultra High Definition quality on four screens concurrently.
The subscription fee for these plans varies from country to country.
In the DVD rental services, the membership plans differ by the number of DVDs a subscriber possess during a specific time and number of discs per month. In order to enjoy streaming on high definition Blu-ray discs, in addition to the standard definition, subscribers have to pay additional amount.
Cost incurred by Netflix:
The profit generated by Netflix cannot solely be assessed by considering the membership plans. For that, various expenses incurred by Netflix have to be considered. These are explained below:
In order to achieve a legalized platform for streaming series and movies, Netflix has to invest to acquire license and content which varies for different content.
Content Acquisition Cost:
Content Acquisition is an essential component for vod business in case of Netflix. This involves procuring streaming and DVD content from distributors, studios, and other mediums, which are done through direct purchases, revenue sharing agreements, and license agreements. For delivery of streaming content, Netflix takes the help of its own content delivery network (known as Open Connect) and third party content delivery networks. For delivery of Discs in the United States, there is a network of shipping centers for delivery and returns of DVDs which are also managed by Netflix.
In 2013, Netflix started its own online library of films and television series under the brand name “Netflix Originals”. This strategy not only helped Netflix to promote its own exclusive streaming content but also helped it to evade licensing costs. However, the production cost for the Netflix Originals content requires very high expenditure.
With the emergence and acceptance of vod services, many more video streaming players have joined the bandwagon. This has increased the competition and there are major players as well as new players who are giving Netflix a tough competition, such as Hulu, Amazon Prime, Hotstar, etc. To get the edge over its competitors, Netflix has to invest a huge amount for its marketing. The marketing cost involves payments to affiliates, expense on advertisements and expense incurred on device partners. Besides that, the company has to also bear the first month expenses for every new subscriber as the first-month subscription is free for new users.
Research and Development Cost:
Research and development sector is an essential sector of any industry, and this is applicable to Netflix also. This department is responsible for determining the growth of an industry in the future. Netflix invests a high amount of money in ‘Netflix Inc. Research and Development’ department. Netflix Inc.’s research and development for the three months ended in Jun. 2017 was $267 million. Its research and development for the trailing twelve months (TTM) ended in Jun. 2017 which was $965 million.
Technology and development Cost:
Netflix has a huge subscriber base of millions and they may stream content on Netflix at the same time, which will increase the traffic on its server. So, in order to provide hassle-free and smooth streaming experience, Netflix has collaboration with many ISPs to reduce the load on its own server, by using the embedded deployments of Open Connect Appliance. The company has to bear heavy costs for the collaboration. Technology and development costs also include expenses involved in designing the application for all the latest devices or updating the application for the existing devices, streaming delivery technology costs, and other infrastructural costs.
General and Administrative Cost
These costs include payroll and other expenses for the corporate personnel. These also include professional and partnership fees related to administration of the company.
Besides the above-mentioned costs, Netflix has to bear other costs such as payment processing fees, the cost for dispatching of discs, and distribution of costs for the streaming content library, etc.
How StreamView can be used to replicate Netflix
Streamview is one of the best movie streaming softwares. With the help of Streamview, one can easily launch a Netflix-like venture. You will get Netflix clone script which will help you in starting your own video streaming site. Streamview will provide you video on demand platform which is highly scalable and can easily be customized as per your needs and requirements. You can modify the UI, add features to the mobile app, and modify its front end and do much more. Apart from this, you will get all the features you are getting from Netflix and the executives will work with you so that you can make all the changes you want in the design, development, hosting, deployment, and maintenance.
Nginx Server: Stremview will convert the HTTP format into RTMP and HLS format for your website, iOS, and Android. This will enable the user to watch the video without waiting for the buffer time. You will feel the difference yourself.
Upload Videos: You can easily upload unlimited number of videos and can use any channel to do so. Some of the channels supported are Amazon S3 Bucket, YouTube link, Website Link or Normal uploads. Steamview supports all.
Subscription: You can upload trailers for your videos. Allow users to watch them without any fee but to watch the whole video let them subscribe to your platform or let them pay for it. It is the best way to earn.
Pay Per View: Some users might not be willing to pay for the whole month as they are surfing other channels as well. So, with Streamview, you can allow them to pay one time for the video. Use the Pay per view feature of Streamview, which you won’t get anywhere else.
SEO Optimized: Streamview provides the best digital marketing features. You will get all SEO settings which you can set as per your need from the admin panel. It will help you in getting higher ranking in the search results.
Banner Videos: You can use featured videos on the banners to get more clicks and to make more money. You will get more subscriptions via this feature.
Streamview has some of the amazing features which you won’t get anywhere else. That is the reason it’s getting such a high demand in such a short time. Use it to witness the difference yourself.
If you have any doubts or concerns, feel free to drop a line or two in the comments section. I shall reply in a day or two. Keep watching this space for insights on video on demand services. Subscribe to our newsletter to learn more about various VOD business models. My best wishes are with you and your video streaming venture. Cheers!