10 Steps to Launching Your Own OTT: Content, Business, and Technology Requirements Simplified

Over-the-top (OTT) is one of the most rapidly-growing segments of the video streaming industry. With a boom in streaming services, many companies and individuals are considering developing their own OTT platforms.

However, building an OTT platform involves much more than just uploading content. The process is complex and involves careful planning and preparation.

This article explains the ten crucial steps to launching your OTT platform, including the content, business, and technology requirements.

Understanding the OTT Landscape

What is OTT, and Why is it Important?

Over-the-top (OTT) is a technology that has revolutionized the way video content is delivered to consumers. It allows video content to be delivered over the internet directly to the consumer, bypassing traditional cable and satellite providers. This technology enables businesses to create streaming platforms and deliver content to their subscribers on demand, providing a personalized experience.

OTT is essential for businesses today as customers increasingly turn to streaming services to access video content. With the rise of smartphones, tablets, and smart TVs, customers can access OTT platforms from anywhere, anytime, making it a convenient option for them.

Key Players in the OTT Market

The OTT market is rapidly growing, and many players are in the industry. Some of the key players in the OTT market are Netflix, Amazon Prime, Hulu, Disney+, Zee5, SonyLIV, Peacock, and more. These companies have created a vast subscriber base and successfully delivered high-quality content.

Opportunities and Challenges in the OTT Industry

The OTT industry offers immense opportunities to businesses and individuals. With the rise of smartphones and smart TVs, the demand for OTT platforms will only increase. Businesses can use this opportunity to create their own OTT platforms and deliver personalized content to their customers.

However, the road to success is not easy. The industry is highly competitive, and it can be tough to get your platform noticed. Moreover, with the proliferation of OTT platforms in the market, customers’ expectations have increased, making it critical to deliver high-quality content and services.

Another challenge in the OTT industry is the issue of content piracy. With the rise of OTT platforms, content piracy has also increased, leading to business revenue losses. Businesses must take measures to protect their content from piracy to ensure the success of their OTT platforms.

Despite the challenges, the OTT industry is here to stay, and businesses need to adapt to this changing landscape to stay relevant in the market.

Step 1: Defining Your OTT Content Strategy

Identifying Your Target Audience

The first step to building your OTT platform is identifying your target audience.

Understanding their demographics, interests, and viewing habits can help you develop content that resonates with them. Conduct market research to help you identify your target audience effectively.

Market research can provide valuable insights into your target audience’s preferences and behaviors. It can help you determine the type of content that will be most engaging and effective for your audience. You can use various methods to conduct market research, including surveys, focus groups, and social media analytics.

Once you understand your target audience, you can develop content that speaks directly to them. This can help you build a loyal subscriber base and increase engagement on your platform.

Content Types and Formats

Defining the types of content you want to distribute is a critical aspect of your OTT content strategy. You may consider producing original content or licensing content from other producers. It’s essential to ensure that the content is in the right format and is optimized for your audience’s viewing experience.

Original content can be a great way to differentiate your platform from competitors. It can also give you more control over the content and help you build a unique brand identity. However, producing original content can be expensive and time-consuming, so weigh the costs and benefits carefully.

Licensing content from other producers can be a more cost-effective way to build your library. However, ensuring your license content is high-quality and relevant to your target audience is essential.

When formatting your content, it’s essential to consider how your audience will view it.

Will they be watching on a TV, computer, or mobile device? Will they be streaming over a slow or fast internet connection? Optimizing your content for different viewing experiences can help ensure your audience has a seamless and enjoyable viewing experience.

Creating a Content Calendar

A content calendar is a comprehensive schedule of the content you plan to air on your OTT platform. Creating a calendar that ensures subscribers view new content regularly is essential. This helps engage your audience, reduces churn rates, and keeps your subscribers returning to your platform.

When creating a content calendar, it’s important to consider the timing and frequency of your content releases. Will you release new content weekly, monthly, or on another schedule? What time of day will you release new content? These factors can significantly impact your audience’s engagement and retention rates.

It’s also important to consider the variety of content you offer on your platform. A mix of genres and formats can help keep your audience engaged and interested in your platform. For example, you may want to include documentaries, dramas, comedies, and reality TV shows in your content library.

In conclusion, defining your OTT content strategy is critical in building a successful OTT platform. By understanding your target audience, defining your content types and formats, and creating a content calendar, you can develop a platform that engages your audience and keeps them returning for more.

advertising in OTT

Step 2: Establishing a Business Model

Subscription-Based Models

A subscription-based model is a common business model in the OTT industry, where customers pay a monthly, quarterly, or annual subscription fee to access content. This model offers recurring revenue, making it easier for companies to plan and budget.

Subscription-based models are popular among streaming services like Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon Prime Video. These services offer a vast library of content, including movies, TV shows, and documentaries, for a monthly fee. The subscription fee allows customers to access the content at any time, without any additional charges.

One of the benefits of a subscription-based model is that it offers a predictable revenue stream. Companies can forecast their revenue based on the number of subscribers and the subscription fee.

This makes planning and budgeting for future investments and content acquisition easier.

Advertising-Supported Models

In an advertising-supported model, users can access content for free, while advertisers pay to advertise products and services to the viewers. This model works well for companies with a large audience as they can earn revenue from advertising.

Advertising-supported models are common among free streaming services like Pluto TV, Crackle, and Tubi. These services offer a limited content library, but users can access it free. The revenue is generated by displaying ads to the viewers.

One of the benefits of an advertising-supported model is that it allows companies to offer their content for free, which can attract a larger audience. This can be beneficial for companies that are just starting and trying to build a user base. Additionally, companies can earn revenue from advertising, which can offset the cost of content acquisition.

Transactional Models

The transactional model involves charging customers for access to individual items of content. This model is suitable for businesses with limited content catalogs or niche offerings.

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Transactional models are common among pay-per-view services like FandangoNow, Vudu, and Google Play. These services offer a vast library of movies and TV shows, but users must pay for each title they want to watch.

One of the benefits of a transactional model is that it allows companies to offer a vast library of content without having to pay for the content upfront. Additionally, companies can earn revenue from each transaction, which can be more profitable than a subscription-based model in some cases.

Free vs Commercial OTT
Free vs. Commercial OTT

Step 3: Choosing the Right OTT Technology Platform

Now that you understand the OTT ecosystem and have identified your target audience, it’s time to choose the right OTT technology platform. This decision is critical as it will impact the success of your OTT business in the long run. 

Key Features to Look For

When selecting an OTT platform, it’s essential to consider the features it offers. The right OTT platform should have essential features such as content upload and management tools, monetization tools, and analytics to help you understand your subscribers’ behavior and interests. 

Read OTTVerse’s super guide on choosing a vendor for launching your video streaming service.

Content upload and management tools are crucial as they enable you to upload, organize, and manage your content library. Monetization tools such as subscription billing, pay-per-view, and ad insertion are essential as they allow you to generate revenue from your content. Analytics tools such as user engagement metrics, churn rate, and content performance metrics enable you to understand your subscribers’ behavior and interests, which is vital for creating personalized content and improving user experience.

Comparing Popular OTT Platforms

Numerous OTT platforms are available in the market, each with unique features and benefits. It’s essential to compare and select an OTT platform with the features and pricing that align with your needs and budget. 

Some popular OTT platforms include Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, Hulu, and Disney+. Netflix is known for its personalized content recommendation algorithm, while Amazon Prime Video is known for its integration with Amazon’s e-commerce platform. Hulu offers a mix of live TV and on-demand content, while Disney+ is known for its exclusive content from Disney, Pixar, Marvel, and Star Wars. 

Evaluating each platform’s features and pricing is crucial to determine which aligns with your business goals and budget. 

Custom-Built vs. Off-the-Shelf Solutions

You can choose a custom-built or off-the-shelf solution when selecting an OTT platform. A custom-built solution offers more flexibility, while an off-the-shelf solution offers a more straightforward setup process. 

A custom-built solution enables you to seamlessly tailor the platform to your business needs and integrate it with your existing systems. However, it requires a more significant investment in time and money.

On the other hand, an off-the-shelf solution is quicker to set up and requires less investment. However, it may not offer the same customization and flexibility as a custom-built solution.

Ultimately, deciding between a custom-built and off-the-shelf solution depends on your business needs, budget, and timeline. 

svod in OTT

Step 4: Designing a User-Friendly Interface

Importance of User Experience (UX) Design

A well-designed user interface is critical for the success of your OTT platform. It should be easy to navigate, responsive, and offer a seamless viewing experience to your subscribers. User experience (UX) design is designing a product or service with the user in mind. A good UX design should provide a positive experience for the user, making it easy for them to accomplish their goals and enjoy the content on your platform.

When designing your OTT platform, it is important to consider the user experience at every step. This includes the layout of your platform, the color scheme, and the ease of navigation. A well-designed user interface will keep your subscribers engaged and returning for more.

Best Practices for OTT Interface Design

When designing your OTT interface, there are essential best practices to follow. One of the most important is ensuring your platform is device compatible. Your subscribers will access your content from various devices, including smartphones, tablets, and smart TVs. Make sure your platform is optimized for all these devices and that the viewing experience is seamless, no matter what device your subscribers use.

Another best practice is to have a clearly defined menu. Your subscribers should be able to navigate your platform and find the content they seek easily. A well-organized menu will make it easy for subscribers to find the content they want to watch.

Optimizing content discovery is also key. Your subscribers will want to find new content to watch, and you should make it easy for them to do so. This can be accomplished through personalized recommendations, curated playlists, push notifications, and search functionality.

push notifications in OTT
Push Notifications are critical to content discovery and engagement

Accessibility and Device Compatibility

Make sure that your OTT platform is accessible to everyone. Accessibility is an essential consideration in UX design, and it is important to ensure that your platform is usable by viewers with disabilities. Consider offering closed captions and audio descriptions to viewers with hearing and visual impairments. This will make your platform more inclusive and help ensure everyone can enjoy your content.

Device compatibility is also an important consideration. Your subscribers will be accessing your content from various devices, and it is important to ensure that your platform is optimized for all of them. This will ensure that your subscribers have a seamless viewing experience, no matter their device.

In conclusion, designing a user-friendly interface is critical for the success of your OTT platform. By following best practices for interface design, optimizing content discovery, and ensuring accessibility and device compatibility, you can create a platform that keeps your subscribers engaged and coming back for more.

Step 5: Ensuring Content Security and Compliance

Digital Rights Management (DRM)

DRM and watermarking help to protect your content from piracy and unauthorized distribution. Ensure your OTT platform has robust DRM technology to protect your content and intellectual property rights.

Content Licensing and Distribution Agreements

You must comply with all Copyright and Licensing regulations when distributing content on your OTT platform. Ensure you have all the necessary agreements before distributing content on your platform.

Privacy and Data Protection Regulations

Privacy and data protection are critical in today’s digital age. Ensure your platform complies with local and international data protection regulations and that your subscribers’ information is secure.

Step 6: Implementing Effective Marketing Strategies

Building Brand Awareness

Building brand awareness is pivotal in the OTT industry. Use social media, influencer marketing, and other channels to develop brand awareness and attract new subscribers to your platform.

Social Media and Influencer Marketing

Social media and influencer marketing are powerful ways to promote your OTT platform. Ensure that you use social media channels effectively to engage your audience and collaborate with influencers to create buzz and excitement around your platform.

Data-Driven Marketing Techniques

Understanding your audience is crucial when developing a marketing strategy. Use data-driven marketing techniques to understand your audience’s behavior, interests, and viewing preferences and develop targeted campaigns that drive engagement.

Step 7: Monetizing Your OTT Platform

Pricing Strategies and Revenue Optimization

Choosing the right pricing strategy can help maximize your OTT platform’s revenue. Offer pricing plans that suit different user preferences, such as monthly, yearly, or pay-per-view models, and use revenue optimization tools to increase your revenue.

In-App Purchases and Upselling

In-app purchases and upselling can help you generate additional revenue from your platform. Offer your subscribers premium content, merchandise, and other value-added services, and use upselling techniques to encourage them to upgrade their subscription plan.

Analyzing and Maximizing Ad Revenue

Analyzing your subscribers’ behavior and interests can help you maximize advertising revenue from your platform. Use analytics tools to understand which ads are most effective, and optimize your ads accordingly, to ensure maximum revenue.


Launching an OTT platform is an intricate process that involves careful planning, strategy, and execution. This article has discussed the ten crucial steps to launch an OTT platform successfully.

Following these steps, you can build your OTT platform and deliver high-quality content and services to your subscribers.

Remember that the OTT industry is dynamic and ever-changing, and staying up-to-date with the latest trends and techniques is essential to stay ahead of the competition.

krishna rao vijayanagar
Krishna Rao Vijayanagar

Krishna Rao Vijayanagar, Ph.D., is the Editor-in-Chief of OTTVerse, a news portal covering tech and business news in the OTT industry.

With extensive experience in video encoding, streaming, analytics, monetization, end-to-end streaming, and more, Krishna has held multiple leadership roles in R&D, Engineering, and Product at companies such as Harmonic Inc., MediaMelon, and Airtel Digital. Krishna has published numerous articles and research papers and speaks at industry events to share his insights and perspectives on the fundamentals and the future of OTT streaming.

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