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How To Develop a Live Streaming App?

The live streaming market is projected to be worth a staggering $ 70 billion market by 2021. Live streaming helps businesses to expand their reach, establish brand loyalty, and capture more attention. It‘s no surprise that 82% of viewers prefer live video over social media posts, while 80% prefer it over reading a blog. Read more about these stunning statistics in “STATS YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT LIVE-STREAMING VIDEO IN 2018”.

Established players already dominate the market. Facebook Live, YouTube Live, Twitch, Periscope, and Instagram Live are among the top 5 among free live streaming apps. You can read more about this ranking analysis in “15 Best Live Streaming Apps for Events – Ranked”.

However, you can also make your live video streaming app and compete in this market. In this guide I will explain how to develop a live streaming app, however, we will review the key features first.


Features of a live streaming app like Periscope
Technology components that make live streaming apps possible
How to make a live streaming app using Contus Vplay: Option 1
How to build a live streaming app like periscope using Appy Pie: Option 2
Create a live video streaming app with Wowza live-streaming SDK: Option 3
Make an android app like Periscope using Google Cloud and Anvato: Option 4
Live streaming app development cost

Features of a live streaming app like Periscope

a screenshot of a live streaming app

When you plan your live streaming app development, consider including the following features:

  1. Intuitive UI, so that your users find it easy.
  2. Robust integration with video player: You need to ensure users see a high-quality video. 90% of Facebook Live viewers consider video quality as the most important aspect. Read about these statistics in “STATS YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT LIVE-STREAMING VIDEO IN 2018”.
  3. Adaptive Bitrate streaming so that the app dynamically adapts to the CPU memory capacity of users‘ devices.
  4. Scalability: Consider using cloud services that will help you in achieving high scalability.
  5. Flexibility to handle live streaming as well as video on demand.
  6. Multi-screen compatibility: Your app should cater to smartphones as well as wall-size LED screens equally well.
  7. Users should be able to download videos for offline viewing.
  8. Good security practices to protect video assets from hackers.
  9. You need to include account registration, profile creation, ability to follow other users.
  10. Your app should have monetization features.
  11. Users should be able to know trending video broadcast by geography.

Read more about the importance of these features in “How to Develop Live Video Streaming Application for Android & iOS?”.

Technology components that make live streaming apps possible

Advances in technology have made live streaming apps possible. Specifically, the following technologies have helped live streaming app development:

  • Media storage: Cloud providers like Google, Amazon, and Microsoft have made it possible to store media assets in a reliable and scalable manner.
  • Content Delivery Network (CDN): A network of distributed servers to make content delivery easier for a dispersed audience.
  • Advances in UI/UX design make it possible for users to intuitively use live streaming apps.
  • Advanced video players that adapt to platform and browser and give the best experience to users.
  • Modern user authentication and encryption technologies: Using a Google or Facebook account to log into the live streaming app makes it easier for users. Data encryption keeps video assets safe from hackers.

Read more about the impact of these technologies on live streaming apps in “How to Develop Live Video Streaming Application for Android & iOS?”.

I will now take you through various approaches to building a live streaming app like Periscope.

How to make a live streaming app using Contus Vplay: Option 1

Contus Vplay is a very good solution for you to make a Periscope clone quickly. It‘s a ready-made solution, hence you don‘t need an experienced development team. You need to get a ’Mobile Backend as a Service‘ provider like Google Firebase or Amazon. Check out “How To Choose The Best Mobile Backend As A Service (MBaaS)?” for a comparison of different MBaaS providers.

Contus Vplay is feature-rich, for e.g.:

  • It allows live event streaming.
  • You can easily monetize your live streaming using pay-per-view, banner ads, subscription, etc.
  • It supports all major device types.
  • This platform provides a scalable and secure content delivery.
  • Their adaptive Bitrate live streaming gives users a good experience.
  • The platform features strong data encryption and provides enhanced security.
  • Contus Vplay has a robust analytics suite to help you grow your business.
  • The product has good social media integration.
  • Your users can download videos and view them offline.
  • Contus Vplay has a very flexible UI.

An advantage of Contus Vplay is they have already catered to quite a few industries and use cases, for e.g. media, music, education, sports, corporate, government, worship, etc. Contus Vplay supports Android, iOS, and web. Vplay is a product of Contus, and they provide pricing information upon request.

How to build a live streaming app like periscope using Appy Pie: Option 2

If you are in a hurry to launch your high-quality live streaming app, Appy Pie is an excellent option. They have a live TV & video streaming app builder. You can use this drag-and-drop app builder to easily get your app up and running.

Appy Pie is feature-rich! You can include all the following features in your app:

  1. Video sharing ability.
  2. Integration with social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc.
  3. Easy integration of live video streaming.
  4. Monetizing features like an ad.
  5. Update your users regularly with push notifications.
  6. Your users can play or pause live video streams.
  7. Users can have chat rooms.
  8. Integration of photo gallery with Instagram, Flickr, etc.
  9. Your app will be able to support multiple video formats, as well as all key streaming protocols.
  10. You can grow your business using a robust analytics suite.

You don’t need to hire an experienced development team. Your team needs to only configure the app builder, and provide your branding, hence development skills are not needed. This could be an advantage if you don’t have an in-house development team or don’t have the time to hire one.

Appy Pie also provides cloud hosting hence you don‘t need to find separate MBaaS or ’Infrastructure as a Service‘ (IaaS) providers. It supports all key mobile platforms like Android and iOS.

Depending on the pricing plan you choose, your quota for push notifications, bandwidth, etc. varies. Their premium plan also has important support features like app submission. They are a highly reputed provider, and you can check out their pricing information here.

Create a live video streaming app with Wowza live-streaming SDK: Option 3

The approaches I have described so far were more useful for entrepreneurs without access to a highly-skilled development team. However, now I will describe an option more suitable for entrepreneurs with access to a skilled development team.

You and your team can create a live video streaming app with Wowza GoCoder ’Software Development Kit‘ (SDK). It‘s a reputed solution, and now it also supports streaming using Wowza streaming cloud and the company claims ultra-low latency with that.

Following are the features and advantages of Wowza GoCoder SDK:

  1. It‘s a complete mobile live streaming app-building toolset and provides all relevant features.
  2. The integration with ’Wowza Streaming Engine‘ and ’Wowza Streaming Cloud‘ is very easy.
  3. It supports Android and iOS.
  4. You can easily provide your branding information.
  5. The SDK features high-quality data protection and security technology.
  6. You can consume a wide range of cross-platform APIs with it.
  7. Controlling the encoder setting is very easy with this SDK.
  8. The company provides high-quality reference documents for Android and iOS app development.
  9. Your development team can follow their GitHub repository for sample code and additional documentation. It‘s very well-structured.
  10. There are comprehensive mobile streaming features such as device control, encoding, and streaming. For e.g., your app will support Ultra-HD and 4K streaming. Your users‘ network condition may change hence your app will include Bitrate configuration to adapt to such changes.

You can go through their comprehensive SDK documents in the “Wowza GoCoder SDK” webpage. It covers the entire range of instructions you need, for e.g., installation, how to use, examples, etc.
Wowza provides another advantage. You can use their cloud for your live streaming app, along with their streaming engine. You can access instructions for these in “Wowza Streaming Cloud Quick Start Guide” and “Wowza Streaming Engine Quick Start Guides”, respectively.

You can avail their free trial, while you can view their pricing plans in “Wowza Streaming Cloud Ultra Low Latency Pricing”. So, you think Wowza has nothing more to offer?

Surprise! They also have their Wowza GoCoder iOS and Wowza GoCoder Android ready-made apps, for you to play around with. So, check these out, and if you think these meet your requirements, then try their SDK.

Make an android app like Periscope using Google Cloud and Anvato: Option 4

This is another option where you will utilize a development team to make an Android app like Periscope. In this approach, you will use the Google Cloud Platform (GCP), and Anvato SDK. Anvato is a Google company specializing in live streaming, you can read more about them in their Anvato Live Streaming webpage.

A distinct advantage of this option is that Google Cloud and Anvato can help you reach a wide variety of platforms such as smart TVs, in addition to Android or iOS mobile. You will use Googles‘ reliable and performant infrastructure like Google Compute Engine, Cloud Storage, and Cloud CDN, which is another advantage.

This approach will enable you to include all key features, e.g.:

  1. High security and encoding.
  2. Optimized streaming using adaptive Bitrate technology.
  3. Good integration for broadcasting.
  4. Fully compliance closed caption support.
  5. Ad features to help you monetize your app.
  6. You can use their powerful analytics suite to grow your business.

Read more about the advantages of this approach in the Google Cloud Live Streaming use case webpage.

Anvato provides excellent documentation for their SDKs and APIs. For e.g.:

  1. You can access their Android SDK documentation here. It explains all you need, like a development guide, plugins, and reference guide.
  2. Their iOS SDK documentation is equally comprehensive.

Their entire SDK and API documentation is available in the Anvato Developer Portal. To receive pricing information, you need to contact the Google Cloud Platform sales team.

Build a live video streaming app using Brightcove: Option 5

This is another approach where you will utilize a development team for live streaming app development. Brightcove is a highly reputed live streaming provider with an impressive portfolio. Like other prominent players in this space, they also cater to publishers and broadcasters, marketers, and enterprises.

You can bring your best live video streaming ideas to life using their SDKs. Brightcove offers you the following features:

  1. A robust HTML5 video player.
  2. Ability to design and build an interactive UI for your users.
  3. Brightcove provides cloud hosting for your live streaming app, and you can check their pricing plans here.
  4. You can use their platform as is or build your custom solution.
  5. Brightcove supports all prominent platforms like Android or iPhone.
  6. You can easily integrate with marketing automation platforms (MAPs), content management systems (CMSs), and ad serving services.
  7. Brightcove has a robust analytics suite.
  8. There are good social integrations available.
  9. Network optimization, single sign-on (SSO), video portals, and domain restrictions are especially helpful features for enterprises.
  10. Transcoding and adaptive Bitrate video streaming help a better user experience.

Brightcove has an extensive array of SDKs and ’Application Programming Interfaces‘ (APIs) for multiple platforms, for e.g.:

  • Android SDK;
  • iOS SDK;
  • tvOS SDK;
  • JavaScript APIs for Brightcove Player;
  • RESTful APIs for Video Cloud, Zencoder, etc.

The company maintained very structured and insightful SDK and API documentation, check them out in their “Platform: APIs & SDKs” webpage.

Live streaming app development cost

So, how much does it cost to build an iPhone app like Periscope, or an Android one? Your cost will vary based on several factors. For e.g., if you use Contus Vplay, then you don‘t need to hire a development team. You need to only provide your branding information, which you already have.

In the Contus Vplay option, you need to budget for the product. Additionally, you need to get an MBaaS account. You can check out the price for a few prominent MBaaS providers, e.g.:

If you use the Appy Pie approach, you don‘t need to hire an experienced development team. However, you will need a UI designer to design a UI using their app builder. You will also need a mobile developer to configure the required features in the app builder. Additionally, you will need a tester and a project manager. You can budget for 10 working days for this four-member team, however, if your requirements are simple, 1 week could be enough.

If you use any of the SDK approaches, I suggest you assemble a team as follows:

  • 1 business analyst for 1 week;
  • 1 Android and 1 iOS developer for 2 weeks;
  • 1 tester for 3 weeks;
  • 1 Project manager for 4 weeks.

The SDK providers publish their pricing table or provide pricing details upon request. Get professional help for your live streaming app development project if you need it.