How to Create a Live Video Streaming Website Like Twitch and Get Your Revenue
Twitch belongs to online services, which are picking up at the moment. That’s why experienced, visionary businessmen are increasingly creating video streaming websites. And these startups have every chance to succeed with the right approach to the issue.
The popularity of video streaming resources is quite natural: online conferences, webinars, live workshops and interviews have become an unshakable part of our lives. We, as ordinary users, enjoy all the possibilities of live broadcasts, and companies take advantage of this current trend to attract new customers and strengthen relations with old ones.
A striking example is the Twitch resource: according to Similarweb, it records about 300-500 million visits a month all around the world. In December 2016, the index has reached a number of 524.4 million. And these impressive figures characterize not only the demand for such a successful streaming site but also the high earnings of its owners!
Isn't it impressive? Certainly, it's worth considering how to make a live streaming website, right? We’re happy to help!
The role of websites like Twitch
Streaming videos are an innovative way to interact with the modern world. Their uniqueness lies in the fact that they don't require our personal presence to communicate with each other. Also, users love the opportunity to participate in any cool worldwide event whenever they want to - of course, remotely.
So the demand is quite explainable, and it remains to provide a supply, namely, a web resource with the video content of proper quality. That's exactly what Twitch has done by offering a great and successful streaming site solution.
And what's more, Twitch didn't stop at small and occupied a unique niche: it became an online broadcasting platform (Twitch.tv) for the most hard-to-reach consumers - gamers. Previously, famous brands couldn’t cover this audience, because its representatives aren't really interested in anything but the gameplay: they don't like reading, TV shows, anything at all! Therefore, websites like Twitch turned out to be what was required to deal with gamers!
Although games are not the only scope of use of live video streaming resources. You are free to find your own niche (and you should find it!). And our tips will help you with such an uneasy matter.
How to use streaming videos?
There are heaps of instances explaining the best way to make use of the live stream website, such as:
live video streaming of all kinds of events (exhibitions, conferences, speeches, etc.);
live broadcast of any sporting events, competitions or video games;
providing the user with his personal broadcasting channel;
IP or home web cameras with the possibility of live video streaming.
Now let's take a more attentive look at one of the most successful live streaming video websites, which is Twitch (sorry for rhyming).
Twitch, a successful streaming site. Follow the lead!
We, the people, have been enjoying games not for years or decades, but for long centuries! Even in ancient times, the Greeks loved to participate in sports competitions (or, at least, watch them, be spectators). And that hasn't changed since then. Nevertheless, the 21st century made its own adjustments, and e-sports came to replace the traditional tournaments.
Giant leaps in technology, as well as an increase in the number of users online, have led to the fact that especially lucky gamers are able to attract a great many viewers who take pleasure in watching various online games (and no matter how far a particular viewer is from a gamer, the Internet assumes the possibility of remoteness).
Of course, all of the above requires a suitable digital solution, a reliable, secure, and powerful platform allowing gamers and viewers to communicate with each other... and Twitch provided such a solution.
To be precise, Twitch is a video streaming website helping users broadcast live gameplay or just watch someone else’s game. Twitch broadcast often includes a player's audio commentaries and a chat for viewers, and the streamer is involved in the discussion too.
Games being broadcasted are very different, from little-known indie games to the most popular ones. There are streams with the famous Minecraft, StarCraft, World of Warcraft, simulators like The Sims, shooters such as Halo or Call of Duty, fighting games, and races. Sometimes you can even find old-school games. There are no restrictions!
Twitch also supports esports events and matches between cybersports covered by professional play-to-play announcers. The streaming videos are often being broadcast from events dedicated to games such as E3, BlizzCon, PAX East, and PAX Prime.
That’s why in the USA, powerful FMCG brands are actively engaged in promotion through the Twitch website using gamers’ activity. We’d like to name Old Spice (Procter & Gamble), Coca-Cola, Mars (Snickers advertising campaign), and many others.
Today, Twitch has 100 million viewers monthly, and more than one million streamers are constantly broadcasting live. On average, each Twitch viewer has been watching about two hours of video content per day. And the most popular streamers are able to collect about 25-30 thousand viewers at a time.
By the by, according to the statistics, 75% of the Twitch audience are men (73% of them have a purchasing age of 18-49 years).
But what is the history of Twitch? Believe us, it is just incredible!
Unbelievable Twitch history
It all started in 2011 when a small company (Justin.tv) had received $8 million of venture investments to ensure future developments. In those times, the service was a little platform for live video streaming which was mainly broadcasting events from the life of one of the founders of the service - Justin Kahn. Then the project had been joined by Gideon Yu, former financial director of YouTube, who began to monetize the service. It is to this man that Justin.tv team owes its success.
Of course, the project had to be reorganized. So, not too popular Justin.tv was divided into 2 parts: a service to stream video games named Twitch (although Justin Kahn didn’t believe in its success) and more promising, according to businessmen, Socialcam project. This last application needed to upload videos to the Internet seemed to entrepreneurs more interesting than the service to broadcast games. Nevertheless, the public had its say!
As you know, a live streaming video website turned out to have become extremely popular among game players. Nobody expected such a success! Initially, the authors of the Twitch project believed that users would arrange a reality show from their own everyday life, but the games demand was (and remains) so high that all other ideas were abandoned because they would only distract attention from the main task of such a successful live streaming resource.
A bit later, Twitch had released its first application, which made itself known at the world's largest gaming exhibition called E3 in 2011. The first reviews showed that streamers cared about quality - that's why the service had quickly been redesigned providing the maximum number of tools that streamers would find useful. New interesting features attracted even more players.
Today, in addition to ordinary players, Twitch has thousands of official channels owned by major game developers. And Blizzard was the 1st among them when it started using the live video streaming service in order to arrange the broadcast of its championships, BlizzCon festivals, and professional games from developers.
Nowadays the service boasts 15 own data centers equipped with everything one needs. Each month 55 million unique users are taking advantage of the benefits of such a successful streaming site. On average, a visitor has been watching the streaming videos for an hour and a half without a break. Moreover, the Twitch network doesn’t impose any restrictions on broadcasts and allows users to output video in high resolution and at a good speed.
Twitch never stops its growth
Twitch’s success is obvious... and it's time to stop and rest, one might think... but no! The company keeps growing and developing in order to meet the requirements of the market and consumers. And today, Twitch offers solutions aimed not only at gamers. Among other things, the Just Chatting feature has won popularity: it's a platform enabling streamers to communicate effectively with the audience.
In a word, Twitch is a real find for businessmen. A billion income without much effort! A true success story... There is something to learn if you want to know how to create a live streaming website, do you agree?
Interaction with the user flow
Before proceeding with the methods to build a live streaming website, let's see the way Twitch interacts with a streamer.
One can view most of the content by just going to www.twitch.tv from any device connected to the Internet. After registration, a user will receive his personal page, such as twitch.tv/user_name.
As in many social networks, each channel has its own design including a profile image, channel name, and short description. There are standard icons to sharing, and the streaming status is indicated by OFFLINE or ONLINE inscriptions (if there is a broadcast occurring or the channel owner has left streaming videos to view). Also, you may see the statistics, which show the number of people watching the channel right now.
On the left is the navigation bar, and on the right is the chat window. Many streamers like to communicate with other users through this chatbox. Such a level of interaction between the streamer and the audience has put Twitch to a fundamentally new level of social interaction, as opposed to simply viewing someone else's game.
The video streaming website we’re talking about allows you to easily search and find channels by name or in a hit-and-miss fashion. You’re also allowed to look for a video archive (streaming videos are being deleted after a few days unless the owner marks them as those that worth being stored).
There are lots of ways to access Twitch and view its content: through a computer, game console or mobile device. Twitch has a number of convenient Android and iOS applications, which are easy to get used to. Among the devices to watch Twitch, we should mention the following ones:
Laptops and personal computers
Tablets and smartphones
But, of course, examining how to create a video streaming website, you’re really want to know “how to make money live streaming”. So let’s take a look at the issue more closely.
Monetize your video streaming service
Today Twitch is being monetized through advertising and extended paid subscriptions.
The popularity of the video website is the first step to good earnings. Not surprisingly, Twitch owners made the advertisers interested in their service in a short time period. Twitch gathered a huge niche audience that was ready to consume advertising and enrich the corporation.
Ads start immediately when you begin watching the video and periodically pop up during streaming.
The membership is basically free: you can view the Twitch content, communicate with people, and stream your video live without any payment. But if you want to work with the Twitch platform more efficiently, you have to shell out.
For a small monthly payment, users (future streamers) become Turbo Subscribers: such a membership allows them to get rid of most of the advertising and gives other benefits, including more colors in the chat and unique user emoticons.
Finally, the streamers themselves have a chance to start earning - the affiliate program provides them with decent payments for each attracted user who has viewed the advertisement placed on their channel. Some of the partners can also collect fees from subscribers to access high-definition streams and video archives, to get exclusive chat sessions, and so on. And if you want to develop a video streaming website like Twitch, think about your own ways to interest players with additional benefits for active participation in the life of your resource.
Surely, websites like Twitch make a great deal of money! Wanna become one of them? Let's consider possibilities to achieve such a difficult goal.
So, how to make a live successful streaming website able to bring you high earnings?
How does a live streaming video website make money?
Working out a video streaming business model, you should consider 2 main steps…
1st step. The Idea
The most important thing is to create a product, which will attract users’ attention and interest. You need a successful streaming site like Twitch! So…
Find a great idea. Twitch, if you remember, offers a first-class web resource for gamers. Choose your own (and maybe unique) target audience. Which streamers category do you want to reach and embrace? Be sure you're taking a deliberate balanced decision, the issue is too important to hurry.
Think of creating a reliable web resource of high video quality. Ask experts to help you, it's the wrong time to save!
Use marketing tools to promote your platform: it’s really crucial since the current market is full of your competitors, video streaming resources.
Follow these simple rules, if you’re going to build a live streaming video website of Twitch level and quality.
2nd step. Choose your way to make money through a streaming website.
Assuming, you’ve got a really awesome idea of your future resource. Now it’s time to find out how to create a video streaming website, which makes a constant profit. We offer the following options:
Advertising. It means a site can be used for free while you're getting your profit from advertisers. As you remember, the advertising method has been chosen by Twitch. And if you want to follow its example, think over a good promotion. Twitch makes money this way easily since it’s a really good advertising platform giving access to a very specific target audience of gamers. You’ll have to make much more effort to win advertisers’ attention.
Paid subscription. Users should pay a subscription in order to be able to publish their streaming videos. And we recommend you offer a free trial period, let us say, three months (as Netflix does). In addition, you should provide different service packages, cheap and expensive ones (again, take a look at Netflix).
Freemium model. The case is similar to the previous one with a slight difference. You offer free use of the platform, but some cool features are paid.
Technical features required to implement streaming videos
How to start a live streaming website? To answer the question, we have to figure out what video streaming is, to begin with.
Data streaming means that media files are being compressed, divided into parts (packages), and sequentially transmitted to a user. The size of packets is determined by the bandwidth of the network section or the communication channel between a client and the server transmitting the video signal. Having accumulated a sufficient number of packets in the buffer, the client program starts to playback one of them. Simultaneously, it's receiving and performing decompression of the next packages. The main purpose of the buffer is to ensure smooth and continuous playback of the video signal. It’s quite difficult to understand if you have no experience and expertise, but all these factors are essential to guarantee effective video streaming website development.
Thus, consider 3 main components a successful live streaming site requires:
The video encoder (Flash Media Live Encoder, Telestream WireCast, Haivision KulaByte Encoders, Microsoft Expression Encoder Pro, Flash web app);
Media server (Adobe Flash Media Streaming Server, Wowza Streaming Server, Red5 (free), Erlyvideo (free), Microsoft IIS Media Services, RealNetworks Helix Universal Server);
Player (Flash media player, HTML5 video player, VLC player; video codecs: H.264, H.263, VP6; audio codecs: MP3, AAC).
Live video streaming features:
Data transfer protocols (MPEG-TS (UDP), RTMP, RTSP / RTP, HTTP);
Delay in playback;
In order to achieve the highest quality of video games streaming, you had better use multi-bit or adaptive broadcasting technologies. The advantage of such an approach is that the bit rate varies depending on network characteristics or other similar conditions.
There are two ways of playing back remote media files:
using a computer or other device capable of working with local and network files. In this case, it's enough to find on the network and playback the desired file. It will be played through the network file system which the certain operating system is using. Usually, it is SMB (Server Message Block) running on the upper layers of the TCP/IP stack.
using a media server and a streaming protocol, which will deliver the media stream from the server to the player. And RTP and RTCP protocols running over UDP are being used.
Of course, the main problem of streaming is the quality of the product being played back. Therefore, we must correctly approach the issue and figure out how to make a live streaming website.
How to create a video streaming website: step-by-step instruction
The live streaming market is oversaturated, so you should offer an incredibly high-quality product. We'll do our best to help you by giving a few useful tips.
Okay, you’ve decided to create a video streaming website. What should you do next?
Access. First of all, determine who will be allowed to start video streaming. In fact, there are three possible options:
You're the only one having such access;
All registered users (streamers) are able to create streaming videos for free;
Users are allowed to make streaming videos content if they have the subscription (after the free trial use as we've explained earlier).
Functionality. In order to succeed and earn a good deal of money, remember: your resource should satisfy the consumers' needs as much as possible. Otherwise, users are unlikely to become a source of your income. So, your video streaming service must:
have a live chat feature, which is an indispensable condition for attracting streamers to websites like Twitch;
provide each streamer with his own video channel;
protect channels. Only the owner should access it;
allow streamers to customize the video content they're adding.
Licensed help. A user can broadcast videos through different devices and receive files of different formats. But in any case, you should ensure that these streaming videos are being shown on the site in higher quality. Fortunately, you don't have to puzzle in order to implement the task properly. The solution already exists! We recommend you Wowza Technology from Amazon EC2. You have permission to use the free trial version to start, and then you should choose one of the licensing options able to guarantee your site scaling up as your company is developing. In addition, Wowza Technology is very convenient and easy to use.
Think ahead of time. Also, we advise you to think in advance and provide a perspective for the server scaling. In other words, you should develop a website able to scale. Otherwise, in the future, you'll face a number of problems. Of course, if you're not planning to create a project of Twitch level, you can cope on your own, but if you do want to compete with Twitch, we strongly recommend using CDN. You may have to pay a license, but such expenses are justified. Using the CDN provides many advantages, not least of which is pre-caching of video files, so that the user doesn’t need to download them, and localized data centers.
Powerful hosting. Choosing reliable hosting is always difficult, but the issue becomes more burning if you’re planning to create successful live streaming video websites like Twitch. Imagine: if you succeed, you'll need enough bandwidth power allowing 2.500+ users to watch the same video simultaneously! Such a factor should be taken into account from the very beginning. Ideally, choose VPS or SSD-hosting, they’ll provide you with a lot of bandwidth for live streaming websites.
Expressive design. Don't use ready-made solutions if you want to get an effective web tool to make good money. The unique and modern design is half your success! And you see now why we advise ordering services of experienced UX designers and front-end developers. It's not the time to be parsimonious.
Storing video archives. Of course, it's very important to save your video and store archives received. The task is more difficult than it seems at first glance. Why? There are two reasons. Firstly, video content shouldn’t be distorted or mutilated during the process. Secondly, you have to make sure the video can easily be "taken out" on the streamer's request and displayed correctly. We may advise you to create 2 dedicated storages: a powerful SSD-store including the most popular (namely, with high demand!) files, and a cheaper one containing all the rest. The described system is the most effective and economically advantageous.
We’ve discussed in detail how to build a video streaming website. And another important question is…
How much does it cost to develop a successful streaming site?
Everything has its price, and your aim is to make future incomes exceed initial expenditures and investments. So, having detailed instructions on video streaming website development, you also need to know about the inevitable attendant costs.
It’s impossible to name the exact price, of course, it all depends on the particular project. However, approximate calculations can be made, which is what we're going to do.
With vast experience in web and mobile development, our experts were able to determine the duration of each stage of creating a video streaming service like Twitch. So take a look at our analysis:
UX/UI design. It includes the creation of a UX Map, which is a detailed informational structure of your resource, UI research to determine the perfect way to visualize the idea, as well as prototyping a future site (ideally, you should build an interactive prototype). That is, the task of the stage is to visualize every element of the future resource. The phase lasts about 258 hours.
Website development, the meticulous process of building the site structure, creating features, adding required libraries, and stuff like that. The stage takes no less than 598 hours.
Backend infrastructure. It implies server system configuration, APIs integration, and other important steps to make your site work as it should and at full capacity. The stage duration is about 452 hours.
Admin panel. It involves creating an admin panel to allow you to manage the resource at the highest level of access. Developers will need approximately 224 hours to build it.
The total estimate of project development: 1548 hours.
Surely, the rate of the developers you’ve chosen also affects the total cost. In this sense, Eastern European professionals are a good choice: they work expertly, and their services are quite affordable.
Expert approach to video streaming website development
As you see, the Twitch clone creation is more complicated than it might seem. If you think you can do this and meet the challenge, - full ahead, try yourself! But if the task exceeds your ability and expertise, find another way to solve the problem.
In order to develop video streaming resources, you need a lot of hours of coding, searching for inspiration to make cool UX design, testing and performing other similar steps. Moreover, you're likely to face a great number of inevitable problems. And only when your site has been tested and launched without unpleasant surprises, you may safely say "I did it!". But it's quite difficult, isn't it?
Therefore, if you’re really serious about building a professional web resource with streaming videos, give up the idea to create it yourself. Hire a team of experts to perform the required work quickly and efficiently. You'll have nothing to do but relaxing and waiting for a perfect result.
We know how to make a video streaming website like Twitch and therefore we offer our services. It means we're working, you're resting! Ultimately you’ll get a top-notch product: a powerful resource capable of providing you with a constant profit.
We have a fair amount of experience in developing various web and mobile applications. And there is a lot of evidence of our expertise, one of which is a video streaming app named b.live. Thus, we have reason to confidently guarantee you getting the desired result and the best money.