How Much Does It Cost to Build a Streaming Website Like Twitch.tv?

How Much Does It Cost to Build a Streaming Website Like Twitch.tv?

I think it's wrong that only one company makes the game Monopoly.

American actor and comedian Steven Wright

The year of 2017 is predicted to be a year of video content invasion and takeover; however, plenty of streaming services and video websites existed long before filming your content hit the mainstream, even earlier than people first thought of how to make a streaming website. Ustream, YouTube and Twitch.tv were the pioneers in the field when videos went live, attracting new customers and bloggers, and taking off around the world. These days, plenty of people wish to follow in the footsteps of the greatest by creating the different algorithms of online filming or building a website like Twitch. But the question of price is always the first to be raised. So, how much does it cost to build a video streaming interactive platform like Twitch.tv? AND - how to make a video streaming website like Twitch.TV?

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Take a look at our Twitch re-design concept on Dribbble

Twitch.tv re-designed concept

The Monopolist of Game-streaming.

Firstly, you are fully aware of what the scheme Twitch is based on, but let’s just jot down the project’s main logic. It first went live in June 2011, as a branch of Justin.tv, and was a platform where users could broadcast, chat and share various content, mainly within the areas of eSports, music and video game playgrounds. Two years later Twitch has turned into a platform for gamers only due to its huge popularity with this audience (Wiki says it had 45 million unique viewers in 2013).

As a platform, Twitch was designed to be a gamer’s cornerstone - his/her everything, including:

  • Game-related content.

  • Video Gaming tournaments.

  • Esport-themed talk shows.

  • User’s own streams of a certain video game.

The appropriate choice of target audience and the wisely-picked timing and location allowed Twitch to invade the market quickly, gradually becoming a “Gaming Monopolist” on the whole US market. A year later, in 2014, the parent company Justin.tv has closed down because of a major decrease in the amount of unique viewers.
Twitch is a great example of how a product can drive the whole world crazy, but who says its success cannot be repeated by creating your own live streaming website or movies streaming websites?

There are always things to improve if you know the product’s components fairly well. We tried to visualize what is Twitch made of when it comes to technology.

Behind the Scenes.

Saying Twitch is a website isn’t strictly accurate, as this is a web platform that needs a desktop application (OBS for instance) and a 4-element structure, including:
Twitch.tv website's structure

  • Client (desktop app, responsible for sending a request).

  • Convertor segment (where the streaming is saved, proceeded and converted into the right format).

  • Web-part - to create a web application that connects to a web server.

  • CDN (content delivery network, a system of distributed servers that delivers content to the users based on their geographic location, the origin of the server and a content delivery server - to distribute the streamed videos to the whole users’ community.

The client’s part is not written from scratch - there has to be an open source software for video recording and streaming. OBS Studio is a decent service provider we would choose for streaming; moreover, it is 100% free, so you avoid additional expenses here.

The convertor segment is the place where all of your video content will be received and kept, so in order to be convertible it has to obtain a specific format. There are two formats that could be used when creating a live streaming website: MPEG-Dash adaptive bitrate techniques works for high-quality video streaming, or HLS Apple live streaming service could be used as an alternative tool.

Part number 3 - the web - experience one - is mainly connected to Ruby on Rails development. The code could be written using only this framework, but some of the custom features that must be included when you create a live streaming website are:

  • haml
  • bootstrap
  • compass
  • redis
  • puma
  • postgress
  • HLS.js

Having these 3 parts (The Client’s part, The Web part and The Convertor Segment) covered will help you to develop a video streaming website, but the most challenging part of CDN is yet ahead.

The CDN challenge.

When the video streaming service is started, the main idea is for the content to be shared and spread within the online community, as honestly, every vlogger films for recognition. Significantly, spectators are only going to watch if the speed and quality of transmission are adequate. This is something that could be achieved via CDN - Content Delivery Network, the pre-paid service you should purchase. The tricky thing about the CDN’s implementation is that it may vary depending on the region in which you’re hoping to start a video streaming website. For example, OVH is a perfect match for US and European domains, and even for some Asian countries, e.g. Singapore (Singapore city) and Japan (Tokyo).

The map-scheme of OVH around the USA

However, in regions different from those mentioned above the question of CDN might jinx the plan of creating your own live streaming website”. If your project comes from one of the unmentioned countries, feel free to approach us and together we’ll find a solution for your case!

SO.. How Much?

Finally, the question that got you exited from the very beginning, not about making a live-streaming website - how much does it cost to develop a live video streaming website?

A massive platform like Twitch would require several development stages:

1) The pre-development survey stage where the prospect, market and users get investigated to form a well-fitting business model.

2) The specification and prototypes part - two weeks, which equates to approximately 80 hours of work.

3) The design part - hard to predict, but 80 hours is the min. value.

4) The video streaming website development - at least 640 hours for the platform’s creation.

5) The after-launch support - is a must for video-hosting and the service’s advancement, and this could take up to 16 hours per month, so it reaches 190-200 hours on a yearly basis. This is without taking into account any new features, as these should be estimated separately.

The hourly rate starts at 25$/hour and could be up to 150$/hour, depending on the service provider and type of contract you choose. So the minimum cost of a Twitch-like service development would be 18k $, and the maximum would be 108k (and additional 5000-300k for an after-launch support on a yearly basis).

Streaming Yourself Live Is Trending.

Video content is going to invade the world in 2017 - here’s a Forbes statistics to support the claim.
One might argue that you cannot re-invent the wheel; nonetheless, if you have some handy tips on how to get rid of all the unwanted complications in the industry of live streaming services, why not try and give it a shot?

Written by Oleg Tsarenko & Elina Bessarabova.

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