Video Monetization

How To Launch Your First Profitable OTT Service – Full Guide

By James Johnson
10 Min Read

Learn More about Mobile & TV Apps

woman using smartphone

Before we begin, let me tell you this: starting your own OTT (over-the-top) streaming service could be the best decision you ever make for your business.

How do I know? 

In a study of 1.1 million Uscreen subscribers, we found that 65% of video streaming is done on mobile and TV apps.

And that the SVOD (subscription video on demand) market is expected to grow by 52% by 2025

Every day we see content creators turn to OTT video content production to help grow their revenue and audience by up to 30% and make a recurring monthly income.

In this article, I’ll show you:

  • What an OTT service is and why it’s a great idea to start one.
  • The top 4 content-topic industries that benefit the most from an OTT service.
  • A 4-step guide on how to build and launch your first profitable OTT service. 

Ready? Let’s go!

Why Should You Start An OTT Service In 2023?

I know I want to start my OTT service. Take me to the good stuff!

Whenever a content creator asks me why they should start an OTT service, I give the same answer:


Because access to an OTT platform allows users to stream video content from any device using the internet.

It’s also the best monetization opportunity for video-focused businesses to build a profitable online OTT service they control.

You have the opportunity to tap into a growing market filled with people looking for content like yours. In fact, OTT business users are predicted to hit 3.5 billion by 2023:

Number of OTT video users worldwide from 2017 to 2026

Big companies like Amazon, Netflix, and Hulu may be driving much of this growth, but we know that viewers continue to explore other app options once they’re converted.

This is great news. Because it means your target audience is already used to paying for OTT video streaming and sees the benefits.

With an OTT live streaming service, you are also in control of:

  • How you monetize it. 
  • The functionality of your website and apps.
  • The subscription model.
  • How much do users pay for your video streaming service. 

These are results that platforms like YouTube – who only provide minimal ownership – can’t offer. As such, 96.5% of “successful” YouTubers won’t make enough to break the poverty line this year.

That’s a stark contrast to OTT subscription service owners who make an average of $5,700 per month, a solid $33,000 above the poverty line, and the 30% growth many online businesses see when they swap OTT.

Especially if you’re in one of the following 4 industries…

It’s simple with Uscreen.

Build, launch and manage your membership, all in one place.

The 4 Industries That Can Benefit From Launching An OTT Platform

1. Fitness

Do you create follow-along fitness videos which people could download onto a device, or perform in front of the TV? There is a huge market for this, which companies like Callanetics have discovered:

Unlimited streaming of the entire Callanetics video library.

Customers are willing to trade their gym memberships, or personal training costs, for video content and products made by their favorite online trainers.

2. Education

Do you help people learn skills through online video courses? OTT services can help you create comprehensive courses, with downloadable videos and learning materials.

Magic Stream has built an entire Netflix style business around teaching people how to perform magic tricks:

MagicStream online streaming service teaches people how to perform magic tricks.

This has also worked for dog training, yoga teaching, and medical education. It gives users the chance to take the classroom with them wherever they go!

3. Yoga

Do you create videos or courses to help people learn Yoga? If so, OTT services can help students find their flow whenever and wherever they are. Tint Yoga has done this impeccably with their database of classes:

TINT is your online yoga coach as an ambitious yogi.

Although this is similar to fitness, this is a separate industry and should be treated that way. Yogis chase a different high than your weight loss or Crossfit trainers!

4. Entertainment

Do you create shows or movies? While you might automatically think of big players like Apple TV or Amazon Prime Video, it’s possible to succeed with your creations too.

TysonPlus has built an entire OTT service around their own LGBT, drama, teen, and other boundary-breaking shows:

TysonPlus OTT streaming via AppleTV, ROKU, Amazon, and more.

It’s a proven business model and SVOD can work for almost any business and industry if done right. 

Over the next 4 steps, I’m going to show you how to start your own OTT business, and give you the tools you need to turn your online business (or good idea) into a rip-roaring OTT success.

Let’s start by choosing the right business model…

Step #1: Choose Your Business Model

There are 4 types of OTT business models, but for your first app you only need to think of these 2: transactional and subscription. Your type of content will dictate which monetization model you use. Let’s take a closer look at each.

The Transactional Business Model

Here you create a product and sell it for a one-off price.

A great example of this is the music production education provider, FaderPro.

They have a wide range of courses available to buy individually to get in-depth, step-by-step guides into the world of electronic music production.

FaderPro music production education online classes.

This type of video delivery works well for a standalone course that teaches one (or just a handful of) skills.


Because you can sell one product that contains all of the information needed with minimal future updates. It can also be sold at the end of an email sequence or targeted to a subsection of your audience.

Due to its one-off-payment nature, you can sell this at a high-ticket price, commanding high profits for each sale. It’s not unusual for course launches to see 4 or 5 figures in sales, either.

This model is perfect if you have a one-off product, like a course or long-form film. Alternatively, it works well to test product ideas and see if you have an audience for them.

However, there are some things to consider…

  • you’ll need to continuously search for customers to make your next sale
  • you’ll need to create new products to make second-time sales
  • your income is less predictable

…so if you’re looking to build more of a “platform” with a stable and recurring income, you should check out the next model.

The Subscription Video Business Model

If you have a Netflix (or similar) subscription, you’ll already be familiar with this model.

Customers pay an affordable monthly fee for access to your OTT service, which is usually a larger and non-specific library of content.

For example, Magic Stream is an OTT video service created by Ellusionist. It’s an online training environment for people who want to learn high-impact, effective magic tricks.

MagicStream is an OTT video service created by Ellusionist using a subscription-based business model.

Subscribers can access their entire database of magic and illusion tutorials, delivered by world-leading magicians for just $9.99 a month. 

This model is great for them because they talk about multiple different topics and can cater to a student’s needs on that day. 

For the majority of OTT content creators subscription tends to be a good fit.

Let’s talk financials…

A customer’s “lifetime” as a subscriber averages at around 30 months, which for Magic Stream is $299-ish. Once you convert a customer, they’re probably going to be part of your eco-system for a while. 

These sales then accumulate into high-level recurring income. This means you only need around 1,000 customers to turn $9.99 into $10,000 a month.

This creates a higher level of stability in comparison to the transactional model. Which means a safer future for your online business.

It also gives you more breathing space to find new customers as you have a recurring monthly sum. 

Some things to remember with this model…

If you choose this model, you’re going to have to focus heavily on creation. It’s a must to share new content at the latest once a month to make sure your audience stay interested. 

You’ll also need to keep an eye on how many people cancel each month, why that is, and strategize about how you’re going to fill the financial holes they’re going to leave behind.

If you want to build an entire business around the content you create, with their standalone OTT service, then this business model is the choice for you. (To learn more about subscription business models, you can read our articles here and here.)

Whichever model you choose, you’re going to need a website.

Step #2: Create Your Video Website

It’s now time to create the first part of your OTT platform: your video website.

This standalone “hub” allows you to:

  • Increase trust with potential customers.
  • Refer your marketing materials to one website.
  • Rank in search engines.
  • Collect emails and grow a mailing list.
  • Take payments.
  • Handle support tickets and queries.

Plus it gives customers an alternative if they can’t access an OTT app on a streaming app or different device.

Your website should be designed and branded, so I highly recommend you get a high-quality logo (or brand package) created on a website like 99Designs. This will translate well to your OTT apps and help you keep a brand standard on all platforms.

To learn more about how to create a video website, you can read our in-depth guide here.

Step #3: Pick The Right OTT App For Your Audience

Not all OTT apps are created equal. At least, not in your audience’s eyes.

Here are the apps you have to choose from:

  • Smart TV.
  • Tablet.
  • Mobile Phone.
  • Desktop.

You’ll need to make your decisions based on your type of content and how your viewers are going to need to access it. 

Let’s say you are an online athletic coach where you teach people basketball drills. Your target audience will need lots of space to follow along, and a large enough screen to see what you’re doing from a distance.

This means Smart TV and tablet are perfect for you. As Chris Johnson Hoops, who runs this exact business, has found to be true.

ChrisJohnsonHoops teaches basketball drills using multiple OTT apps such as laptop, phone, tablet, AppleTV, AndroidTV, Roku, and Fire TV.

On the flip side, if you run a children’s education website, where you teach through films and TV episodes, you’re going to need to use all of these apps. As parents often stream on their smartphones, tablet and Smart TVs (sometimes all at once!).

Step #4: Find Your Audience

There’s one step left to take – video marketing.

How you market your OTT service will come down to your target audience. You’ll need to choose strategies that focus on where their attention is, and add lots of value upfront.

Here are some tips to help you get started:

  • Use social media: Platforms like Facebook and Instagram are heavily focused on video right now. You can use teasers and trailers or marketing style content to reach thousands of people on a day-to-day basis.
  • Leverage YouTube: This video giant can also be a great source of traffic to your videos and your website. You can read our full guide on how to use YouTube to sell your videos online right here.

Build a mailing list: Email is still the number one way to get in touch with potential customers. Give people the option to join your newsletter on all of your pages. Then, alert them when new videos and products go live. Here’s a guide on building your email list with Uscreen.

Wrapping This Up…

I hope by now you’ve got a clearer idea of how (and why) you should start your own OTT service – if not, here’s a quick recap of our 4-step guide:

  1. Choose Your Business Model

  2. Create Your Video Website

  3. Pick The Right OTT App For Your Audience

  4. Find Your Audience

You have the potential to reach a large audience who is actively searching for a product like yours. And, with the right video platform and business model, you could make a hefty recurring income from it.

If you’re just starting out, stay focussed on the formats you need as you can always build on your offering as your viewership grows. 

Ready to create a streaming app for your business? 

Uscreen can help you to create a branded OTT service for your business. From online streaming to the apps you need, we’ve got you covered.

It’s simple with Uscreen.

Build, launch and manage your membership, all in one place.