Video Monetization

How to Start a Streaming Service like Netflix in 8 Steps

By Mike Keenan
10 Min Read

Learn More about Video Monetization

An image shows a woman recording herself for a video streaming service like Netflix business.

Video streaming services like Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon Prime Video have changed how we consume content. Today, people are looking for video content that’s accessible, engaging, and personalized. 

If you’re a creator, there has never been a better time to create an online video streaming business. In the US alone, 83% of all US households subscribe to at least one streaming service.

Could yours be next? 

With such a profitable $159 billion market at your fingertips, it’s time to learn how to start a streaming service that caters to your viewers and stands out from the competition.

And yes, it’s possible to achieve without hiring an expensive development company. This blog post shows you how to start a streaming service like Netflix in 8 steps.

How to start a streaming service, a step by step guide

Step 1: Choose your niche

Finding your niche is about determining the focus of your own streaming service. The goal is to target an unmet need or underserved market where you can shine. 

An ideal niche is one that: 

  • Has demand.
  • Has growth potential.
  • Aligns with your passions and expertise.

“Go an inch wide and a mile deep” is a good motto for choosing a niche, whether you’re a startup or a veteran creator.

  • If you go an inch wide and a mile deep, your streaming platform will grab the attention of high-value customers. 
  • If you go too wide, like a football field, you’ll dilute your message and make it unclear who your streaming platform is specifically helping. 

🧠 Think: The more niche your topic, the more people will want your content. 

For example, if your streaming service is a fitness streaming app, your target audience might be people interested in home workouts. You can offer various workout programs, like yoga, HIIT, and strength training, and release new videos every week to keep your audience engaged.

Once you’ve dominated a market, you can go wider. You’re able to scale your streaming business.

Let’s say you have an established video membership business around yoga. You want to expand your territory and go deeper:

You could:

  • Offer specialized classes. Introduce niche yoga classes targeting specific groups, such as prenatal yoga, chair yoga for seniors, or yoga for athletes. Catering to unique demographics will help you attract more members and differentiate your service.
  • Collaborate with experts. Partner with yoga experts, nutritionists, or mental health professionals to create exclusive content on holistic wellness. These collaborations can broaden your content offering and add value to your streaming service membership(s).
  • Create a content library. Develop a comprehensive content library with various yoga styles, such as Hatha, Vinyasa, or Yin. You can also add instructional videos on meditation, breathing techniques, and yoga philosophy. Offering diverse content will cater to different interests and skill levels.

Pay attention to the video streaming market and your niche. Look to your competitors when narrowing down your niche. You can find inspiration from what they’re doing right, and find opportunity from what they are doing wrong. 

You may find your competitors’ titles are less diverse, have poor video quality, or aren’t as accessible to international audiences — something that undoubtedly affects their revenue streams. Differentiate your own streaming business by addressing these pain points and offering unique features.

Step 2: Decide your Unique Selling Point (USP)

A unique selling point, or USP, is what makes your business stand out from the competition. It’s a distinctive idea that makes your business unique. 

Means TV is a unique streaming service with a USP that revolves around some key aspects. 

Unlike media companies that use a corporate structure, Means TV is worker-owned and operated, emphasizing a more equitable and democratic approach to streaming businesses. 

The brand focuses on anti-capitalist and leftist content, including a variety of genres like documentaries, films, comedy, and animated series. 

Means TV streaming service homepage

Means TV supports independent creators and promotes community building around shared values and beliefs. These are all unique elements that appeal to viewers who are looking for content that aligns with their social and political views.

Knowing your USP helps you tailor content and determine pricing strategies. To determine a captivating one, here’s what you can do:

  1. Know your target audience. Know the common themes your audience shares. What are their common interests, lifestyles, and age groups?
  2. Understand what they want from your content. Are your viewers looking for education, entertainment, or fitness tutorials? 
  3. Decide what makes your services different. What is the unique problem that only your platform can solve for your viewers? 

And, to take your business to the next level, you can add premium features to your steaming service like a community section or OTT apps to make it stand out. These features also connect your brand to your audience and provide a unique experience for them.

Your Book of Memories, a brand that offers tutorials on handmade scrapbooks and photo albums, knows its audience wants to learn DIY projects. Their audience is creative and likes to organize their memories in a fun way. 

Knowing this, the brand offers tutorials to create beautiful, handmade folios and albums. Viewers can browse by book type and choose exactly the right tutorial for them. 

Class categories from the Your Book of Memories site

Conduct market research to understand your audience’s preferences and create a content plan that outlines your chosen niche, video styles, and release schedule. This will ensure you consistently produce high-quality content that appeals to your target audience. 

Step 3: Choose a monetization strategy

There are a few ways to monetize your streaming service:

  • Memberships
  • SVOD
  • TVOD
  • Hybrid


Memberships are built on a subscription payment model – like Netflix – which allows you to earn a stable stream of recurring revenue. Subscribers pay a monthly or annual fee, and in exchange they receive access to your premium content and exclusive community. 

Uscreen graphic illustrating what three factors make up a membership business model. They are subscription, exclusivity and community.

The added element of a built-in community alongside your premium content allows subscribers to connect and engage with people who share common goals and interests. In turn, this makes them more likely to stick around as paying customers in the long-term.

Memberships also often offer more perks for subscribers, like exclusive events, merchandise discounts, and access to additional resources. 

Pricing a membership is tricky, but here’s a good starting point: Nearly 50% of surveyed membership site owners charge between $25 and $49 per month. 

👉 Example: Sarah Beth Yoga offers yearly and monthly memberships that include access to an exclusive community, over 750 videos, daily yoga calendars, the Sarah Beth Yoga app, and more. 

A promotional graphic for the SARAHBETHYOGA APP, highlighting its features and subscription plans. The image shows a woman performing a yoga pose beside a pricing chart offering a free trial and monthly rates.

When deciding on a monetization strategy, ask yourself the following questions: 

  • What is my target audience willing to pay for? Understand your audience’s preferences and willingness to spend on the content you offer.
  • How unique and valuable is my content? Assess the exclusivity and quality of your content to determine the most suitable pricing strategy.
  • What are my competitors charging? Analyze the pricing models of similar online streaming services to ensure your pricing is competitive and attractive to your audience.
  • What is my revenue goal? Set clear revenue objectives to help you determine the best pricing model to support those goals.
  • Which monetization models align with my content type? Evaluate monetization options such as subscription-based, pay-per-view, advertising, or a hybrid model to decide which best complements your content and audience.
  • How can I offer flexibility in pricing? Consider offering multiple pricing tiers or plans to cater to different audience segments and maximize revenue.
  • What is the cost of producing and maintaining my content? Calculate the costs associated with content production, platform maintenance, and marketing to ensure your monetization strategy covers expenses and generates profit.
  • What is my plan for long-term growth and sustainability? Outline a long-term vision for your streaming service, including plans for content expansion, partnerships, and scaling your monetization strategy as your audience grows.

📖 Read: 15 Best Membership Site Platforms

If you’re looking for a streaming platform that makes it easy to launch, monetize, and manage your video streaming service – and grow your exclusive community – then Uscreen could be the perfect fit.

It’s simple with Uscreen.

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

SVOD (Subscription Video on Demand)

that 65% of Americans are subscribed to 3 or more subscription video on-demand (SVOD) services. 

With a subscription business model, viewers pay a recurring fee to access a library of original content, typically monthly or annually. This model provides a predictable revenue stream, similar to the membership model, but an SVOD service only offers access to premium content. 

👉 Example: Explorer Lounge is an SVOD service that offers a variety of content for a monthly or annual fee.

A screenshot from the Explorer Lounge membership and video streaming site showcasing "SAMPLE OF EXCLUSIVE CONTENT" with images of available content like workshop series, interviews, and courses on personal development themes. Below, options to "Become A Member" with pricing for Monthly ($15.00/month), Annual ($150.00/year), and Monthly (Discounted) ($10.00/month) subscriptions are clearly presented, each with a note indicating the ability to cancel anytime.

TVOD (Transactional Video on Demand)

TVOD, also known as pay-per-view, gives viewers access to individual videos for a one-time fee. It’s great for premium or niche content with a smaller but dedicated audience willing to pay without an ongoing financial commitment.

👉 Example: An example of a TVOD service is Your Book of Memories, where viewers can buy individual tutorials. The content appeals to a specific audience interested in arts and crafts, making the one-time fee model more viable.

Your Book of Memories TVOD video products


Hybrid models combine SVOD and TVOD. Multiple access options let you cater to a wider audience, such as subscriptions for regular content and one-time purchases for exclusive content.

👉 Example: Magic Stream is an example of a hybrid service. You can subscribe to access a vast library of content or buy individual videos or series for a set price. 

Image showing a hybrid monetization model using both TVOD and SVOD deals.

Step 4: Find a video streaming platform

There are many platforms available for creators to stream video content on. Many offer the standard Video-On-Demand (VOD) capabilities, which lets you deliver content to viewers as pre-recorded, streamed videos. 

For video creators and entrepreneurs who want to build a profitable video membership business, Uscreen is the platform for you. Uscreen saves creators from multi-platform chaos by bringing everything under one roof. 

uscreen homepage

Uscreen offers an all-in-one VOD platform that specializes in video hosting and selling. You get access to a high bandwidth, global Content Delivery Network (CDN) and robust security features to make sure your videos are securely stored and delivered to viewers worldwide. 

That’s how Signature TV, a UK-based makeup education streaming service, can stream to people around the world. Makeup professionals can access a range of tutorials that have been curated into various series, so you can easily choose what you want to watch.

Screenshot of signature Tv's homepage

With Uscreen, you can go live from your browser with a simple setup and high-quality streaming. No third-party encoding is needed.

screenshot of Uscreen's in browser streaming feature

Live streaming video boosts engagement and retention by providing a mix of content for members. Uscreen also lets you easily turn those live videos into on-demand content, so no one misses out.

In the spirit of bringing everyone together, you can also grow a community alongside your video with Uscreen. Communities have been known to reduce churn by 2x and improve engagement across your membership. 

Members can create their own profiles to create new posts, like, and comment on other content within the community. They can showcase themselves by posting videos and starting conversations. Members can even access private support channels and get their questions answered quickly.

Uscreen supports the tech side of your online video journey, allowing you to focus on creating quality videos.

We have been working with Uscreen for 2 years and we are very grateful to them because they have given us excellent customer support, constant upgrades to the platform every month, new cool features for enhancing the customers experience, and awesome OTT development.

Esteban P. ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️, Executive Producer

Step 5: Create your streaming website

Now for the fun part! It’s time to build your video streaming website. 

If you’re building your website yourself, know you’re not alone. Some 58% of membership owners make their sites alone without any agencies or web developers. 

Thanks to platforms like Uscreen, the building process can be really easy. With the page builder, you can adjust the look and feel of your streaming service, including colors, typography, and imagery, to ensure your website aligns with your overall brand identity.

An image shows a superior theme customization system available through Uscreen.
An image shows a superior theme customization system available through Uscreen.

For example, if you’re a fitness instructor looking to create a streaming service for your workout classes, Uscreen offers templates specifically designed for fitness content. 

You can also customize how content appears on your website. For example, you can highlight a specific category to appear above your catalog, or choose the positioning of viewer’s playlists.

Image showing how Uscreen users can customize their streaming websites' themes and layout.

Once you’ve chosen a website theme, you want to create 4 landing pages at a minimum:

  1. Homepage: tell visitors about your content and get them to sign up. 
  2. Signup page: shows pricing plans and how to join. 
  3. About us: connect with potential members by sharing your story. 
  4. Contact us: give people a way to contact you.  

Your business determines what pages you need to create. 

On Wild Goose TV, a video subscription website that provides access to various TV series and interviews about The Ministry of The Wild Goose, you can both donate and sign up. There are also links to a store and FAQs for browsers.

To make the most of Uscreen’s page builder, familiarize yourself with its features and capabilities. You can create a Minimum Viable Product (MVP) and get a feel for your site’s experience before launch. 

Experiment with different layouts and design elements until you find the perfect combination that reflects your brand and appeals to your target audience.

Learn: Killer Examples of Membership & Subscription Sites 💡

Step 6: Set up your content

Unorganized catalogs make it difficult for viewers to find what they want. It leads to frustration and bounces from your website, which means lost revenue.

With Uscreen, you can easily organize your Netflix-style catalog by type, genre, and other attributes to make content identifiable. Viewers can then choose when and where to watch.

See how Magic Stream set up an online streaming service with Netflix functionality. You can easily browse different collections, like Magic Stream Originals, For Beginners, New to Magic Stream, to help viewers find shows that interest them.

Image showing Magic Stream TV's video content library.

Uscreen allows you to create such a catalog using its built-in tools. Uploading your content into Uscreen is simple from your admin dashboard:

  1. Click Content
  2. Click Videos
  3. Click on Upload videos button
  4. Select the video file from your device when the Upload videos popup opens.
Screenshot of the admin view of the content library

Remember to add metadata to each video when uploading it. Elements like titles, descriptions, and tags help viewers discover new content and improve engagement on your website. 

To optimize your catalog:

  • Create intriguing titles and descriptions: these should be engaging and informative, and your viewer should know what to expect before watching your video.
  • Add appealing visuals: You can use thumbnails and trailers. Attractive thumbnails increase your click-through rate and trailers can encourage potential customers to subscribe to, or buy your content. 
  • Enable convenient features: your content should be accessible for people to consume whenever and however they like; you can offer subtitles and make your videos downloadable to watch offline. 
  • Group your video content: categorize your videos by relevant themes and have custom filters that help your viewers easily find the type of content they want. 

💡NOTE: If you’re using content created by other creators, keep in mind that most creative works are protected by copyright law. If you want to include someone else’s content in your streaming platform, you need to obtain a license that covers commercial use and distribution rights.

Step 7: Create your video streaming apps

If you’re wondering how to start a streaming service that stands out from day one, then apps are the answer you’re looking for.

OTT streaming stands for Over-The-Top streaming, and it’s just a technical term for delivering video content over the internet, bypassing traditional cable. If you’re looking to add apps to your streaming platform, then you’ll need to look for an OTT provider.

Uscreen is a popular OTT platform that allows content creators to easily build their video streaming services.

With Uscreen, you can create a branded app that’ll stream your content through popular mobile and tv apps, like Apple TV, Roku TV, and Apple Watch

Apps help your service to stand out from the crowd by providing a premium, branded experience for your subscribers. 

Whether you offer premium content, or if you have an exclusive community alongside it, your own app brings everything together and allows subscribers to engage with your service wherever they go.

Creators on Uscreen who have their own branded apps experience…

  • 10x more subscription MRR.
  • 8x more paying members.
  • 2x more watch time versus on the web.
  • 10x more daily active users.

… compared to those without apps.

With high-quality apps, subscribers can experience your brand in a whole new light. They can create their own video playlists, download videos to watch offline, and set up customizable alerts. Subscribers can also subscribe and pay right through your app

Sarah Beth Yoga, for example, streams its video content to thousands of yogis worldwide through various apps for both iOS and Android operating systems.

Image showing an Instagram post by Sarah Beth Yoga about her video streaming app.
Source: Instagram

The apps are the selling point. People now want to access everything from their devices, whether it’s their phone or TV. My Roku app is gorgeous. My mobile apps are gorgeous.

Sara Beth, founder of Sara Beth Yoga

Step 8: Market your streaming service

Your journey doesn’t end once your video content is live. You have to get the word out to attract new subscribers and mitigate churn. The good news is that there are plenty of automated marketing tools available inside Uscreen that you can set up once and forget about.

Use the following tools to market your streaming service:

  • Abandoned cart: Send special offers to people who fail to complete their purchase. You can set up a 3-email sequence with discount offers that persuade browsers into subscribers.
  • Giveaway funnels: Use a landing page and automated emails to give leads free access to premium content, and collect their email addresses. 
  • Coupons and gift cards: Nurture your audience by giving them discounted rates on your platform plans. 

Win-back campaigns

Nearly one-third of members can win-back between 20 and 50% of churned members with the right campaign. Set up an email automation that encourages previous subscribers to try your service again.

Image of win-back email campaign.

MARKETING TIP: Want help with growing a membership business? Join Uscreen’s Membership+, an online community and media platform for creators like yourself, for free. It’s a place where membership owners who are success-obsessed come together to share ideas, get advice, and celebrate successes. 

Members get access to a growing network of over 1,000 creators and business owners. Plus, a mix of on-demand and live content where you can learn how to grow your streaming service and audience.  

The difference between on-demand streaming and live streaming

Sometimes on-demand streaming and live streaming get confused. Let’s go over the differences so you can understand the different ways to sell videos online

ElementOn-demand streamingLive streaming
Content availabilityPre-recorded, available anytimeReal-time, live broadcasts
ExamplesNetflix, HBO Max, Disney+YouTube Live, Twitch, Facebook Live
User experienceFlexible, control over playbackImmediate, interactive, sense of community
Content creation and deliveryImmediate, unedited, relies on a stable internet connectionImmediate, unedited, relies on stable internet connection
MonetizationSubscription models, pay-per-view, rental, adsAdvertising, view donations, subscriptions, virtual goods

In short, on-demand streaming offers pre-recorded content that users can access and view at their convenience, while live streaming broadcasts content in real time.

Creators can use both on-demand and live streaming apps to cater to different viewer preferences and scale their business. 

📖 Read: The Best of Live Streaming Platforms for Creators in 2024

Create your own video streaming service like Netflix today

It’s clear creating your own streaming service is a great way to reach your audience, build your brand, and generate revenue. With the variety of platforms available, the barrier to entry has never been lower.

Uscreen’s all-in-one platform simplifies the process of creating a video streaming service. We also give you the tools to create, manage, and monetize your video content effectively. 

Uscreen empowers creators to thrive in the video streaming market. Embrace the opportunity and begin your journey to streaming success today. If you want to learn more about how to start a streaming service with Uscreen, request a demo below!

It’s simple with Uscreen.

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

Start a streaming service FAQ

What is a streaming service?

A streaming service is a digital platform that offers people movies, TV shows, and music online. Content is available on-demand across devices like iOS, Android, and Apple TV.

How do you make your own Netflix?

To create your own Netflix-like platform, you must sign up for a streaming service provider like Uscreen, produce the content you want to offer, and design a user-friendly interface with features like search, recommendations, and multiple device support.

How can I make my own streaming service?

1. Choose your niche
2. Decide your Unique Selling Proposition (USP)
3. Choose a monetization strategy 
4. Find a video streaming platform
5. Create your streaming website
6. Set up your content
7. Create your video streaming app
8. Market your streaming service 

Do streaming services actually make money?

Depending on your business model, streaming services make money through various revenue streams. These include membership fees, advertising, and pay-per-view content. The profitability of your streaming application depends on things like user base, content quality, pricing strategy, and competition.

How much does it cost to start a streaming service?

You can start a streaming service for as little as $149 per month using a provider like Uscreen. The cost that varies is sweat equity, or the time and effort it takes to produce your video content. If you wanted to license content from authorized distributors in the USA, that would be an additional fee.