Video Monetization

How to Start a Streaming Service like Netflix in 7 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.

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 venture into the world of on-demand streaming. In the US alone, 78% of all US households subscribe to at least one or more streaming services.

Could yours be next? 

With such a lucrative $110 billion market at your fingertips, it’s time to learn how to create 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. 

Let’s dive in! 

How to make your own streaming service, step by step

  1. Choose your niche
  2. Figure out who’ll pay for your service
  3. Find a video streaming platform
  4. Decide on a monetization strategy
  5. Create your streaming website
  6. Set up your content
  7. Create your video streaming apps 

1. Choose your niche

Finding your niche is about determining the focus of your 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, you’ll 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 the service is specifically helping. 

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

For example, if you’re creating a fitness streaming service, 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.

Means TV is a successful video streaming service that’s worker-owned and funded. It offers entertainment free from advertisers and corporate financing. 

Means TV has a clear niche: post-capitalist entertainment that empowers the working class. You’ll find everything from full-length films, series, animation, and even kids shows, without overly politicized and toxic undertones.

An image shows how video streaming service MeansTV designed its homepage.

Once you’ve dominated a market, you can go wider. 

Let’s say you have a 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 membership.
  • 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.

Look to your competitors when figuring out a niche. See 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. Differentiate your service by addressing these pain points and offering unique features.

2. Figure out who’ll pay for your service

Knowing your target audience helps you tailor content and determine pricing strategies. 

Imagine a streaming service that focuses on independent films and documentaries. Paying customers might include film enthusiasts, aspiring filmmakers, or socially conscious individuals who appreciate thought-provoking content.

Say you know they are a price-sensitive group. You can offer tiered pricing like:

  • A basic plan providing access to limited content.
  • A premium plan offers additional features such as ad-free streaming, a community, or access to filmmaking resources. 

Your Book of Memories, a brand that offers tutorials on handmade 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.

A screenshot shows the video catalog of Your Book Of Memories, a streaming service built on Uscreen's platform.

To determine your target audience, figure out:

  • Common themes your audience shares. Age group, interests, lifestyles, etc. 
  • What they want from your content. Entertainment, education, fitness, etc. 
  • Your unique positioning. What makes your service different? 

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. 

3. 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 video streaming business, Uscreen supports subscriptions, one-time payments, rentals, and more.

A screenshot shows a section from Uscreen's website 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.

A screenshot shows the homepage of video streaming service called SignatureTV.

With Uscreen, you can:

  • Make your own video website.
  • Upload and organize your videos easily.
  • Get your content on OTT TV and mobile.
  • Make money with your content. 
  • Send push notifications on all devices.
  • Accept online payments (through payment gateways like Uscreen Payments, Stripe, and PayPal).
  • Market your videos with built in marketing, social media, and retention tools.
  • Connect with audiences in real time with live streaming.
  • Keep track of subscriber growth and churn.
  • Take control of your audience with detailed marketing and sales analytics.

And, if you have your own preferred tech stack – like email marketing software – you can use our API and integrations to create a personalized experience.

A screenshot shows how the Uscreen admin dashboard looks through a demo account.

Free trial: 14 days

Pricing: $

It’s simple with Uscreen.

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

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

4. Decide on a monetization strategy

There are a few ways to monetize your streaming service:

  • SVOD
  • TVOD
  • Hybrid
  • Memberships

SVOD (Subscription Video on Demand)

Research shows 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. It provides a predictable revenue stream and encourages loyalty through continuous engagement with your content.

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

An image shows what a video streaming service using a subscription business model looks like.

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.

👉 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.

An image shows the video content library of Your Book Of Memories.


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. 

A screenshot shows the checkout page of video streaming service MagicStream, the future of learning magic.


Memberships are like subscriptions but include more perks, like exclusive events, merchandise discounts, and a community. 

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 screenshot shows SarahBethYoga's app for her membership business.

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 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 for 2023

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 is 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.

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.

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.

A screenshot shows Wild Goose TV's, a video subscription website, homepage.

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: 10 Best Video Subscription Platforms for Content Creators in 2023

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.

An image shows how a video streaming service structured their content just like Netflix.

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.
An image shows how Uscreen customers can upload their content in a Netflix-like style catalog.

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. 

🧠 LEARN: How to Strategically Organize Your Video Content Library for Success

7. Create your video streaming apps

OTT streaming means delivering video content over the internet, bypassing traditional cable. Uscreen is a popular OTT platform that allows content creators to easily build their streaming services.

With Uscreen, you can create a branded app for streaming services like Roku, Smart TV, and gaming consoles.

For instance, you might want to create a streaming service for your cooking show. Using Uscreen’s OTT platform, you can easily create and manage your content, reach viewers across various devices, and monetize your channel.

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

An image shows what a video streaming service app would look like on an iOS device.

With Uscreen for OTT, you get:

  • A branded OTT app across all major streaming services.
  • Dedicated customer support team.
  • A seamless viewing experience for subscribers.

The best part? Our team handles all app development and syncs your content to multiple directories with your branding. As a result, you have complete control over your app and can create a professional, intuitive user experience for your customers.

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

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 deliveryPolished, edited, stored on serversImmediate, 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 Live Streaming Platforms in 2023 (Ranked and Reviewed)

Create your own Netflix-style streaming service 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 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. 

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 VOD platform 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 much does it cost to start a streaming service?

You can start a streaming service for as little as $79 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.  

Do streaming services 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.