Video Monetization

OTT Apps: The Complete Guide for Video Content Creators in 2023

By Parris Johnson
16 Min Read

Learn More about Mobile & TV Apps

A group of friends sits on a couch watching content through OTT apps on their computer and tablet.

If you consider yourself an online video entrepreneur, you might’ve heard of over-the-top (OTT) apps. 

It also means you recognize the impact of this quickly growing technology on streaming services and the entire online video industry.

If you want to learn about everything OTT apps offer, then you’re in the right place.

This guide is the most comprehensive source of information about OTT services that you can find online. 

It will help you fully understand this new content delivery method, as well as how you can launch your own OTT apps to give your video streaming business a head start going into 2023.

It’s simple with Uscreen.

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

So, What Is an OTT App?

An OTT app, or over-the-top application, is an app that delivers video content to your smartphone, tablet, or smart TV using the internet rather than the traditional distribution methods of cable or satellite. 

These apps allow you to instantly stream the videos and live streams you love on your favorite devices. 

Whether it’s a movie, a session with your favorite yoga instructor, or an online learning class on how to go cave diving, you can watch it wherever suits you.

If you want to learn more about the concept of OTT apps and how they stand out in the OTT space, we have the following suggested reads for you:

We also have an in-depth breakdown of this in our OTT Apps Explained YouTube video below: 

But, Why Are OTT Apps So Important?

Over-the-top apps are everywhere for 2 reasons: 

  1. Content consumers expect to have them.
  2. They are really good for VOD businesses.

These are 2 separate yet intertwined reasons. Let’s break it down. 

Since the dawn of Netflix, there’s been a shift in how consumers want to view their video content. Consumers expect to be able to watch their favorite content on their own terms: anytime, anywhere, on any device they want.  

That makes OTT apps more than just “nice to have” — they’ve become necessary.

Let’s take a look at the numbers: 

  • 65% of the time, people prefer to stream through OTT apps over browsers.
  • OTT video revenue is expected to reach $207 billion by 2027. 
  • 78% of U.S. consumers use a video subscription service. 
A graphic shows 2022's platform breakdown, showing that Roku is the most popular.

So what is it about OTT TV apps and mobile apps that make them so appealing?

There are 3 key factors that make these apps so popular among viewers:

  1. Accessibility: viewers have become accustomed to watching what they want, where they want.
  2. Control: viewers are willing to pay more to have control over the programs they watch. 
  3. Cost: viewers can save money while improving their viewing experience. 

Having a video streaming business without OTT apps is like having a burrito business that doesn’t serve guacamole!

Visitors are going to look elsewhere because they expect to be able to stream their favorite content on their mobile devices and TVs (and add guacamole to their burritos!). 

There’s still a chance to get in on the action though! We’re in the middle of what we’re calling the OTT Gold Rush, and you’re actually just in time. Thanks to the rapidly increasing demand for OTT services, content creators are rushing to adopt OTT platforms at an affordable cost. 

It’s simple with Uscreen.

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

Then, What Are the Benefits of Creating an OTT App?

In analyzing 1.1 million users, we found that Uscreeners who added OTT apps to their online video business saw an average growth of 30% in size and revenue.

This happens for 2 reasons: 

1. OTT Apps Reduce Churn

When your content becomes available on more devices, especially those preferred by your current users, people are more likely to consume a lot more of it.

By offering your subscribers OTT apps, you’re enabling them to consume your content on the go via their mobile devices… 

  • while commuting every day to and from work
  • while waiting at the doctor’s office 
  • during their lunch hour
  • during their children’s soccer practices
  • on airplanes (with the offline downloading feature)

….and that way, you’re keeping your subscribers on your service longer and reducing churn rates. 

2. OTT Apps Increase Conversions

Having an OTT app also opens your business up to new audiences who are actively searching for new OTT services to subscribe to. 

In fact, over the last few years, some of the biggest content providers used OTT to launch new video streaming services:

And the beautiful thing is that streaming services go beyond multi-billion-dollar media companies like Disney or Hulu. 

Thousands of small and medium-sized media businesses and content creators are launching their own streaming platforms every day. 

We’ve talked a lot about the importance of OTT apps, but it’s important to remember that they’re an extension of your business, so you’ll still need an online presence through a video streaming website.

💡Myth Buster: OTT Apps Will Replace Your Video Streaming Website

A lot of people will get this far in the conversation about OTT apps and think that apps are a replacement for websites, but…it’s just not true.

Websites are still undoubtedly the non-negotiable online core of any business you can think of — and it’s especially true for VOD businesses. In fact, about 15% of users around the world still watch Netflix from their computers

A graphic shows the devices people use to watch OTT apps.

There are 3 very important reasons why video streaming websites are still necessary for a healthy VOD business: 

  1. People still watch content on the web 38% of the time: even though users are excited about OTT apps, they still want to be able to watch content using their laptops. 
  2. People trust websites more than apps for payments: we found that most video content subscriptions are purchased on the OTT streaming website
  3. Websites are essential for SEO and searchability: your website has a much higher chance of ranking on Google for certain keywords than your mobile app does.

It’s simple with Uscreen.

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

Cool, How Do I Create an OTT App?

OK, now for the really fun stuff.

You’ve got all your ducks in a row: your content, your audience, your business strategy, and your vision. 

But how do you create and launch your OTT apps? 

You have 2 main options: 

  1. Option 1: hire an app developer.
  2. Option 2 (recommended): lease an app from an OTT platform service provider.

Let’s look at both of them…

Option 1: Hire an App Developer

Hiring someone to develop your OTT apps is a great way to develop the app you envisioned, but it can be very expensive.

If you have a healthy budget, you can hire an agency or developer to create custom OTT apps for you. It’ll be built from scratch by a professional (or team of professionals) to your exact needs.

This process usually takes between 3 and 6 months and costs between $10,000 and $20,000 per app, depending on the features you want. 

Plus, you’ll still have to pay monthly expenses for running the app, maintenance, or support costs.

To find the cheapest quotes, you can use websites like Upwork or Freelancer to find an affordable developer. They should be able to create a basic OTT app without breaking the bank.

If you want a comprehensive OTT app with all the bells and whistles, you’d be better off looking for a high-end developer or agency. You can either approach them directly or advertise the job on a site like Stack Overflow.

So…if you’re on a tighter budget, we seriously recommend you go for OTT option 2. 

Option 2: Lease an App

Leasing is one of the most efficient and cost-effective ways to create an OTT app.

This method means you’ll rent the OTT services of an OTT platform service provider — like Uscreen — that already has white-labeled OTT apps for a variety of devices, CDNs, and hosting in place.

A screenshot of Uscreen's OTT apps.

Similar to option 1, a team of professional developers will build your white-labeled OTT apps — but instead of buying them for tens of thousands of dollars, you’ll rent them on a monthly basis for as long as you have the apps running.

For example, here at Uscreen, we create OTT apps that are fully branded just for your business. All you need to do is provide us with the details like your logo and brand colors. 

Here’s how launching an app with Uscreen works:

1. You set up a Uscreen account and place an order for your app.

2. You get your video website ready by adding content (read more).

3. You set up your app developer account (our team will help you with that too).

4. You provide us with your app requirements (read more).

5. We build your app and have it available for you to test in 4 weeks.

6. We submit your app for approval in the App Store.

7. After it’s published, your app will be launched!

We’ll launch it, run it, and maintain it for as long as it’s live — you won’t have to do a thing.

It’s simple with Uscreen.

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

But, Which OTT Apps Should I Launch First? 

As you may know, there are plenty of different types of OTT apps you can create to reach your audience. 

There are mobile apps like for iOS and Android, but also OTT TV apps, like Roku, Apple TV, and Android TV.  

Do you need to launch them all? Not necessarily. It all depends on the audience you target and the type of content you offer.

To get to the bottom of how to choose the best OTT apps to launch for your business, we compiled a report of OTT app usage data to detect user habits, preferences, and patterns. 

Here’s what we found: 

  • More than half of OTT app users choose to stream content using mobile apps rather than TV apps, meaning Android and iOS video streaming apps are often more urgent to launch.
  • Android mobile apps have the widest reach worldwide, and especially in non-English-speaking markets.
  • In English-speaking markets, iOS has the largest market penetration.
  • Half of all TV app users stream using Roku, making it the #1 app to launch if you want to reach your audience on their TVs.

However, TVs are still the most comfortable way to consume content that is either entertainment-related or requires a lot of movement in your living room. 

If you’re still unsure which OTT apps are right for your business and audience, you can contact us and speak with one of our OTT specialists to get the answers you’re looking for.   

It’s simple with Uscreen.

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

So, How Do I Choose an OTT Platform Provider?

Different video monetization and OTT platform providers offer different features at different price points, so we’re only speaking for ourselves in that last section.

If you really want to start learning about all your OTT app development options, here’s a shopping checklist we put together to get you started.

The perfect OTT platform provider will: 

  1. Provide you with a video streaming website, alongside your apps.
  2. Allow you to fully customize your streaming website.
  3. Allow you to accept global payments.
  4. Give you full audience ownership.
  5. Take less than 5 weeks to develop and launch your OTT apps.
  6. Offer free updates and maintenance for your apps.
  7. Be a technically hands-off solution for you.

Wrapping It Up

Kudos for getting through this whole guide — we know it was a long one! We hope you feel more knowledgeable about the world of OTT applications.

So, what should you do with this information?

After digesting everything you learned today, we recommend you start thinking about how you will incorporate OTT apps in your video business.

You can start off by getting in touch with one of our highly knowledgeable (and very cool) OTT specialists to see if OTT apps are right for you.

It’s simple with Uscreen.

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

You can also start a free 14-day trial today to see if Uscreen is right for you.


Still have questions about launching OTT apps? We’ve got the answers. 

How Many OTT Platform Providers Are There?

There are dozens of OTT platforms around the world, including Uscreen, Vimeo OTT, and Brightcove.

Even though it’s impossible to get an exact number of platforms, there are various solutions out there to cover different needs people have when it comes to video streaming and monetization.

What Are Some OTT Examples?

There are plenty of OTT platforms out there. Some OTT examples you might know are: 

• Netflix
• Hulu
• Amazon Prime Video
• HBO Max

What Is the Difference Between OTT and VOD?

VOD (video-on-demand) refers to libraries of pre-recorded video content that viewers have access to whenever they want. VOD platforms allow viewers to watch content on their own schedule as well as control playback (pause, play, rewind, etc.).

OTT platforms are a more advanced category of VOD that offer even more control and flexibility. They allow viewers to broadcast content on any device, live stream content, and use OTT apps.
These platforms give audiences access to OTT content at any time because the content is streamed via the internet instead of cable set-top boxes or satellite.

What’s the Difference Between OTT and Connected TV?

Over-the-top platforms help creators deliver video content that’s distributed through the internet and goes beyond the traditional television set.

On the other hand, connected TV (CTV) is any television set, like gaming consoles and smart TVs, that use the internet to stream videos.

What Is the Best OTT Platform?

We respect that there are many great OTT platforms out there.

With that being said, we still think Uscreen is a fantastic platform that provides you with some truly innovative and valuable capabilities that can help you make the most of your video content.