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How does Netflix streaming work?

Netflix is an SVOD service (subscription video on demand). It is the largest video-on-demand service with the enormous database of cartoons and films. Having paid a monthly fee, clients get access to an unlimited content. Netflix can function on many gadgets and run on various operating systems like Smart TV, Windows Phone, iOS, Android, PC, Mac OS etc.

Users can download and use this app for free during the first month. Then automated subscription and purchases are integrated into the app. For example, if you are subscribed via iTunes, payment is made via iTunes account.

Netflix is constantly adding new content. But its features are rather wider than it may seem at first glance:
  • You can list the content in the already existing library or use an integrated search feature;
  • With the help of the CineMatch system, Netflix can offer you new TV shows and films according to your preferences;
  • The app makes it possible to create up to five separate profiles in a single account;

Various profiles allow your friends or family members to have their own personalized Netflix experience that is built on the basis of their preferences.

You can also add your search categories to your service. You should rate films viewed, then the app will sort out films you like more precisely.

How to create an app like Netflix Follow these steps to build your Netflix-like streaming service:

Step 1. Follow the right strategy to start Netflix-like app building

Step 2. Prepare your business model

Step 3. Use tech stack to create streaming service like Netflix

Step 4. Add MVP features to build the skeleton of your service

Step 5. Consider all important requirements to keep up with

Step 6. Keep up with useful hints to make your service successful

Right strategy to start a business like Netflix

We are going to list the main steps you should undertake before you start learning how to create SVOD like Netflix.
  • Choose your niche
  • Plan your content
  • Create your style
  • Use a free platforms
  • Focus on audience

Business model to follow

I guess everybody understands that launching a new business resembling the Netflix model does not guarantee you an immediate astonishing success. Of course, it will take time until you start earning money, at the very beginning you will scale gradually. If your aim is to become a competitor to Netflix and create a website like Netflix, you must be ready to spend at least a few years on making your business profitable. If you want to know how to write a startup business plan, read this detailed article.

First, you need to create a Netflix-like service - a unique content. Nobody wants to pay for content that is come-at-able. But you should obtain the license for the content distribution, and then begin to develop your new business.


Monetization of video platform is performed on the basis of the subscription model, so you can propose variable plans for your viewers. For example, you can charge a monthly, quarterly or annual fee. But you shouldn't forget about free trial versions for month or more in Netflix-like apps. You can either propose to subscribers all video library or only its part. It allows you to control monetization.

That is you must anticipate the following:

  • Creation of plans for users;
  • Automated repetitive payments;
  • Free trial version;
  • Auto-updating/discounts;
  • Video advertising.

Furthermore, you should consider a multi-currency support and integration with several payment gateways to allow subscribers to pay with their local currency.

Technology stack for Netflix-like service

Here you will find the list of the main tools that should be used for the development of SVOD.

Language :

  • Java
  • JavaScript
  • Python
  • Kotlin
  • Swift

Libraries & Frameworks :

  • React
  • WinJs
  • Node.js

Datebase & Cloud Services :

  • My SQL
  • Cassandra
  • Oracle
  • Amazon EC2
  • Amazon S3

Launch Your Own NETFLIX Like Application In 5 Weeks

MVP of Netflix-like streaming service

Netflix falls under the app category of databases that require heavy backend for processing of streaming data transfer. The total cost of the development of TV services like Netflix depends on a number of features it will have. The more features it has, the more expensive it is. So for the beginning, it is better to add main features only into the first app version, to reduce its cost. Additional features can be added later when the app and website will start gaining popularity. You can also check our App cost calculator - it will help you estimate how much you will need to spend for your app.

MVP features development cost

MVP features Mobile/web development time, hours Cost, $
Users registration + login Approx. 13/15 650/750
Payment gateway Approx. 58/39 2262/1950
User profile Approx. 38/32 1900/1600
Content search Approx. 30/34 1500/1700
Chat and comments Approx. 126/74 6300/3700
Push-notifications Approx. 15 750
Settings Approx. 400 20.000
Total app/website cost Approx. 32.600/29.700


There is no substantial difference between an app development for iOS or Android. But for the minimum viable product, it is better to choose only one OS to start. But if you want to involve as many users as possible, you must consider the development of the app for both mobile OS versions. Besides that, you should also build SVOD website, since streaming services are often used in web versions as well.


Hard-to-use apps definitely alienate users and people are unlikely to use such apps in further. Therefore, simple design is very important in other apps like Netflix. It will allow users to receive the necessary information at a blink of an eye.

UI/UX design: up to 140 hours

Users registration

The first feature that cannot be ignored is registration. Registration via email and social networks will make it very convenient for the potential users.

Mobile development: up to 13 hours;
Front-end: up to 15 hours;
Back-end development: up to 8 hours.

Payment gateway

There is no need to integrate your own payment gateway into your app if you are going to use an operating system from Apple or Google. Android and iOS have their own mobile payment systems that allow making purchases in App Store and Google Play just with one click of the button. The only thing users need to make payments is to register their account. Apple and Google offer special frameworks for using their APIs. All operations are performed in Google Play Store and Apple App Store. But it is worth considering that these companies charge 30% from all purchases total amount in an app.

If you are intended to create a streaming website as well, in this case, we advise you to use payment gateway for like Stripe or Braintree. Each payment service shall have PCI-DSS compliance. And such gateways providers as Braintree and Stripe PayPal also offer their native libraries for both Android and iOS.

Mobile: up to 58 hours;
Front-end: up to 39 hours;
Back-end: up to 47 hours.

User profile

Here users can add their favorite movies or something like that. Also, it is possible to add more people to your account in order they can watch their own content in Netflix-like streaming service.

Mobile: up to 38 hours;
Front-end: up to 32 hours;
Back-end: up to 24 hours.

Content search

Selection of genres, selection by user reviews. You can check what your friends watch and what films they like.

Mobile: up to 30 hours;
Front-end: up to 34 hours;
Back-end: up to 20 hours.


Selection of audio track, subtitles on/off, play/pause, rewind, volume control etc.
Mobile and front-end:
up to 400 hours;
up to 400 hours.

Additional possible features

We mentioned features of the minimum viable product where all of them are an integral part of your future streaming service. It is impossible to design a Netflix type system without the above features. But if you want to enrich your new app and website and add more interesting features, here are some of them for you to integrate into your new product.

Social sign-in

Capability to share news and reviews via social media.

Video quality

According to clients' requirements and the technical features of his/her gadget, he can choose a quality rate.

Total cost of the Netflix-like service development

As you can see, it can take a lot of time and resources to make a website like Netflix or a mobile app. But the cost of the final product will depend only on how many features will be added to the app. Of course, if you make a decision to create such app, the cost may seriously vary, but we will show an approximate total development cost of the Netflix-like app.

Important note! Please, take into account that all costs are rough and the final price of your streaming service may vary. Everything depends on your specific requirements. Moreover, to the indicated price we also include meetings and code documentation processing.

Total Cost