People watch more streaming content than ever. When the COVID-19 pandemic has forced society to change its habits and stay home, many people found comfort in the virtual world of the streaming platforms. When cinemas and theatres closed, this world took over the reins.

While the number of people using streaming services is steadily growing—be it VOD, live streaming, or OTT. Only in Q4 2020, Netflix paid subscribers worldwide numbered 203.67 million. It’s not surprising since streaming platforms allow users to watch what they want, however they want, and wherever they want—from the living room, while making dinner, taking a bath, or late in the evening cuddled in bed.

However, if you want to be like Netflix and attract a large number of subscribers to your streaming services, you need to know what attracts them. There’s a lot to consider so let’s dive in!

What Features Users Are Looking for in Streaming Platforms?

Users are demanding when it comes to watching their favorite content. The days when the viewers would sit down in front of the TV at a specific time and day are long over. Now, with the fast-paced world, changing work environment, and mobile lifestyle, viewers want to have control over how they watch content.

And you can give them full flexibility, you need to fit into their needs. What features should your streaming platform have to attract people? Take a look at the list of must-have qualities.

1. User-friendly interface

Statistics show that 70% of customers abandon purchases because of bad user experience. People don’t have time to figure out complex interfaces and instead of learning how things work, they’ll choose the competition that offers an easier solution. 

Users want to have easy access to their content. They don’t want to wander in a confusing maze of buttons, tabs, and folders. That’s why 91% of them just leave and 13% tell 15 more people about their bad experience.

A user-friendly interface should be the crucial feature of every streaming platform. It’s worth engaging UX and UI specialists who will handle all the visual aspects and run tests to ensure your design is as user-friendly as possible.

To avoid problems and save money, hire a professional company such as BSGroup that builds multiscreen TV applications, web and backend solutions for broadcasters, content owners, and media companies.

2. Security and privacy

Nowadays, access to visual and audio content is easy and unlimited. But that also fosters external threats.

To ensure the safety of your users, invest in high-level security. First of all, choose the right servers, for example, AWS—one of the most popular, safe, stable, and scalable. 

Also, take care of encryption standards, certificates, security protocols. It’s necessary so users’ data is safely stored and not compromised.

3. Video Content Management

Content management system (CMS) is a must-have for every streaming platform. Not only does it help to categorize all content and create an organized environment for all the movies you offer, but also makes it easy for viewers to navigate within the system.

Video content management system will allow people to create a personalized library, discover new content, and quickly access their favorites.

Some of the most common functionalities of CMS you can find among competitors include categories, tags, quick search, user-friendly and intuitive navigation, ratings and comments, voice search, and many more.

4. Customization features

For many users, customization is a nice addition that lets them create a unique experience and gives them more control over the platform

Here are a few examples of the most popular options users look for:

  • Playback speed control
  • Subtitle support in different languages (especially, if you offer services globally), dubbed content, closed captions
  • General settings for the viewer account like privacy, ads options, setting a theme, layout, grid and list views, etc.
  • Picture-in-picture feature and floating window
  • Different resolution
  • Smart AI recommendations
  • Building personalized playlists

Show users customization is available, but make it manageable. On the other hand, don’t lump everyone together. Not all users will opt for customization. Some people will want to keep things simple so keep them in mind when building your platform.

5. API for third-party apps

API (Application Programming Interface) lets users personalize their experience even more. They can connect other tools and programs they like to use to customize their settings.

People can use custom-built tools or third-party applications to extend existing apps and run them with no effort.

Additionally, API enables better connectivity with other devices, quick sync across multiple platforms and devices that work well with streaming services.

6. Compatibility

A good streaming platform should be compatible with other devices—laptops, game consoles, Blu-ray players, set-top boxes, and smart TVs.

So to make a player that is available for everyone, ensure it’s built in the right environment (HTML5 video player with a transcoding option).

It’ll enable users to cast content from other devices, sync it across all platforms, and easily access it from anywhere.

7. Offline mode

To give viewers more flexibility, allow offline mode. It’ll enable people to access content on the airplane, when they travel, or are in a place where access to the Internet is limited.

It’s convenient because people don’t have to worry about watching their content even from the farthest place on earth.

8. Global content

Global content is gaining popularity among viewers. People like to discover new cultures, learn languages, and experience different customs, traditions, and points of view.

Hence, don’t focus on one type of movies or TV shows but rather give the audience a wide library of genres from all over the world.

Users also like to have a large choice of things to watch—movies, small productions, documentaries, TV shows, cartoons and content for children, and many more.

Make sure content is available in all geolocations so everyone can choose something they like.

What’s more, to solve the problem of data transfer, use servers located in different geographical locations. It’ll make it possible to quickly receive online content. This type of transfer is called the CDN network (Content delivery network).

9. Data Usage Settings

Because apps these days are often data-hungry, many users decide to limit data usage. People do it to save money on buying yet another data package, others to boost the performance of their devices.

But undoubtedly, data usage settings will help users control how much data they can use and monitor it.

It’s also a good idea to let people download content so they can watch it later offline.

10. Parental control

Let’s not forget that many viewers are children. And not every type of content is appropriate for the younger audience.

That’s where parental control comes in handy. With this feature, parents can control content that’s available to children and ensure the safety of the little ones.

11. Pricing Plans

Not everyone may need all the functionalities. You can create two types of pricing:

  1. Depending on time—how long people want to subscribe for
  2. Depending on how much content people can watch in a month so they don’t overpay

And don’t forget about the free trial so users can test your platform and choose the best option.

12. Regular Updates

To offer a high user experience, you can’t sit on laurels. It’s important to keep up with the times and adjust to changes, especially that the competition doesn’t sleep.

Watch your competitors. What do they have that you don’t? Maybe there’s something you can offer your users that the competition can’t?

Ask your users for opinion, ask people to subscribe for beta testing, create user-friendly forms or watch user behavior.

To Wrap It Up

Whether you’re building a streaming platform for business purposes or for entertainment, offering your users the right features is a must. It’ll ensure your service is professional, user-oriented, and show that you care about customer experience.

Consider using the right VOD software that’ll help you build the platform, or hire specialists who will take care of everything. Either way, users are demanding these days so it’s a good idea to keep an eye on changing trends, preferences, and shifting tendencies.