Should You Build Your Own OTT App or Outsource It?

Blog 4 min read | Oct 16, 2023 | Francesco Montesanto


Spoiler alert: You should probably outsource it to a company that pioneered how people consume video content online

Every company inevitably grapples with the question of whether to hire in-house or outsource. Across the board, the answer is always pretty simple: 

It depends. 

That applies to myriad roles, functions, responsibilities, projects, campaigns, and engagements of all shapes and sizes. 

But the story always kind of remains the same; hiring in-house is almost always more expensive but gives you more control over your projects and prioritization.

So, when it comes to building out your OTT services, the story remains fairly consistent… until now. 

You’ll clearly see that when it comes to building out OTT apps, you can have maximum latitude when it comes to control while cutting costs. 

What are we talking about when we refer to OTT apps? 

Over-the-top (OTT) is a method of delivering video content that bypasses traditional or linear TV, cable, or satellite. 

In most cases, OTT is executed through apps that are accessed via connected streaming devices. For example, if you’re watching ESPN+ on mobile, you’re accessing that content via an OTT app on your phone. 

OTT is the foundation for cord-cutting. Users can still access their favorite channels, publishers, broadcasters, or content providers without the commitment of a bloated monthly cable bill. 

As more and more users rely on connected devices for video content, the importance of OTT apps only continues to grow. 

What types of companies need an OTT app?

Before going any further, it’s important to note that not every company needs an OTT app. 

No matter how you slice it, OTT services require a ton of resources, regardless of whether you’re building them yourself or outsourcing. 

Companies that are trying to decide whether or not to expand into OTT should consider whether OTT will materially impact growth enough to net a positive ROI. 

That means:

  1. What streaming devices are you building OTT apps for? For example, if you’re a smaller, regional sports team, would it make financial sense to go beyond website streaming
  2. How are you measuring success? Are you merely looking at completion rates, viewing frequency, or time spent on the app?
  3. What’s your monetization model? Do you rely more on subscriptions or advertising to drive revenue?

The benefits of building your own OTT app

Assuming you’ve done your due diligence, you might be wondering whether you should hire a team of developers to build out your OTT apps, or just outsource the work. 

The upside to building it yourself is that you’re always in the driver’s seat. 

With a rapidly evolving industry like video streaming, agility is paramount to success. New devices are frequently hitting the market. 

Existing devices are becoming more ubiquitous and adoption is growing by the second. Users who traditionally consumed video content through linear broadcasting are steadily switching to connected TV. 

Some media publishers and broadcasters are even considering eschewing traditional broadcasting altogether and focusing solely on streaming. 

Amidst such a turbulent market, having your own team of developers and engineers ensures you’ll be able to adapt with minimal friction. 

Why you should outsource building it instead

Hiring in-house OTT development is a compelling case, but it doesn’t make nearly as much sense as outsourcing it. 

For starters, it’s incredibly expensive to launch OTT apps yourself. 

When factoring in the cost of recruiting and hiring a development team and the technical debt associated with it, as well as maintenance, it can be quite a headache. 

Of course, this is assuming you build the perfect team right out of the gate. When you factor in recruiting costs, training and onboarding, the costs quickly begin to compound and outweigh the benefits.

By outsourcing to the right solution, you’re instilling trust in a partner with a proven track record of success with companies similar to yours. They’ll be more than familiar with expediting the process, from conception, to maintenance, to launch, to scaling, and to monetizing.

On top of that, with an outsourced partner, you’re eschewing the recruiting costs while accessing top tech talent, all at your disposal. 

And then there’s the question of management and workflows. 

If you’re building everything yourself from scratch, you’ll still need to organize workflows between teams of developers who might be working cross functionally in different time zones. 

Outsourcing the process will also grant you access to software that allows you to manage, publish, monetize, and analyze your content across web and apps with seamless workflows, all from one platform. So, project management is one less thing for you to worry about. 

And what if you need to build multiple OTT apps for multiple platforms?

That’s also where the platform comes into play.

The right online video platform will allow you to deliver content across multiple OTT apps as well as existing in-house apps, all from the same backend. 


Outsourcing OTT app building will save you time, money, and resources that could otherwise be spent elsewhere. 

By relying on an end-to-end platform that handles it every step of the way for you, you can ensure that your growth strategy stays on its upward trajectory. 

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