5 Must-Haves for Launching a Streaming Video App

Yoga teacher Adriene Mishler introduced her free video series “Yoga with Adriene” online in 2012. Four years later, Mishler launched “Find What Feels Good,” a Vimeo-powered monthly subscription service, across video apps on iOS, Android, Roku, and Apple TV. Now with over 1 million subscribers and counting, Mishler has turned her passion for yoga into a thriving business, demonstrating that launching a streaming video app is crucial to growing audiences and online video business.

Why Launch a Video App?

It’s evident that the average viewer is no longer tethered to their laptops or televisions, and content creators have no reason to be either. Our data shows that having a branded app increases subscription video signups by 20% and reduces audience churn by 33%.

5 Must-Haves for Launching a Streaming Video App

#1 Branding that looks like you

Strong branding makes it easy for your fans to find you. That’s why as a creator you should have complete creative control when it comes to designing your app.

#2 A video player that just works

This should be an obvious one. Ensure your video player works seamlessly across all devices. All apps on the Vimeo platform are powered by our video streaming technology, which allocates traffic across multiple content delivery networks to reach your audiences with the speed and quality they deserve and expect.

#3 Compelling community features

Once your video is published, focus on creating a sense of community and sustaining engagement. A good app becomes a great one with features that enhance user experience such as access to subtitles and moderated comments. On average, top Vimeo-powered apps generate tens of thousands of comments across their videos.

#4 In-app subscriptions

Good design is often invisible. It can also be the difference in persuading a one-time viewer to become a subscriber. Vimeo apps offer in-app subscriptions and payment services to build customer loyalty.

#5 Impactful Analytics

Knowing is half the battle. To grow your audience, you need to first understand the value of every subscriber. Clear metrics will help you succeed – it could be knowing how much time your audience spends with each piece of content, or what your average monthly revenue is per user. Vimeo OTT apps capture detailed data and analytics to help you to be more proactive in audience engagement.


Find out more about the essentials of launching a streaming video app and how it can become an audience-building tool in our report: “Streaming everywhere: the video app revolution.”

[Case Study] How ISC Sports Network blends live streaming with video subscriptions

When Greg Maish, President of ISC Sports Network, began using Vimeo Livestream, his goal was to live stream sports from around Indiana into the homes of surrounding communities. “We had this vision of a single place where people can come and see local sports,” he said. “We wanted it to be accessible and readily available, for all of our sports fans.”

In just four years, ISC Sports has grown from strictly live streaming games into a full-fledged online channel, using Vimeo OTT to offer live and on-demand sports content. Learn more about how Maish used Vimeo to scale his local sports business, grow his audience, and monetize video content in our interview below.

Growing from live streams to on-demand video

Working in telecommunications for most of his career, Maish understood the trajectory of cord-cutting behavior, especially those who opt into OTT content, or services that go “over the top” of traditional cable providers. “At the end of the day, we all are TV consumers — but we are also very much OTT consumers, whether it’s Roku, Amazon, Chromecast, or even on our mobile devices,” he said.

After digging into his viewers’ behavior in Vimeo Livestream’s analytics, Maish made an interesting discovery. Despite the in-the-moment experience of live sports, there was a surge in broadcast views after the events ended. “It’s an interesting dynamic. We’ll get maybe the same number of views that we get during the game itself,” he said.

With this intel, Maish saw an opportunity to grow his audience with OTT. “Vimeo OTT was the piece that was missing,” he said. “We wanted a ready-to-go, fully developed solution. It’s been a real easy way in [to the OTT industry],” he said, referring to the simple content management tools and branded apps available in the platform.

Generating and growing ad revenue with Vimeo

For many broadcasters, advertising is a critical source of revenue. Admittedly, “local sports is not always that easy to sell,” Maish said (ISC Sports competes with 10 Division I NCAA colleges in the Hoosier state). Using Vimeo OTT’s analytics, Maish was able to pinpoint the number of viewers his productions brought in, where those views came from, their watch time, and more.

“[The analytics] give us great feedback on stuff we would normally guess on,” he said, and unlike other television measurement models, the data is precise. “It’s not a guess, it’s not an estimation — it’s really what’s happening.” Providing quantitative data to advertisers, and subsequently guaranteeing that their product or service will be seen, makes for a straightforward transaction.

Tips to live stream sports

ISC Sports is a prime example of starting scrappy and scaling quickly. How did they achieve their success with building a local sports network in just four years?

1. Know your vision. “You’ve really got to have a vision when you get started,” he said, while acknowledging that it can (and likely will) change. “Ours has evolved over time.

2. Top-notch, reliable distribution. Your business won’t gain traction unless you’re broadcasting quality content to bring in and maintain viewership. “That’s where having a partner like Vimeo plays into our business strategy,” he said. “With Vimeo, we know that when we’re out streaming, it will work. It’s always just worked, and that’s been a key ingredient in our success.”

In the end, Maish remains invested in and reliant on Vimeo to support ISC because of the team behind the platforms. “One thing we’ve learned as both a community-facing service provider and from dealing with vendors, is that loyalty is everything to us,” he said. “If we feel secure in that relationship, we will preach it from the rooftops.”

“When a vendor does what they say they will do and they do it well, we will be vocal to say, ‘These are the guys you want.’ Looking at what we have with Vimeo, we will share the good news with anyone who needs to hear.”

Engaged audiences spark business growth

Through their highly-engaged audience and growing advertising base, ISC Sports now broadcasts all over Indiana. “Our production team continues to grow,” Maish said. “Even for a local game, we may have 10 guys there doing things. We’ve had to evolve into multiple crews, trying to cover as much as we can.”

Fortunately, as demand grows, so does ISC Sports’ bottom line. “What we’re spending is very manageable,” he said, referring to Vimeo’s Livestream and OTT price points. “[It’s] something we can not only pay for, but it makes it a profitable endeavor for us.”

Learn more about how to grow your business — and audience — with on-demand video in our guidebook, The 2018 OTT Revolution. By analyzing 1.3B consumer data points, we took the guesswork out of how viewers consume and subscribe to video content, empowering you to focus on expanding your reach and maintaining subscribers.