According to various sources, watching videos takes up around ⅓ of the total user activity online. Namely, the latest State of Video Marketing Survey finds that consumers spend on average, 1.5 hours a day watching videos online. Moreover, some 15% of respondents report watching over 3 hours of videos each day.
While pre-produced content represents a vast majority of this industry, there is a promising new segment definitely worth your attention – live video streaming apps.
Being a relatively new trend, real-time video streaming applications represent an outstanding opportunity for businesses across a number of domains. For example, by targeting a booming niche market such as health and fitness with a video streaming app, you can double your chances for success.
How to build a video streaming app? Is it even worth your effort? In this article, we will try to address those questions. But first, let’s consider the advantages of live video streaming for a fitness brand.
Video streaming app development in the fitness industry: A competitive advantage or a waste of time?
Video content and streaming are mostly considered to be a powerful marketing tool. If used properly, they can also bring tangible business results.
Namely, there are several ways a fitness brand can benefit from building a live video streaming app:
- Attracting new customers and improving attendance of the existing ones. Having a busy schedule makes it difficult to find time to actually go to the gym. You can have your trainer streaming workout videos, thus attracting more customers (or improving their attendance, even when they are at home).
- Customer engagement. Adding gamification features within your app (e.g. special events or bonuses that can be used to pay for services or goods at the fitness club) is a great way to improve customer engagement and make the experience more entertaining.
- Brand building. Research finds that 80% of your audience would choose a live video over a blog. As a result, a branded video streaming workout app (as well as the community of users that you will build around it) can be a great way to promote your business.
Such apps can be available as a paid subscription service, or they can be an extra option for existing premium customers. You can also add a marketplace where you can sell your products (fitness gear and merchandise). Alternatively, you can partner with other brands and offer paid promotion through in-app ads.
According to the data by Statista.com, YouTube, Facebook, and Snapchat are the undisputed leaders among the live video streaming platforms in the USA.
Leading live video streaming platforms in the United States, by reach (data from June and November 2016)
Of course, being a newcomer in such a competitive market is very daunting. Instead, there are smaller vacant niche markets you can target. Workout video streaming apps represent one of the most promising opportunities in this segment.
When applied specifically to fitness, live streaming apps can serve as a bridge between the instructors and athletes/fitness enthusiasts. Moreover, such apps are interactive. Users not only have access to the content but ask questions, get instant feedback, and connect with other users to communicate and motivate each other.
There are several outstanding live streaming fitness apps we’d like to mention here:
- One popular example of a video streaming workout app is ClassPass. The platform currently features 8,500 fitness studios that provide video classes through their subscription service.
The classes are available both on-demand and live. Users can book certain classes and watch the corresponding videos whenever they want or join a number of scheduled live workouts from a company’s in-house trainers. The online video streaming application also has powerful user community features.
- Yogaia has a similar concept, only focused on yoga classes. A subscription to this service provides access to both live and recorded videos. You can browse through the schedule of classes that will be streamed or choose some videos from the available videos in the library.
- Peloton went even further with its live video streaming. They offer a custom indoor bike equipped with a monitor for live riding sessions. The smart bike also offers a ton of performance insights into each of your rides thanks to a number of built-in sensors.
- Grokker has another interesting twist with their live streaming fitness app. In addition to streaming a workout video, users can also access hundreds of cooking videos. The app itself is a subscription service intended for maintaining the users’ well-being.
And the list of live streaming video applications in the fitness sphere is far from being complete.
The products described above, as well as the rest of the existing video streaming fitness apps, differ in terms of their core focus and intent. There are however certain features that all of them have in common.
Namely, here is a list of video streaming app features that can be used in fitness apps.
Basic video streaming app features
- User registration and login. In this case, social media login is preferred. Your app will be able to tie in other social networks and allow users to share links to their live streams later as a way to attract more users.
- User profile should include some personal information so the app can offer tailored video suggestions in the future. Also, you might need to introduce 2 types of profiles – the trainee and the trainer. A good idea would be to add some kind of rating to the trainers’ profiles to help trainees choose their trainer.
- Live video streaming is the key feature. The quality of the streamed video should be your priority. It is the most important factor, according to 67% of the viewers who watch live stream broadcasts. Video compression algorithms can solve this problem.
- In-app video storage allows users to download some of the video’s content to their devices and watch/rewatch it later. Trainers can also store their past live workouts on their profiles or share them personally with the trainees who weren’t able to participate.
Networking and communication features
- Real-time group chat or live comments enable direct dialog between the streamer and the audience, which can increase their length and frequency of engagement.
- Comments and discussions provide a way to communicate within a small group or provide feedback on the workout directly to the trainer after the stream has ended.
- A search feature could be really useful for users who want to explore more streams outside of their network. This can be search by geolocation, type of workout, etc.
- Users should have access to the schedule of the live events. For example, you can integrate it with their Google event calendar and add the classes they booked.
- Subscriptions and push notifications allow you to inform users about some recent news stories or updates. For example, trainees can subscribe to updates and new workout sessions from their favorite trainers. Or the app can simply remind them of the upcoming classes they have booked/scheduled.
- Allow users to support the streamer by donating money.
- Personal consultations can be offered as a premium feature for an additional cost. This can be one-on-one chats or closed user groups.
- Analytics can be used to monitor users’ preferences, time spent on channels, clicks on ads, and various other data sets obtained from certain user actions.
- By having this information at hand, you can add various personalization features. This will serve you in making your app more helpful and engaging. You can make suggestions to your users based on their activity or location, e.g. new classes, nearby athletic stores, health-conscious restaurants, etc.
Of course, there are dozens of other features you might add to your app to make it really unique and valuable to your specific audience. However, the above list represents a bare minimum of the functionalities that you should consider implementing in your video streaming fitness app.
Real-time video streaming apps are considered complex projects that require a certain amount of effort and time to build. To build the live streaming app that could boost your business, you will need to take certain steps.
Namely, we at Eastern Peak adhere to the following 7 step process when building mobile apps:
- Business vision. You need to know exactly how your business can benefit from the app. How do you make it stand out? What can you do to attract users?
- Functional specifications. This document will be developed together with your team, and should list all the features you want/need in your app.
- Tech stack. Choose the platform that best targets your market, and decide if you need a native or hybrid solution. The server architecture and database schema can also be created at this stage.
- App design. The designers will visualize your concept, creating the UX and UI for your app.
- Development. At this stage, all elements of the app are implemented, including all third-party integrations. We strongly recommended starting development with an MVP first to validate the concept and pivot, if needed, with minimum risk to your business.
- Testing. The app should be tested thoroughly to make sure there are no critical bugs or issues in the released product.
- Ongoing improvements and growth. After the app is published and you get your first user, it is time to watch, analyze, and implement the changes. Remember, there is always room for improvement.
As you can see, building a live video streaming application, as well as any other product, is not an easy task. It requires a good understanding of the process, solid tech skills, as well as domain-specific expertise. All of the listed stages include multiple steps that should be taken into account when developing a fitness app.
Right now you might have dozens of ideas about how your business can benefit from a video streaming app. The opportunities are endless! But where do you start?
Having a professional team of analysts, designers, and developers is exactly what you need if you want to bring your ideas to life. The goal is of course to do it well and with minimum risk to your existing business, and Eastern Peak can do that for you.
A high-quality app, perfectly aligned with your business strategy could be a huge competitive advantage, especially in such a saturated market as fitness and sports.
How to get started?
The product discovery phase is the best first step you can take to lay a solid foundation for the development of your app. It includes a functional specification, UX/UI design, and a visual prototype that will give you a clear vision of the end product. On average, this phase takes 4-6 weeks.
The product discovery phase can help you:
- define a full scope of work and develop a roadmap for the project
- set a realistic budget for your MVP and plan your resources
- test the waters with your audience using a visual prototype
- craft a convincing investment pitch
- get to know your team
Our team at Eastern Peak has the proven expertise in building fitness apps and IoT-enabled solutions in a number of domains, including health and fitness. Contact us today to book your free consultation with one of our project managers.