How Much Does it Cost to Build an OTT App?

By The Zype Team on August 22, 2019

OTT (over-the-top) means film or TV content provided through internet rather than cable or satellite. We equate OTT with the giants: Hulu, Amazon Prime, Netflix, HBO Go, and standalone network apps like NBC, ABC, Comedy Central, and we watch on Roku, Apple TV, Chromecast, Amazon Fire TV, and more.

A smaller video publisher might be questioning, how could they afford their own version of what’s out there?

The cost to build an OTT app varies, but the short answer is that it can be affordable and is worth tapping into.

Here are the common options from most expensive to least:

1) In-house developers and designers: $500,000+ yearly salaries

In-house is a wonderful option for enterprises with lots of specific needs and the budget to accommodate them. However, this approach comes with risks: the salaries alone can add up to half a million dollars a year or more, and reducing these costs will be difficult without letting valued team members go.

While the most expensive option in the long run, this allows for complete control over the roadmap, and someone sitting in the same office, understanding the intricacies and needs of the business.

2) Create a custom app: $100,000-$200,000 per device + MoM maintenance

This is the average cost to outsource a development and design team for one device, be it through an agency or freelance team. Creating an app on multiple devices (Roku, Apple TV, Chromecast, Amazon Fire TV, etc.) could cost over a million dollars.

The pro of a custom app is having every feature and capability your heart desires. Also, a full service agency often includes initial user research, design and development, and marketing strategies, which is an excellent service to understand your end users and be able to implement smart marketing tactics. It’s important to note that continued costs would incur for app maintenance and updates.

3) Use a platform: $12,000-$60,000/year for all platforms inclusive of maintenance

A platform is the fastest and easiest option, but potentially has the most constraints to the design, which is why you need to find a platform that can serve your needs.

If you’re looking for a full-package OTT app at an affordable price, a service like MAZ is your best bet. With high-end tested formats, AVOD and SVOD monetization options, marketing tools, and on-going maintenance included, it checks off all the boxes to make the process easy. Or check out additional platform options in the space.


For any video publisher, the use of a platform is a great way to test the waters without an incredible investment.

4) Roku Direct Publisher: Free


Of course it only works for Roku, but Roku Direct Publisher does make a basic Roku app for free, inclusive of ads, minimal display customization, analytics, and continued maintenance. Though quite limited comparatively, for a small business or individual interested in understanding their options more – it’s a great tool.


All options come with a variety of pros and cons to consider. We believe in the power of OTT. We are seeing the future of television develop right before our eyes, and we think it’s an environment that any publisher, big or small, should be able to tap into and benefit from. If the idea of utilizing a platform has caught your eye – reach out to MAZ, we are trusted by hundreds of niche brands and the biggest legacy brands in the world. Get on OTT today.


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