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OTT App Development: In-House vs. Outsourcing: Which is Better for Your Business?

OTT apps are new ways for businesses to connect with their customers after bypassing middlemen. These apps are becoming more popular with every passing day as customers are also shifting towards digital media consumption from traditional broadcasting models.

If you are considering using your video content to communicate with your customers, you can do so easily with your custom OTT app. You can get the app developed in one of two ways: either you build it in-house with the help and input from your IT team, or you transfer the task to third-party OTT app development services. This post will talk about the pros and cons of each approach, together with the factors you must consider to reach a decision.

Does Your Business Need an OTT App?

Over-the-top (OTT) apps are meant to deliver video content screens via an app installed there. Of course, they don’t need cable TV to provide the service.

OTT apps are considered a profitable investment for many industries, including entertainment, sports, e-learning, and health and wellness. The popularity of these apps has prompted some businesses to build their entire business model around them. Others only maintain an OTT app as a marketing and marketing research channel.

Not every business in these industries would require an OTT app to survive in its niche market or retain customers. For example, an e-learning instructional design team will not need this app to communicate with the businesses it plans to serve. In short, an OTT app can be integral to the health of some businesses, and for others, it might be unnecessary.

Here are some factors businesses must consider before deciding if developing an app will be in their best interests.

These curious business managers should think about what portion of their business is strictly online. If they are working on a brick-and-mortar model, their first step in the digital world shouldn’t be OTT but a stable and lasting digital presence.

Secondly, they should consider their competitors. How many of their direct competitors are moving to this marketing channel? Look at the numbers. Are they moving with this trend? Here, the manager should be concerned if they can retain their existing market share without investment.

The third concern should be about growth and profitability. Will the business attract more customers and higher profits with an OTT app? If yes, would the cost of launching and maintaining it be offset by the additional profit?

Answering these questions should help you decide whether or not you should get an OTT app.

Should You Develop OTT App In-House or Outsource?

Now that you have decided that your business will benefit from an OTT app, the next question arises about how to get it developed. You can start with an in-house software and IT team and develop it with the right talent to deliver the quality required for the OTT app. Or you can simply hire a third-party app developer specializing in OTT apps.

Note that both processes have pros and cons. Depending on your situation, you may decide that you can bear the cons of one process and stay away from the cons of the other. Let’s first consider the two options together, along with their advantages and disadvantages. After that, don’t forget to learn the factors you must consider when choosing one option over the other.

Keep the Team In-House

This option allows you to develop the app at your own pace and on your terms without taking standardized or generic solutions from third-party developers.


Here are the key benefits you will get from this approach:

Faster Communication

Your in-house team will be situated in the same building as you, allowing you to schedule meetings, send memos, and hop on the phone with them easily. This ease of communication means efficient processes and a better feedback loop.

Your Control

A faster feedback loop means the app development is monitored and controlled at every step. This means that the code aligns with the internal software standards from as low as the code unit level.

Shared Vision

Although faster processes and reduction of bottleneck processes are the primary benefits of faster communication that can only happen when the operations are kept within the business, in-house projects offer one benefit that is missing from the outsourcing option: control. Simply put, the manager can communicate their visions better with teams with which they are familiar and meet more often.

Building up Knowledge Bank

Custom OTT app development is a demanding project, and it will require the team to step out of their comfort zone and learn new technologies and coding hacks. Consequently, they will learn new skills and build the organization’s knowledge bank for future projects.

At the same time, the development team will have proximity to the code and the working model of the app. In turn, they can help the marketing and content teams with the best practices that will foster viewer engagement, multiplying marketing efficiency.


The cons of keeping the development process in-house aren’t many, but they have a mightier impact on the project’s health.

Lack of Technical Talent

The business will have to start with a generic team that is either not trained in app development or, if it’s skilled in this area, has no idea of an OTT app, which is trickier to build.

Subsequently, the business’s first task is to hire the right talent and train and induct them into the team. Note that this team will only be useful for the project when it has already bonded as a team, and it may take up to a week. Add the training cost and time, and only the initial stage of the project can be delayed for a month or so.

High Costs

Costs are the biggest drawback to keeping this task in-house. The first cost relates to team building and retention. If you add in the fact that most members of this team will only work temporarily or until the app is developed, the cost rises even higher.


Against the pros and cons of keeping an in-house app development team, outsourcing has its set of pluses and minuses.


Here is how external teams help businesses.  

Lower Costs

When businesses outsource their development projects, they recruit the relevant talent and expertise from the team instantly, saving on the costs of recruiting and training new employees.


These teams specialize in OTT app development services and have developed standard programming practices and methodologies to deliver the app. This experience and learning make them efficient at their craft.

Risk Management

Their experience in the field allows them to troubleshoot problems as they arise. Similar teams can also manage bigger risks and challenges because of the talent and equipment support that comes from their organizations.

Higher Quality

Specialization allows these teams of programmers to know best practices and the latest tools to deploy in app development processes. This utilization results in a better quality of the program. Besides, because these developers know the efficiency and effectiveness of every line of code they use, they produce high-quality products with fewer errors and high scalability.


Outsourcing might be a more cost-efficient and reliable option, but it’s not free from issues. Here are some cons to choosing it:

Communication Barriers

More often than not, external teams have offices at a distance from the businesses for which they work. In modern times, their time zones may also differ. These differences may cause a communication gap and slow down the feedback loop, and the business’s control over the project may suffer.

Human Factor

When businesses outsource website development tasks, they face the risk of miscommunicating their brand because the external teams may not understand the business’s vibe and image. The same holds for app development: the developer may not wrap their heads around the significance of this app for business or its impact on the lives of app users. In the end, the final product fails to leave the mark it intended to leave with its presence.  

Factors to Consider When Choosing Between the Options

You can see that both approaches have different advantages and disadvantages. However, discussing these generic issues may not help you decide the approach that will work best for you. Instead, you should think about what is required by your business. Here are some questions you should ask yourself when deciding on the right option:

Significance of App for Your Business

If the app is central to your business operations, allowing you to earn subscription money or educate your students through it, you may consider building an app in-house to avoid the risk of not meeting quality standards.

Unique Feature

Does the app promise a new feature that is beyond current market trends? If yes, you wouldn’t want to let this feature be stolen. Your best bet, in this case, is to keep the program, its vision, and its features under wraps.

Time to Launch

How long is the app development phase? If you need to launch it sooner, you may decide to outsource the process of development.

Wrapping Up

When it comes to developing OTT apps, businesses have two different approaches. They may choose to build an in-house team and delegate the project to it. Or they can choose to hire an external team and benefit from their efficiency and knowledge bank. This post talks about the pros and cons of both approaches.

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