Creating a Netflix-like streaming service
4 min read
Cultpix is а new global film streaming service for vintage cult films
June 2020 - Nowadays
OVERVIEW In midsummer 2020 we were approached by a very inspired team of movie enthusiasts. Little did we know those were not just movies, that was going to be a completely new experience. The experience we didn’t even know we wanted. Movies we didn’t know we loved.
The initial amount was just 80 movies. So, we thought, that’s just a few, it’s gonna be a piece of cake. Over the development time, however, the amount skyrocketed and hit an impressive 500. Now you can enjoy all of them being uploaded on the website. After only a year Cultpix has become one of the biggest streaming services for vintage films in Sweden with huge potential globally.
With full-stack development used you can now search for your favorite movies by genre and upload date, read the blog to learn more about production and directors. A few payment options are installed and are working smoothly and securely.
The development for the streaming service is ongoing, we continue to upload more pieces, add features that would not just create a “get you movie and get out” kids of experience but a community of movie enthusiasts.
THE IDEA There is an audience that loves different movies, movies that are older, weirder, harder to find. Cultpix was thought of as a one-stop solution. Here you can find rare films, adult films, amateur films, there’s no need to look all over the internet for each one. Using customized solutions, viewers can search for different genres, learn about the movies through the blog. One of the goals of the project is to create a community of film buffs worldwide. What started as a simple viewing platform is also becoming an educational source with more interactive features. Cultpix offers high-level security, where customers' data is stored safely. Cultpix is not censored in terms of nudity or violence. However, it offers certain restrictions in terms of viewers' age and location.
THE CHALLENGES Restrictions Part of the content on the site is only allowed for adult users. We had the challenge to block everything necessary. We added a feature allowing admins to hide movies for some countries. Also, the feature provides а possibility to show some movies only in some countries. It braces on the country's rules.
Optimization /scaling We started from the idea to build a small streaming service with 80 movies for a small number of people. But it has become a big site for more than 2000 users with huge potential. We had to change the Admin dashboard as we didn’t expect so many users in such a short period of time.
Payment The payment task was a bit challenging. The Stripe account wasn’t verified completely on the day of release. But we solved the issue.
Authorization The main service for sending SMS that we use for login unexpectedly failed for some period of time. We quickly came up with a backup option for login on the site.
Payment After getting the website out in the world, we overlooked the fact that Stripe only worked in the dev version, not in production. Therefore, the payments could not be processed right after launch. Stripe needed time to review the Cultpix website before approving purchases in production. Problem identification only took about 2 hours, however, the solution was out of our hands and took a few days.
Scaling What was expected to be a small website with only 80-100 movies uploaded, suddenly grew exponentially and required rapid development. Initially, the tech wasn’t ready for such scaling, therefore, a full refactoring of the admin panel was necessary pretty early on. This process took about 2-3 weeks during the second iteration.
Authorization Firebase failed to send authorization codes via SMS. For this particular problem, we have used an additional service Twillio. Since the initial realization was already done on a different project, this process took about a week. After some time Firebase stabilized and using two services created a very smooth authorization process.
TIMING The first iteration took a bit longer than expected - about 6 months, there was a 1.5 months break when the customers just went back to perfect the idea and get a better vision of a product. We spent 3 months on development and the rest of the time on QA and tidying the design up. The second iteration took a whole summer, this time QA only took about 2 weeks. Now we are on our third iteration with very active development by the new developer on the project. It is about to go into production once QA is done.
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