nScreenMedia OTT multiscreen media analysis

Television as an app a growing problem for video providers

video apps

It seems like we have been talking about television as an app for a very long time. Now it is happening content providers like Tennis Channel, Sling TV and Starz can finally create an experience custom-made for their content, and reap the bounties of a direct relationship with the viewer. Unfortunately, there is one aspect othis revolution that probably has TV content providers longing for the simplicity of the pay TV world.

Video content providers are beginning to recognize the benefits of delivering content online with an app. These include:

  • An environment specifically built to deliver and promote the content
  • An opportunity to deepen a viewer’s engagement with both the TV shows and the brand delivering them
  • The ability to gather unprecedented amounts of user data which can used to improve every facet of the video delivery business.

Little wonder that the rush is on to build TV apps for every platform a customer might be using. Just this week there have been a raft of announcements of app availability on new connected devices.

Tennis Channel announced its TV Everywhere app and standalone service Tennis Channel Plus is now available on Amazon Fire TV, Fire TV Stick and Fire Tablets. These services are already available on web browsers, iOS and Android devices, Roku devices and Apple TV. One of the reasons Amazon support was delivered after all the other platforms was because the devices are powered by a separate version of Android incompatible with other Android products.

Sling TV also announced it was extending its service to Amazon tablets, including the Fire HD and HDX. The service already supports many platforms, including: Amazon Fire TV and Fire TV stick, iOS, Android, Roku devices and the Android TV powered Nexus player.

Starz Play is already available on a wide variety of platforms including: Amazon Fire TV and Fire TV stick, iOS, Android, Kindle Fire and Nook tablets, and Xbox game consoles. This week the company announced its TV Everywhere app is now available on Roku streaming media players and Roku-powered TVs.

By now, your eyes are probably glazing over with the long list of devices supported by each service. And you are probably wondering why the fact that a service supports another device or two is newsworthy at all?

Simply put, creating all the apps necessary to deliver content to all the connected devices customers are using is a nightmare. Often it requires dozens of versions and variants of an app to just cover the basic set of platforms. This is why content providers are forced to deliver their apps slowly, platform by platform in a painstaking process over a period of months and even years. Little wonder many are longing for the days when one linear channel was all it took to delivery everywhere!

For content providers, the promised benefit of the “appification” of television has turned into a Faustian bargain. One in which the benefits of app delivery must be offset against the complexities of app creation, delivery and maintenance.

Luckily, there are now many companies that can help content providers build and deliver apps on just about every connected device out there. In fact, there are so many of these companies that nScreenMedia will be releasing a free white paper next month that compares some of the top providers in the space, including BottleRocket, Accedo, 1Mainstream, Neulion, DigiFlare, Piksel and Ratio. To be one of the first to receive this white paper email us today with your contact details.

Why it matters

The “appification” of television provides many benefits to content providers.

However, the benefits come at a price. Content providers need to create, deliver and maintain dozens of apps to reach the majority of the audience.

A whole industry has grown up around supporting content providers in the creation of the apps.


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