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10 Essential Elements to Creating a Great Video Streaming App

From ad insertion to analytics, successful video app developers focus on more than just the content. Here’s a roadmap to creating a successful streaming app.

By Nadine Krefetz

streaming app

When Tim Cook introduced the new Apple TV in September by saying that “the future of TV is apps,” he was in Apple’s typical catch-up mode. TDG Research’s Joel Espelien said the future of TV is an app way back in 2013, and savvy video publishers have been pushing their content out via apps for years.

Still, Cook’s pronouncement adds weight to the notion that, if you’re a content owner who doesn’t yet have an app that works across multiple devices, it’s about time to fix that. We talked to experts across the gamut of the online video workflow to get their insights into what video publishers need to keep in mind as they create apps. And if you’ve already got an app, you might want to re-evaluate it in light of the suggestions that follow.

1. Define Your Product

“Create a crystal-clear consumer proposition for what it is that you are trying to achieve and stay laser-focused on that,” says Andrew Locke, vice president of product strategy at NBC News. ”Really think clearly about what that app on that platform is going to be used for.”

NBC News viewers want to be able to come in at 9:17 a.m. or 8:42 p.m. or 3 a.m. and not worry about what the broadcast schedule is or in what order they want to watch. So simply recreating the linear broadcast in an app wouldn’t serve viewers’ needs.

2. User Experience

Video app success comes as much from the user experience as from the content. This means paying attention to how your audience wants to navigate your content, from the menu structure to the player delivery to the type of content.

“We now have the long-waited-for convergence of mobile development and TV,” Locke says. “The capabilities of the platforms are greatly increased over what we had 12 or 18 months ago. We are able to envision features and experiment with things that wouldn’t have been possible before.”

Features trending this year include autoplaying on start, continuous playback, cross-platform viewer-created watchlists, live replay, push alerts, and server-side ad insertion. Users also expect an easy way to sign in and pay, as well as a big catalogue, where they can bookmark and list next episodes for watching.

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