Published July 25th, 2017
Over the top (OTT) television is changing the way people watch video. Whereas television screens were once used almost exclusively for linear TV, today’s viewers use may connected devices, media adaptors and Internet TV apps to consume digital content.
The average American, per eMarketer, watches more than 12 hours of OTT content each week. That figure is expected to grow to nearly 19 hours by 2020.
From a consumer perspective, this growth shouldn’t come as a surprise. OTT is a convenient medium, one highly immersive and tailored to the viewer’s tastes in terms of content and advertising.
Broadcasters and content owners can no longer reach their audiences solely through traditional channels. They need OTT offerings that enable viewers to access their preferred content on any device, anytime.
Unfortunately, building a good OTT app can be easier said than done. Throughout the development process, video publishers must navigate a number of key choices that will ultimately make or break their execution.
1. Be Where Your Target Audience Is
The always-connected consumer is driving cultural changes in content consumption that impact how companies connect with and engage consumers. Chances are, your audience watches OTT content across a massive number of mobile devices, smart TVs, consoles and media adapters.
To be successful, you need one app for each device. The right digital agency can provide a future-proof template solution that allows you to quickly get to market with personalized apps for a variety of digital environments.
Once you’re up and running, this technology lets you seamlessly launch new channels across multiple devices, as well as \publish and monetize content with a tailored template.
2. Personalization Is The Key To Engagement
A critical ingredient to OTT success is establishing a one-to-one relationship with consumers that turns viewers into enthusiastic “fans,” those more passionate than your average loyal subscriber.
By creating a user profile for every viewer, you can deliver personalized recommendations that guide customers through a potentially overwhelming content library.
These users return to your properties every day, creating a cycle that allows you to learn more about your customers and deliver highly personalized experiences. This means monetizing your service more effectively and broadly.
3. Each Screen Has Its Own Unique User Environment
In OTT, every screen you stream presents the user with a unique viewing experience. For instance, the relatively large size of TV screens creates a much more immersive environment for users, making these devices perfect for long-form content and binge watching.
Tablets and smartphone devices allow content providers to take advantage of interactive features not found on the big screen. Mobile devices are also a great place to stream short-form content tailored to the individual user.
Each device is likely to have different kinds of people watching. For instance, kids and Millennials watch video almost exclusively on tablets and smartphones. Tailor accordingly.
4. Help Audiences Find Your Content
Even if you have quality content and a great user experience, your app won’t be worth much if no one knows it exists. Buy promoted placements on the homepages of OTT platforms like Roku. This gets your app in front of viewers at the precise moment they’re deciding what to watch next.
It’s also important to open additional lines of communication beyond the OTT channels. By establishing email contact, you can drive repeat viewership by letting people know when you’ve added new content to the app.
5. The Way To Measure Success
Consumers are extremely sophisticated about the quality of the video services they use. With access to more video than ever before on any device, people expect a more personalized service and a flawless viewing experience. If you fail to meet these expectations, viewers won’t return.
It’s important to measure how many people are watching your content, how long they’re engaging for, and how smoothly they’re receiving your video feed. If users encounter buffering every time they try to stream your content, they’re not going to stick around.
OTT is a fast-moving space where content owners need to remain flexible in order to keep up with the latest innovations and consumer trends.
More Americans are using more devices, regardless of age. Which age group is most keen on what varies and could have a profound effect on the future of devices.
In general, smartphones are the most pervasive technology measured among all age groups, according to new data from measurement company Nielsen, which tracks American households that have TVs.
Seventy-three percent of people aged 2 to 20, known as Generation Z, have video game consoles, 7 percentage points more than the next-most-likely gamers, millennials. Generation Z is also fondest of tablets, with 78 percent having one in their homes. But as Gen Z is still so young, it’s possible they’ll lessen their video game and tablet habits as they grow up. People between 2 and 20 account for 26 percent of Americans and is the most racially diverse age group.
Millennials (age 21-37) are the most likely to have access to video-on-demand services like Netflix. Relatedly, they’re most likely to own multimedia devices — technology like Chromecast or Apple TV that streams online content onto TVs.
PCs are most popular among Generation X (age 38-52), 85 percent of whom have one in their homes.
The only device measured that saw substantial declines among all age groups was, unsurprisingly, DVD players. Still, DVD players are available in 62 percent (millennials) to 81 percent (boomers, age 53-70) of households.
Smart TVs and multimedia devices are the least pervasive gadgets among all age groups, but they’re still relatively new. They also have very high growth rates (24 percent to 31 percent year over year).
May 06, 2020
By Ramon Duivenvoorden, Chief Commercial Officer at 24i
The key to producing consumer products cost-effectively is mass-customization. We’ve certainly come a long way since you could have a Ford in any colour as long as it’s black, but a modern car manufacturer will not give you a huge number of product variables – yes, you can choose a colour other than black, and you’ll be able to buy a sports pack, or upgrade the in-car entertainment system, but the car OEM will probably decide whether the model you want has a spoiler!
In many ways, software development has followed a similar path – the developer has decided what the solution set should be for a given problem, built a product around that solution set and allowed some level of customization around that.
Over time, additional features are required that go beyond the level of customization allowed in the original product specification. Pretty quickly under this development paradigm, the client has a system that’s no longer based on a solid code-base, so it cannot benefit from roadmap upgrades, shared innovation and maintenance. At the same time, they also have a system that lacks the benefits of custom development such as full control over code and feature set.
This is how media entertainment apps have traditionally been developed, and we think it’s broken. Fortunately, there’s another way.
Over the last 2 or 3 years, we’ve striven to base 24i product development on what we call Customer Centric principles.
As you might guess the overarching philosophy is to put the customer first, but in reality, what does this actually mean?
We’ve boiled this down to a number of principles that we adhere to in how we think about s/w development and build products, as follows:
So, how does this work in practice? As an example, one of our clients wanted to move from a profit to a non-profit model. The consumers using their app could move from a subscription model to a ‘single charitable donation for life’ model. There are complex rules that have to be adhered to when you’re accepting charitable donations – if this customer had been with a traditional developer, the switch would have needed a lot of new code, too much time and money, and potentially compromise the architectural integrity of the application. This is assuming they did not select an out-of-the-box vendor that would simply decline the request for the new flows.
Because our app was built on micro-services, with a minimum of dependency between the services, we were able to replace the components that needed to change and make the switch in weeks. More importantly, we enabled this change without a branch in the client’s code, so that moving forward they continue to gain from future 24i product roadmap developments.
I believe that sooner or later virtually every client has specific needs that are critical for their business. Yet, at the same time, most requirements are common between all streaming media businesses. Our Customer Centric approach based upon micro-services means that we can deliver scale, innovation and stability on these common needs, while offering the freedom to break free for that custom 5% that enables our customers to set themselves apart from the competition or fulfill unique business needs.
We know that customer-centric development based upon micro-services is the way to go – but it’s not necessarily obvious to potential customers how great an advantage this is, until they need to make a key pivot in business model, or another customized change is the one that breaks this particular camel’s back. Which is why I’m writing this blog!
If you would like to know more about our approach to Customer Centric development, please get in touch - and look out for upcoming blogs from 24i CTO Pavel Jacko who will discuss the technical principles in more depth.
Contact us today to find out 24i can help you scale and extend your OTT streaming services
Apr 06, 2020
In just a few weeks, all our lives have needed to adapt to a new way of working - in the broadest sense of the word. The focus of our work has had to shift several times already and is sure to change again as the needs of our customers and their subscribers change.
We are all adapting to working at home, each having our own very individual environments and complications. From finding space for additional TVs for development and testing, to combining conference calls with home schooling, or even simply adjusting our situation after the workday ends. We need to work on staying connected with each other while practicing social distancing and, most of all, we must stay safe.
These circumstances can bring out the 'Darwinian' in all of us. Since founding 24i over 10 years ago, our team has always used shifts in consumer behaviour to accelerate, adapt and innovate. Little did we know that change would take on such a dramatically new perspective in 2020.
I could not be more proud of how the entire Amino and 24i family is showing strength and solidarity during this new kind of disruption. Not only are we helping each other to stay connected but also providing extra support to our customers and communities while keeping ourselves and our families safe at home. It is not a surprise, but certainly inspiring, that some of our team have put technology to work to help their local communities tackle the COVID-19 virus where they can. In many countries, there is a problem with a shortage of protective tools, especially in the medical field. In our Brno office, in the Czech Republic, we have a team working together with Industra Lab to 3D print protective face shields for hospital medical staff, dentists and paediatricians. We have already printed over 60 shields and we are looking to find ways to accelerate the process so we can get more into the field.
While we may not be on the frontline fighting this terrible virus, we are doing what we can within our communities and by helping our customers provide streaming video services. Through these efforts, we hope to make the lives of the people now staying home a little bit more comfortable.
Finally, I look forward to when we can meet in person and look back on how this truly testing time has brought us together, made us take greater care of each other, and inspired us to use technology and creativity to innovate for a better future.
Until then, thank you and stay safe.
Martijn van Horssen, Joint-CEO, 24i
Apr 23, 2020
It’s probably not a great surprise that most stats published recently show that video viewing is up overall in countries enduring a COVID-19 induced lockdown. But if you look more closely at the stats three distinct patterns emerge: ● Daytime viewing is performing really well - primarily powered by large upticks in news and kid’s programming ● Live video growth is outperforming the growth in VoD and streaming - primarily driven by news ● Operators and content owners are trying new business models, such as ‘straight to streaming’ for new movies.
Daytime video viewing
While overall viewing has increased, one of the biggest trends has been a resurgence in daytime viewing. Because the effects of the global pandemic are having far-reaching impacts across the economic and political spectrums, news channels are seeing a major increase in viewership figures. Meanwhile, with social restrictions forcing schools to close down, kids have been turning to their favourite channels to pass the time. Streaming platforms are seeing increased viewership.
AT&T highlighted that CNN daytime viewership increased 150% in the week commencing 16 March compared to last year, meanwhile, on Monday, March 16 (the first full weekday following actions taken by many local and state governments to begin enforcing social distancing measures across the US) Fox News, MSNBC and Fox Business all experienced significant double-digit increases. A Nielsen analysis report also showed that consumers are increasingly gravitating to local news outlets to stay informed about the impact of the pandemic on their communities.
As governments are continuing to give daily updates on their efforts to address the virus and advise their citizens on the next course of action, it is likely that we will continue to see a rise in news consumption as people tune into their trusted channels for ongoing information about the world around them. And it’s not just news that’s enjoying a surge in popularity, with family-oriented programming channels also enjoying strong audience growth, with reports of TeenNick almost tripling and total time spent watching the network increasing 171%, DisneyXD and Nicktoons daytime viewing up over 60% with Nick Jr. and the Disney Channel up around 30%.
Live video viewing is rising fast
The Havas Media Group COVID-19 Media Behaviours Report found that in the UK 48% of people are watching more live TV than they did before lockdown, with around 40% watching more video on demand and streaming services. The report also showed that Live TV has a 40%+ upswing in all age groups, whereas streaming and VOD growth was concentrated in the younger age groups. Havas also reported strong TV growth for TV viewing in the other regions monitored, including France, Germany Italy and China.
In the USA, reports are showing total viewing hours up for live TV, driven upwards through an increase in total news viewing by over 70%.
New business models
Operators and content distributors are once again finding the truth of necessity being the mother of invention, with changes to schedules and business models.
Discussing the challenge of lockdown viewing, Ryan Chanatry, general manager of Topic, a popular OTT streaming service powered by 24i, told us that he is producing a limited series comedy special, to lighten people’s spirits and has been able to rearrange its programming schedule to launch a few high-profile and most binge-worthy dramas and comedies earlier than initially planned.
Another interesting trend is looking afresh at movie windows, with some studios trying ‘straight to streaming’ release windows. Reporting on this trend, Colin Dixon of nScreen Media discussing NBCU pressing ahead with PVOD, wrote: “It (NBCU) released Trolls World Tour direct to digital on April 10, and the move seems to have paid off. The $20 rental generated $2-$3 million on the first day of release in the U.S. and could be headed to outstrip Avengers: Endgame first week of digital availability.”
Our customers are enjoying viewing uplifts, in some cases much higher than the figures reported above. At Amino and 24i we continue to work hard to support our broadcast clients to work as effectively and efficiently as possible and that our OTT and streaming customers can readily scale in line with demand.
I’m looking forward to watching how these trends will play-out and if they will permanently affect business models as well as enabling us all to view what we want, when we want, at home, at work or on the move; long after the COVID-19 lockdown is over.