It’s in the script for every OTT service with an app for phones and tablets: “your favorite shows are now available anytime, anywhere!” It’s in the script because marketers know that “available anytime, anywhere” is what audiences want. Their impulse to make this promise is the right one, and it may induce an initial consumer engagement. But failing to deliver on that promise will quickly frustrate users and potentially increase churn. Saying it does not make it reality.
The reality is that offering a mobile app isn’t enough. While it’s a step in the right direction, an app alone doesn’t ensure that your content is available anytime, anywhere—because in many cases connectivity issues can make streaming impossible. Enhancing your streaming app by adding download truly allows 24/7/365 availability. Download enables users to watch online or offline, making it the missing ingredient to increasing viewer engagement—because in order to engage, the first thing you have to be is available.
Anytime, anywhere availability is the big lie of the streaming industry.
Creating a cloud-based OTT service with a quality CDN does not suffice when your viewers leave their home or office or are on the move. If we are honest as an industry, your favorite shows aren’t available to stream anytime and anywhere, such as:
- When you’re on a flight.
- When you’re traveling by car, bus, train, or boat.
- When you’re walking around town and in new office environments.
And if they are available in these scenarios, you are probably relying on insecure Wi-Fi or spotty and expensive cellular data.
What's even more frustrating for users is that they think that content is available, but when they hit play, they experience low quality, choppy video, with frequent interruptions for buffering.
I would wager that the people making overblown promises of their content’s availability understand that connectivity issues plague the industry. No one wants to talk about it, though, hoping that consumers won't notice—or hoping that a future technology like 5G will make it go away.
Consumers have noticed, though, and 5G won’t be able to fix these issues anytime soon. Download, on the other hand, can fix them now.
Fixing your priorities can turn the big lie into a valuable truth.
Industry leaders like Amazon, Netflix, Showtime, and Starz have already embraced download—in fact, some are already enhancing their download offerings with additional features like subscription. But some video service providers continue to prioritize the living room over the mobile experience—while others focus narrowly on streaming. They are missing the boat.
If you focus only on the living room experience (via traditional cable or devices like Roku, smart TVs, etc.), you risk missing out on the explosive growth of mobile video. If you are focused on mobile, but prioritize streaming alone, you’re missing out on a huge opportunity to satisfy your audience’s desire for true “anytime, anywhere” viewability and to maximize engagement.
Serving mobile users with streaming and download is the key to your future growth. If you fail to offer both, your proclamation that your video is available anytime, anywhere will remain a lie. A gorgeous streaming mobile app does not make up for the user experience crisis caused by connectivity problems. Your beautiful app is worthless to your viewers when they lose their connection to the internet. And this crisis will become a bigger problem for you as more of your competitors solve it and continue to increase their user engagement metrics, while your user engagement lags behind. The fastest and surest way to make a big impact on customer engagement is to add download to a streaming service.