• Where Watch Apps Can Go Next

    Over the past year, a strong wind has blown in the sails of the TV Everywhere market. More content owners are making programming available on this increasingly popular platform and the content is finding an audience on programmer and operator apps across platforms. Adobe reports TV Everywhere and online video consumption is up 146% in the last year. Ad server company FreeWheel noted that 38% of all ad views on long-form and live content came from behind authentication walls. NBCU made a push for TV Everywhere education with its Super Stream Sunday that offered open access to its Super Bowl-related programming.

    Riding high on this growth, the industry should now focus on how to make the opportunity even bigger.  Based on our ongoing work with programmers and MVPDs on authenticated video, as well as our data analysis of sources such as watch app reviews, below is a sample of the strategies we think will help take watch apps to the next level:

    Access To Features Should Enable Continued Viewing
    Additional functionality enabled in watch apps should encourage continued viewing, not interrupt it.  There is an opportunity to expose additional features directly within the video player as content streams. According to Nielsen, more than 40 percent of mobile and tablet owners use their second screen while watching television. Keep users engaged in your content on the primary device and secondary device (when applicable) to maintain engagement. Nielsen research also shows that more than two-thirds of US users browse while viewing video, yet less than half have engaged in browsing related to the content they were watching. This gap represents a strong opportunity to increase experience stickiness through app capabilities.  

    Add More Social Features, And Make Sure They Are Easy To Use
    We have found users need more cues to features that are only available on digital, such as behind the scenes camera angles, or ability to bookmark content in order to share or visit again later. It should also be easy for users to contribute social comments from mobile, tablet and browsers, and prompt super and casual fans alike to engage by providing features that enhance the experience to accommodate varying levels of participation.

    Promote Deeper Character Connections
    Integrate third-party data that helps viewers learn more about favorite characters or actors, on and off-screen. This information can foster stronger emotional connections to characters, which motivates users to tune in more regularly. Make it easier for viewers to find and watch additional content starring those characters and stimulate conversation about the show with friends and family. The goal is for viewers to constantly engage with the show, between episodes or between seasons.

    Let Data Open New Paths For Engagement
    We are finding discovery and promotion can be optimized with richer segmentation and personalization of engagement promotion within and around the video experience.  Data can also be used to refine and measure marketing watch apps, and evaluate loyalty to characters, shows, and app features. Understanding viewing patterns enables tailored content offering and app capabilities that further increase loyalty. With more ancillary clips to promote for each show, this content can now be promoted based on specific viewer segments and informed by the same viewing insights.

    TV Everywhere watch apps have leapt to mainstream consumption, and the industry has just really scratched the surface of what is possible. Beyond engagement, there are also areas of opportunity around understanding loyalty and behavior, innovating with content, improving discovery and driving greater video ad revenue.

    Programmers and operators stand to benefit greatly by apps that are as sticky and engaging as they can be. The result? Better user acquisition and retention, as well as better capitalization on monetization opportunities.