It’s no surprise that programmers and content owners are racing to launch various apps showcasing their content across multiple devices via mobile and streaming platforms such as Roku, Amazon Fire, Apple TV, and Smart TVs. With the Pay TV industry continuing to decline, losing 976k subscribers in Q2 alone, this is the necessary step every programmer will need to take in order to evolve their business and remain relevant in today’s ever-changing world of entertainment.
Now that launching an OTT or TVE service is a required part of the business, what’s next? You launch your app, then what? PR, marketing, acquisition, and retention are all a part of your strategy, but how does your app get featured? What’s the importance of a featured app? I can recall countless meetings with platforms discussing marketing strategy and tactics, and the #1 question was, and will always be, how do we get our app featured on the home screen? Although everyone wants to be near the Netflixs, Hulus, and HBOGos of the world, getting featured, and staying featured is not always that easy. What some may not realize, these apps took many critical steps to become featured, and it took more than just asking for prime placement to get there.
The key to a featured app is not only building a high-quality app that viewers will enjoy and flock to (viewing and downloading metrics are still valued) but when building your app, it’s important that you launch a Native App. What does a Native app exactly mean? It means exactly what it sounds like. An app that is Native to that platform. Basically, an app that is designed as if the platform designed it itself. From a marketing perspective, brand consistency is key, but it’s also important that each one of your apps take advantage of the features that lie within the platform. For example, there may be features available via iOS that are not necessarily available via Samsung TV (and vice versa). Platforms really value and take this into account when not only launching your app but taking the time to have it featured. With more than 2 million apps available in the Apple App Store alone, having a featured app is marketing gold and more than justifies the ROI when building natively.
Imagine walking into a store with over 2 million different products. Wouldn’t you want that “Front of Store” prime placement (or maybe even the window)? Do you really think someone will find your product if it is hidden in the back of the store? With U.S. Consumers now spending 5 hours per day on mobile devices, with the majority of the time spent on Facebook, viewing entertainment and gaming, very little time is spent on searching for apps. So why not go that extra mile and build an app that is not only valuable to your user but even valuable to the platform you launched on.
More and more app developers are springing up every day, making the competition fierce. However, it’s important to pay attention to the types of apps they are building. Sure they can fire you up, and have you launched in 2 weeks, for a super cheap rate, but can they build natively, and maintain the heart of your brand? As the age old saying goes, “you get what you pay for,” and why pay for something that may not even provide your users with a quality experience, and why build something that a platform like Apple or Roku may not even want to feature. Going that extra mile and doing it right, is key to your business. Remember, apps are no longer just a supplement to what you are offering. They are the future!