The recent popularity of streaming services is creating exciting and new opportunities for many businesses. Additionally, the digitisation processes accelerated by the pandemic make OTT apps develop even more and become an important field for new audiences who are connected to their smart TVs.
In this article, created with Better Software Group, we discuss possible use cases and growth opportunities for OTT apps in the coming years.
OTT app as a marketing channel
New user habits mean that customers often expect similar capabilities and experiences from their Smart TVs as they do from devices such as laptops and tablets. This customer expectation is driving the growth of the TV app industry, offered on platforms such as Roku and Apple TV. TV sets, which are home entertainment centres, are also increasingly being used by people to browse the internet. Because of this, Smart TV is becoming another new sales and distribution channel for all kinds of companies and brands. Moreover, thanks to its form, this channel has the potential to offer consumers an interesting and convenient shopping experience. In the case of clothing brands, for example, advertising or shopping on a large TV with good resolution can help customers display products in better quality and sizes close to the real ones.
An example of a brand using OTT is Red Bull, known for its interesting marketing activities. The brand has its own Red Bull TV app, which is mainly used to broadcast sporting events in which the company is involved. In this way, the company has ensured that it is more recognisable to potential customers and engages its loyal community. Red Bull TV can be found in every major app store, is regularly updated, and is meticulously increasing its presence in the market. Interestingly, it is currently supported on more devices than the HBO app.
It is worth mentioning that OTT streaming apps can use various e-commerce integrations to help take product placement to the next level. An example would be Prime Video’s well-known X-Ray feature, which scans a film or series and provides information about the actors that can be seen in a particular scene. This type of functionality could be used for e-commerce, providing in the displayed information, for example, a link to a shop that sells a suit in which we see the actor playing the character of James Bond in a selected scene. An X-Ray-type feature has a very high marketing potential and could be particularly desirable for video productions with a lot of product placement.
Amazon’s X-Ray shows movie info when you hit pause
Having an OTT app available on various Smart TV platforms can be a marketing asset, even if it is not used very frequently. Simply displaying the brand on the TV screen in the app store next to well-known and liked brands such as Netflix or Prime Video, can help you stand out from your competitors. What’s more, it sends a message to consumers that as a brand, you care about your customers and meet their demands and needs.
OTT app as a sales channel
The central position and the large space that the television occupies in the average home result in this device being associated with entertainment and pleasant leisure activity. From a sales point of view, this can be exploited by trying to capture the user’s attention during relaxation, when they actually have time to browse products and consider the shops’ offerings.
Below are a few examples illustrating how the OTT channel can be helpful.
Holiday booking apps
The holiday decision-making process can be demanding and time-consuming. Especially if many people, e.g., in a family or group of friends, are directly involved. A convenient solution in this situation can be a booking application displayed on a TV, around which all those involved can gather. This minimises the time and effort spent searching for a suitable holiday destination. No more searching on three laptops or sending links via additional communicators. Just sit comfortably on the sofa, in pleasant company, and discuss the offers shown in high definition in real-time.
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Cooking plays a big role in many people’s lives. It can be great fun for the whole family or be used to make a good impression on friends or parents of the other half. However, the process itself can be a bit of a challenge for some people. Cooking apps could help in this case. Displayed on a large TV screen, it could simultaneously present a list of products with proportions, a full description of preparation and even a tutorial video showing what to do and how to do it step by step. Everything is in one place, on one screen, without the need for additional scrolling or changing browser tabs.
The primary industry to think about in the context of OTT applications is entertainment. Given that high-speed broadband has democratised access to streaming content, this fact is not at all surprising. What’s more, it makes a lot of sense that content-rich industries are using improved technology and OTT applications to reach a broad audience.
OTT services have completely revolutionised the way TV is watched. Viewers are not dependent on broadcast times and schedules. Instead, they can tailor the viewing of their favourite programme to their needs and their calendar, with constant access to on-demand content. This means that more and more content that has traditionally only been broadcast on TV or radio can be made available via over-the-top apps.
Traditional TV still dominates live broadcasts, but this gap is also gradually being filled by OTT apps. Sports content, for example, although still predominantly broadcast on satellite TV, can also be streamed to internet users via mobile and OTT TV apps. Moreover, their significant advantage is that such an event can then be quickly available on-demand for users wishing to catch up at their convenience.
An app that, in addition to its catalogue, also offers live events is, for instance, Prime Video with its NFL Thursday Night Football broadcasts. Another example that also uses sports is the ESPN+ app, which streams games of leagues such as the NBA and MLB. In addition, it also provides access to match replays, news shows, expert analysis, and many other programmes from the traditional ESPN network.
A good example from beyond sporting events is the UK news channel Sky News. It offers streaming apps for both mobile and OTT devices such as Apple TV, Roku, and XBOX. The Sky News service thus gives access to its live, 24-hour news content and a catch-up video service of all the major stories of the day, across categories such as UK, World, US, Business, Politics, Entertainment and Strange News.
Sky News app on Roku
A significant proportion of market-leading TV stations have their own OTT apps to help bypass the limitations of traditional TV. All to provide their users and viewers with streaming content, both live and on-demand. Such apps, alongside popular TV stations, allow users to access content and additional news, commentary, and reports from anywhere and at a convenient time.
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Another branch of entertainment where streaming is popular is gaming. Thanks to streaming technology, many gamers capture their impressions and game comments on live recordings and publish them online. Today, professional Gamers and Streamers have already created their own industry, often monetising their activities very effectively.
Gaming streamers also use streaming platforms to get support when displaying sponsored ads, accepting donations, running channel analytics, or managing their communities. Sites like Twitch have made live gaming streaming popular, so much so that more minor services such as HitBox, Mixer, Beam, Bigo Live, YouTube Gaming, Afreeca and Disco Melee have quickly followed in its footsteps. Twitch itself has grown to the point where it records more than 15 million daily active users who watch content on mobile devices or Smart TV platforms such as Android TV and Apple TV.
The fitness and wellness sector
Health and fitness is a steadily growing industry thanks to the general public’s increasing awareness. Additionally, the pandemic has resulted in a significant boom in exercise and training at home. Fitness manuals and tutorials, available online, are nothing new, but the experience of accessing content on a big screen with good quality is unmatched.
It is worth mentioning that the pandemic has highlighted just how much potential this industry can have in terms of OTT applications. The lockdown and closure of gyms have forced many instructors to look for other, more creative forms of teaching. A big trend has become live classes conducted online via various communicators such as Zoom or Microsoft Teams. Having access to professionally run training in the comfort of one’s own home has shown clients how convenient this experience can be. Therefore, home-based coaching, delivered on a pay-per-use or subscription basis, is now becoming increasingly common. This popularity is also translating into the creation of new OTT apps offering group wellness and yoga classes that participants can enjoy on their TVs without leaving home.
The benefits of running fitness classes using OTT apps are:
- High-quality video – The performance of the CDN allows you to get a high-quality streaming video that mirrors the experience of face-to-face training. The whole experience can be further enhanced by using multiple camera angles and features such as subtitles, different language versions, pause and rewind.
- Larger customer base – No time or location restrictions, which can help you reach more potential customers.
- Sales channel – The OTT app can serve as an additional sales channel with advanced advertising options, making it easier to manage subscriptions, orders, and sales promotions.
- Analytics – Gain greater insight into customer behaviour through detailed analysis of subscriber data and training video plays.
Another important market whose digitalisation has been accelerated by the pandemic is the education sector. Closed schools and universities have had to adapt to remote learning and teaching. This situation has shown how many opportunities there are in this sector and how much room can be filled with OTT applications. Google TV, for example, offers several educational apps for children, but their quality still leaves much to be desired.
The closure of schools worldwide caused by the pandemic has meant that more than 1.2 billion children have had to learn outside the classroom. This resulted in a dramatic change in education. There has been a rise in the importance of e-learning, whereby teaching is done remotely and on digital platforms using online VoD courses, tutorials, and teacher aids. Importantly, these materials can be viewed by the pupil or student at any time and several times, which certainly facilitates the assimilation of the material.
In the wake of the pandemic, many educational institutions have introduced their OTT platforms to host video-on-demand lessons, virtual classrooms, and exam rooms. To make these applications as widespread as possible, users can access them via a smartphone, laptop, tablet or smart TV and a stable internet connection.
Looking for an OTT apps development partner?
There has never been a better time to consider developing an OTT app for your business. Better Software Group, part of the Spyrosoft Group, offers to build and develop high-quality OTT apps for broadcasters, content owners and telecom and media companies. If you are interested in creating your own app or want to learn more about it, feel free to contact our team.
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More than video streaming: How Smart TV Apps can grow your business