Television has been part of many people’s daily lives for generations. Its development from black and white screens to modern 8K displays linked to other devices or voice assistants shows how far the industry has come. However, one thing has remained the same throughout this evolutionary process – television is still the focal point of many living rooms and homes. Nowadays, the centrepiece of many homes is the Smart TV, which combines the features of the typical TV with a computer, significantly expanding the capabilities of traditional sets.
Improved processors and better networking capabilities mean that the new generation of TVs can connect to the internet and external applications. These functions make it much easier to meet users’ requirements and provide them with greater convenience.
What’s more, this technological evolution has led to significant growth in the industry, which has focused on the development of Smart TV apps. Therefore, in this article prepared in collaboration with the Better Software Group, we suggest why you should consider building your own Smart TV application even if you are not a video content company.
Smart tv as a sales channel
As a general rule, companies aim to increase their customer base. To achieve this, it is necessary for them to constantly find new ways of reaching their target audience. This is where the possibility of building your own Smart TV app as additional advertising or sales channel comes in. For consumers today, browsing the Internet on their TV is nothing new. What’s more, many now expect to be able to do more and more things using just their Smart TV. This shows that the opportunities for using this technology are plentiful, and shopping via TV sets is just one example.
For instance, one of the global brands that own an app is Red Bull. Their platform is currently supported on more devices than HBO and offers access to the broadcast of several sports events organised by the brand. It is worth mentioning that this is not a company that aims to be a major player in video streaming, and thus the nature of the platform is mainly marketing-oriented. Red Bull TV has secured a place in every major app store to give its consumers easy access to events and build greater engagement with its target audience.
Red Bull TV app
These days, as it has been for many years, TVs occupy a prominent place in the home and are associated with both entertainment and a pleasant way of spending time. Given that more consumers are treating online shopping as a leisure activity, it seems obvious that a Smart TV could become a convenient shopping tool. One of the big advantages of such a solution are UX related matters. For example, thanks to the size of the device, displayed products are larger and, therefore, the details are easier to see and their true size easier to comprehend.
From a marketing point of view, offering a shopping app for Smart TV and using it as another sales channel makes a lot of sense. Especially if the segment we are talking about has poor coverage by competitors other than streaming platforms. Moreover, such a solution allows customers to shop more easily and positions the shop brand among well-associated and almost daily used platforms such as Netflix or Prime Video.
Smart TV apps – not just for video streaming
Statistics from recent years show that the Smart TV apps market has, until recently, been dominated by various entertainment platforms that offer video content. However, this situation is already changing. Nowadays, new app categories like podcasts, news, games, sports, and education are appearing in places like Google TV.
Google TV Smart TV apps offer
Seeing the industry developing in this way, it is fair to say that we will increasingly be able to experience new applications on our TV screens relating to very different aspects of our lives.
Cooking apps, for example, can simultaneously display both recipes and video recordings of food preparation. And accommodation apps such as Booking.com, displayed on a TV screen, can help you find the right place for your holiday while sitting with the whole family in the living room on your favourite couch.
On the other hand, educational and fitness apps available on Google TV can help foster a healthy body and mind from the centre of our homes. And although some of the apps mentioned above still leave a lot to be desired, this shows how much-untapped potential there is in these solutions and in this medium.
Cooking App example
Smart TV as IoT hub = convenience
The role of TVs as home entertainment centres is undeniable. However, constant technological developments mean that Smart TVs are increasingly becoming the central command point for other smart devices in the home. Such a solution allows the user to control all connected lights, speakers, tools like Alexa or Google Assistant with a single remote control, thus providing greater convenience.
Chromecast TV Remote
Beneficial early adaptation of Smart TV apps
Early development and adaptation of an app into the Smart TV sphere can help a company gain a desirable competitive advantage. Therefore, it is now more important than ever to develop an app tailored to potential customers and to implement it quickly in the app stores available on smart devices. Haste in this regard is crucial, mainly because there is still not much competition out there. However, the more the technology develops and becomes popular, the faster this situation will change.
Existing data shared by Google shows that its Play Store has around 3.48 million apps. Meanwhile, the second-largest platform – Apple App Store, has approximately 2.22 million apps available for iOS. In comparison, Roku has around 4,500 official channels/apps. These figures show that Smart TV platforms still have a long way to go to take advantage of all the available space, and perhaps even more importantly, they illustrate how little competition there still is out there.
Find out more about Roku streaming as a top platform for investors >>
No third-party ad commissions
For large publishers and content creators, building their own app designed for Smart TV also makes a lot of sense from a financial perspective. Having such a tool enables you to display ads and monetise your content in many different ways. More importantly, owning an app allows you to eliminate commissions and the need to share ad revenue with third parties or leading platforms such as YouTube.
Cross-channel experience for users
It is well known that consumers and users pay great attention to an enjoyable and seamless experience when choosing products and apps. Regardless of which streaming app you use, it is always a bit of a surprise when you discover that it is not available on your TV. This situation is not exclusive to media streaming apps, and can also occur with any other type of app.
An example of a company that has realised this is Microsoft. When updating OneDrive, its cloud storage application, the company added the function of streaming media files to a Chromecast device or compatible TV. All to provide users with an easy and enjoyable cross-device experience.
Google with a lower commission for Smart TV apps
Nowadays, when looking to develop your cross-platform app, it is worth looking at Google TV’s offering. Recently, the Mountain View giant has been increasing its efforts to build a mutually compatible and user-friendly ecosystem. Therefore, as part of its Play Media Experience programme, the company is opening up to all developers and offers to take lower commissions from individual app developers. This deal includes a reduction in commissions of up to 15% from the original model, but it is worth bearing in mind that this percentage may differ depending on the volume of sales.
Importantly, this programme aims to boost cross-platform app development for a variety of devices using Android software. That includes Android TV, Auto, Watch and devices like tablets. In order to qualify, Smart TV apps must integrate with specific platforms (e.g., Android TV, Google TV) and Google’s API. The situation is similar for Audio apps, which must support Wear OS, Android Auto, Android TV, and Google Cast.
Over to you
Those who declared television dead probably did not realise that, in truth, the medium has only evolved. Today, TV sets are no longer what they were 20 years ago, and indeed the traditional understanding of TV and TV programmes is outdated. But still, the device itself is doing better than ever.
Television, combined with new technologies, offers many possibilities. If you want to learn more about them or develop your own Smart TV application, contact our experts via the offering page.
About the author