TV Programmers Embrace New Ways of Viewing Via Apps
TV Everywhere usage is up, as CTAM’s TVE tracking survey recently found, and TV content creators are driving viewership through offering more types of programming via their apps than ever before. Technology improvements, such as single-sign on mechanisms are making it easier for subscribers to log in to multiple apps at once, motivating viewers to access content while they are on the go. Cable programmers are reporting more interaction with their TVE services and more experimentation by networks to present and release content across multiple devices and screens.
Discovery indicated last month that its 10 TV Everywhere apps have been downloaded 15 million times across platforms, and collectively are averaging 25 million video streams per month. The network's apps, which include the popular Discovery Go, TLC Go and Investigation Discovery Go, are also seeing viewers spend 75 minutes or more per session. Last fall, the network commissioned original digital series for its TV apps, and in the coming months there are plans to roll out even more original digital content to entice viewers to keep coming back to its TVE services. "Their favorite show may be in between seasons, but we can still extend those characters [with new digital projects] and uncover new storylines that they might want to see," said Karen Leever, Discovery's EVP and GM of digital media.
Ovation TV also came out with its first TVE app, Ovation NOW, last fall, after recognizing that their viewers were on different screens and platforms. The network continues to roll out its content to new devices—just recently to Apple TV, Roku and Android and iOS, to meet the needs of their viewers' digital lifestyles.
Will Marks, Ovation TV's vice president of business development and digital, told NCTA that the rise in TVE and people's viewing preferences have definitely led the network to explore the different ways they can present content to their viewers, and it even starts in the acquisitions and development phase. "We do think about whether certain content needs to be shot so that it works in shorter segments and on tablets," said Marks. "We're doing cool experiments in AR and VR too where we think about the camera on the phone and how you might insert yourself into a scene and bring King Louis from Versailles to life in your office. We're looking at it from all the different angles. It's the most exciting part of the business."
truTV is another network that is strategically looking at creating content for TVE digestion. Home to primarily comedy content, truTV President Chris Linn told NCTA at the Television Critics Association Winter 2018 tour that although the network produces full-length programming, the shows are made up of segments that can be broken up into bite-sizes pieces for on-the-go use. "We always think, 'What can be the broadest use of our content,' so then we create this ecosystem where people are finding our content everywhere," said Linn.
2018 continues to be a good year for TV Everywhere experimentation. ESPN announced a new app last month, the first ever multisport direct-to-consumer streaming service. The app is designed to give fans an elevated digital sports experience through more personalized features and easy access to thousands of hours of live sports events and content. A+E also just announced that it will release a HISTORY app on a new development platform that will amplify the reach and user experience across more TV-connected devices than before.
The future looks bright for TV viewers.