As this week’s cover story and four-page chart by Jeff Baumgartner point out — and you all probably know already — more and more of our “television” consumption is being done via apps instead of via cable or satellite or over the air.
We use them on our mobile devices and on our Internet-connected TV sets. We use them to divorce ourselves from pay TV bundles and to add streaming services into the TV mix. Apps also allow us to enjoy our pay TV services outside the home or in another room, on the smartphone or tablet — for example, by making it possible to watch DVR-recorded shows remotely.
They are part of what makes it so difficult to measure how many people are watching what programs and when, a topic of intense interest to programmers who want to make sure they’re making as much ad revenue as possible.
They do a lot. And they are such a part of our TV viewing that it’s easy to forget they are fairly new, and still evolving.
Jeff ’s story points to some of the continuing improvements — making it easier to sign on and stay signed on; letting you watch other content libraries, such as video-on-demand shows; letting you search by voice command.
“This thing is only just beginning,” Matt Nelson, marketing head for app-platform developer You.i TV, said during a panel at the TV of Tomorrow conference in New York last week. He and others on the panel had been talking about how they were trying to make apps simpler and more like alwayson TV. When you open the Crackle streaming app on Roku, for example, “the video just starts playing when you enter the interface,” he said, and not necessarily at the beginning of a show but “at a really interesting part of the video.”
Clark Pierce, senior vice president of TV Everywhere at Fox Sports, talked about the company first wanting the Fox Sports Go app to open up with lots of stats and graphs and on-demand video options. “Very close to launch, we made a very big pivot and we just focused on the live streaming of video.” Now, he said, a focus is on reducing the delay between what you see from a live event on, say, FS1 and what you see on the app.
Helge Hoibraaten, CEO of Norwegian OTT vendor Vimond, showed an image of the Reuters TV app, which delivers personalized news programs. “Why do I love this? Because it’s so simple. You just open the app, and it hits you with the full-screen TV experience that is guessing what you want to see, and it’s up to date. You don’t have to click anything.”
What we like now, it seems, is only going to keep getting better.