Wednesday, 3 October 2012

Umbrella Apps

Apps for the TV is fast becoming a hot topic. A recent survey by Appcelerator has found that more than 80 per cent of developers felt they would be making apps for televisions by 2015. The survey of more than 5000 developers shows that the number of apps for the TV will soon be equal to mobile and tablets.

Our own app, ANT Galio Move, has already received an excellent response from customers who recognise that tablet and smartphone applications can really enhance the viewing experience for viewers, whilst providing significant product differentiation and new revenue.

At IBC last month, we showcased a range of demos, to show how broadcast metadata can be used to provide integrated content from Twitter, Facebook, Wikipedia and iTunes. Viewers can follow tweets about the programme they’re watching, watch a movie trailer on YouTube or buy the soundtrack on iTunes.

John Moulding has described this type of application as ‘the Umbrella app’. An app that takes the usual campaign screen functionality like channel change and recordings and adding social media content, which is usually thought of as ‘second screen’ experiences. This gives Pay TV platforms the opportunity to become the gateway on tablets and smartphones within which individual programme-related experiences are accessed.

We’ve seen with ANT Galio Move that this type of functionality can be just as compelling with a free-to-air platform when the application has direct access to the TV device and its accompanying metadata. Companion applications will continue to evolve but we’re starting to see how combining traditional TV functionality such as streaming, navigation and control with online content can really improve the overall TV experience.

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