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NAB 2016: The Appification of TV – Revolutionizing the Viewer Experience

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Experts at a NAB panel discussion Monday called "Appification of TV—Revolutionizing the Viewer Experience" talked about the six-year-old app world and outlined lessons all six-year olds should learn.

Lesson One: Play Nice With Others

"From a content aggregator point of view, the technology stack isn’t there yet," said Caitlin O'Donovan, VP Digital, Kids of Corus Entertainment. "We were looking at TV Everywhere about four years ago. We looked at the ROI and it looked too cumbersome. Everyone that did launch apps in the TV space found you had to build it yourself."

Two years ago O'Donovan said Corus looked again and found a UI engine to work with, but still it is not completely integrated. "Getting a core product to market that is bulletproof from the user experience standpoint is challenging. I don’t want my product to be the first one to market that is making all of those vendors work together."

Lesson Two: Share Your Toys

How do you consume content if each channel has its own experience? The panelists touched on a wide range of ideas, but in the end the dominant theme was clear. "We have all these different ways to consume content," said Greg Riker, senior VP of sales, Americas, of Metrological. "Give (consumers) the ability to consume all this content and keep them on the couch." When they jump up off the couch to go find content in a different location, you’ve lost them.

Keeping them there means making a wide range of content available on different apps and different platforms. There are apps for viewing live, viewing pure digital and a variety of on demand formats. "One of the key things is, whoever can craft the one interface for all and just make it easy for the consumer—and I don’t think anyone has—will really win," said Rich Cusick, chief product officer of Gracenote.

Lesson Three: Spend Your Allowance Wisely

Disruption has brought innovations in business models and technologies. "One interesting market to look at is India. The have 100% al la carte pricing on cable channels. In fact they price content differently per provider, per locale, so we’re talking about tens of thousands of different permutations of pricing," said Cusick. "It’s interesting to see how consumers buy content. One of the lessons we learned is consumers buy shows that they don’t have as opposed to buying channels."

Lesson Four: Keep Learning

How do content publishers synthesize the data they're collecting and target a more interesting content lineup? One audience member asked why we aren't seeing customized content delivery, AKA programmatic TV programming.

"If you read Netflix blogs, they are obssesivly focused on above the fold clicks, and have obviously made huge investments in personalization," said Cusick. "The data is there. Every single one of these connected TV knows what you’re watching." The question is how do you use your data for good?

"I think it’s interesting in the current pay tv infrastructure, for operator providers, applications are a bit scary to them. It’s really opening up the ecosystem," said Jason Flick, CEO & Co-Founder, You.i TV. "I think if they embrace it properly, there are huge opportunities to monetize and do things differently."

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