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Video: Apps vs Mobile Web for Live Event Streaming

What's the best way to deliver live events to mobile users to keep them watching longer? The mobile web is an open platform, easier to promote, but native apps offer a more immersive experience. Experts from PAC-12 Networks, Ring Digital, Ratio, and Baby Steps debate the pros and cons at Live Streaming Summit.

Learn more about longform event streaming at Streaming Media West.

Read the transcript of this clip:

Ryan Currier, PAC-12 Networks: Native apps are where we get the vast majority of our live video viewership. We have tried at times to provide better support within mobile web, but fundamentally it's a much better experience for our users, and frankly it's better for our business if we can get people to download our native app and use it. It's a better navigation experience. Playback is better. There's just a lot of other richness in terms of the functionality that can be provided. We've really kind of gone all in with driving people there. We definitely support mobile web for ad-supported VOD playback. We do do some live, in certain cases, but we really try to drive people to native apps.

Mike Lucero, Ratio: Our most successful publishing customers are big believers in native apps. The notion of a universal app is just, once you get in the trenches and start actually doing it, it's just the navigation between a native device, a tablet, and a 10-foot experience are just completely different. You just need to build a different app for each of them. There's some commonalities between them, but there's also some differences that absolutely need to be taken into account. Otherwise, it's going to be a terrible user experience.

Adam Babkes, Baby Steps: The native apps are what speak to the customer. I think it gives them a more immersive brand experience, so you're not just getting a video popup experience, especially when on smartphone, on smaller mobile devices. On Android tablets, you don't get blown out of the video entirely when you play a video. You do get some page support to go along with it. Really, as far as the need for native apps, I think it's definitely where the consumers are at. I think it's where the longevity is.

Brian Ring, Ring Digital: There's no question today we're all in the app space. That's where most of the engagement's going to happen in terms of time, but in terms of that funnel of driving people, the mobile web is much larger, and actually growing much faster than apps. It's a much smaller amount of time that someone might spend. I think as an industry, we need to be a little bit careful, because the mobile web is open, and apps aren't. I think we are just a little bit of a soapbox here. We want to be careful not to completely neglect the mobile web experience, because it's where people are going to go in kind of an impulse way. It's the top of the funnel. It's how you're going to start to bring people into the program. There's no question that today, it's in the app world that a lot of the long engagement is happening.

Adam Babkes, Baby Steps: Ignoring it as a start point would be a terrible idea, because I that is where a lot of people kind of begin their engagement. I think that's it's up to both brand, both developer UI, UX, all of those things, to make sure that what the user is getting when they land in that mobile experience, that it's either a very clear redirect if that's where the brand direction is, or that they are providing something that does take advantage of that platform, because it is far more widely accessible. There's far more endpoints on the web than there are on any sort of smart devices out there. To ignore it would definitely be a bad idea, but it's a challenge.



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