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Video: Best Practices for Building OTT Apps

Learn more about OTT publishing strategies at Streaming Media West.

Read the complete transcript of this clip:

Andreas Kisslinger: Let's look at a couple of recommendations that we gathered from our clients on how to effectively build OTT apps and what to consider. First of all, distinguish between mobile apps and OTT apps. You won't believe how often we are faced with the question, "Can we not just simply use our mobile apps on OTT?" Unfortunately not. Make sure that you come up with a user-friendly navigation structure that's scalable that you can extend easily with multi-tier navigation across all your OTT properties and start right sized. Don't over invest. Our clients come to us with every possible proposal they've ever received from "Look, Lightcast, it's free. I can get to all done for free," to "Look, I've got a proposal with $1.2 million," and everything in between.

Neither one is probably the ideal scenario. You probably want to be somewhere in the middle, and make sure to have a multi-phase strategy to start with and launch your apps maybe with a slim budget, sure, but then to scale up and extend them as you need it. Make sure that your developer who builds your apps builds them on SDKs and templates that are customizable and extendable for you. As your requirements change over time, such as integrating new monetization opportunities, lead generation, other things, extending your navigation structure, adding additional categories, navigation tiers, that this can be done very easily with not a whole lot of cost.

Just make sure you don't have to throw away your apps and reinvent everything and start from scratch as you want to scale up. Select a seasoned OTT app developer would be the Lightcast tip of the day. Make sure to select a developer who has built many apps on all the platforms you're looking to launch om, not just one. If you want to launch on the top five, make sure they've built apps on the top five. Of course, you could use one who said, "Well, I build Roku apps," and you can use another developer for Fire TV and a third developer for Apple TV and another one for Samsung Smart TV, but that's going to add a lot of overhead, management, and headaches to you and management efforts on your end, as well as additional costs and delayed time to market potentially.

Look for a seasoned developer who has a proven track record. Ask them, "How many apps have you built actually for these platforms?" Look at what they built, but also how much, how many because they may have invested a year or two into building one great app, but that may not be good for your timeline. Your time to market may be way delayed. You may need a quick turnaround. See if they can roll out and put out quantities as well. Stay within the developer framework if you can. Of course if you have such custom requirement that it has to be custom-built from scratch and custom-coded for you on every platform, then so be it. There is nothing to do about it.

If you can for just media streaming, media delivery, and monetization thereof, stay within the developer framework. It saves you a lot of time and a lot of money, but maximize the customization opportunities. Ask your developer, "How far can I extend and maximize and customize these template based apps" if they're using templates. There's nothing bad about templates by the way. Just customize them to the maximum extent that they can be customized. It helps you save time and money if you can do so.

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