Every Detail Matters in OTT

Every detail matters, so let’s go on a journey of choices and see how they impact viewers engaging with your content.

Platforms — Gateway to Awesome

As a publisher, we want as many viewers as possible. Viewers first have their platform of choice whether that’s on the Web, Mobile, Roku, Amazon Fire, or Apple TV. Before your app gets published, having the right logos, icons, screenshots, and copy presented is one the first turning points of gaining or losing viewers. We also have to decide to go with ad-supported content or charge a subscription.

Infrastructure — Your OTT Soul

Once a viewer has installed the app, before they can view your content, it must filter through a complex constellation of third-party services. At this point, we have a myriad of choices for the right Content Delivery Network (CDN), Video Host (OVP), Analytics Platform (Google Analytics, Omniture, Conviva), and Ad services (DFP, FreeWheel, SpotXchange). You can choose to manage, maintain, and build these services in-house or hire a third party such as Float Left. Each service comes into play as we have to consider their reliability, service level agreements, and scalability. One wrong turn here could lead to a loss of service: your app not loading, missing vital Business Intelligence, or possibly even loss of revenue. Viewers want their content now, and these services help that. To further engage our viewers, we may also setup A/B tests within our infrastructure to test which images to display for a particular show, determine how the ordering of content increases clicks, or run focus tests on a new UI.

Design — let’s make it pretty

When viewers launch your app, they will have a visceral reaction to the app experience. We need designers to map out how viewers will browse and interact with your content. Designing for the ten-foot experience comes into play. You don’t want to overload the viewer with too much, yet we should provide enough to make it worthwhile. Your design should be intuitive enough to navigate without needing a manual. One key tenet of great TV app design is reducing how many steps it takes to get video. Your viewers will know in their gut if it’s worth their time based purely on visuals and navigation experience. Once viewers are engaged with the app experience, it’s now up to your content to keep users coming back for more.

Engineering — Autobots Assemble!

Great — now we have our design ready, but right now it’s just a bunch of inert pixels on the screen. In comes the engineering team to breathe life into these pixels. Should we choose a ready-made solution to reduce time-to-market, or should we build something custom and unique?

We must ask ourselves some make-or-break questions as we develop our design and services:

  1. Does your team follow best practices when creating software?
  2. Does your team effectively utilize source control?
  3. Does your team resolve known issues before continuing new features?
  4. Does your team provide a progress report and how often?

From which font to use or which data structure is best, we at Float Left strive and fret over every detail because they matter to us and they matter to your viewers.

Until next time, happy streaming!

-Seiji