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  • Writer's pictureRussell Vilardi

The A to Z Guide to OTT TV App Development


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If you offer streaming video content, you need an OTT TV app. Before you start development, however, you need to answer a host of questions. What benefits can you expect from an app? Which platforms should you target? What features do viewers expect, and which ones should you include?


This A to Z guide on OTT app development answers these and other essential questions – just what you’d expect from the OTT streaming video experts at Penthera.



Key Takeaways

  • OTT TV apps deliver consistent branding, control over advertising, huge revenue potential, and increased viewer engagement.

  • OTT TV app development needs to focus on all viable platforms and devices – mobile, TV, and web.

  • An OTT TV app should have a modern customizable interface, multi-language support, cross-platform synchronization, and viewer watchlists.

  • Other essential features include screen mirroring, social interaction, in-app purchases, and content downloading.


What Is an OTT TV App?

OTT is streaming video delivered “over the top” of the Internet. An OTT TV app lets viewers watch streaming video on various devices, including phones and tablets, Roku players, and smart TVs.


Typical OTT TV apps offer features to complement and supplement streaming viewing. These features include favorites lists, search functionality, download capability, and social media sharing.


Major OTT providers like Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, Disney+, and Hulu have proprietary OTT TV apps. Without a streaming TV app, viewers would have to watch a streaming service in web browsers, which is less than ideal.



Market share for streaming OTT apps 2021-2023


Why You Need an OTT TV App

There are several important reasons to develop an OTT TV app.


Big Viewership

Viewers love watching streaming videos on OTT TV apps. Research indicates that the average person spends more than 100 minutes each day watching them and paying subscription fees above $8.50 per app per month.


Huge Revenues

Some OTT apps generate revenue through subscriptions, advertising, or selling or renting content access. In 2022, industry streaming app revenues reached $82.3 billion, expected to increase to $115 billion by 2026


Consistent Branding

Your own branded OTT TV app lets you put your brand clearly and singularly in front of viewers. You control the branding across the entire app and can tie that branding into your onscreen and other media brand identity. When they’re using your app, viewers will know they’re viewing your service.


Control Over Advertising

When you stream video over the web, you’re at the mercy of third-party digital advertising services. With your own app, you have total control over the advertising that appears in the app and in your streaming content. You control what ads appear, when, and how frequently.


Multiple Monetization Models

An OTT TV app offers several monetization models. With an app, you can generate revenue via:

  • Streaming subscriptions

  • In-program advertising

  • In-app advertising

  • Paid downloads

Social Engagement

The best OTT TV apps include the ability to comment on and share videos via social media. This increases viewer engagement, which results in customer loyalty.


Actionable Insights

An OTT app gives you control over the content pipeline and offers valuable data about your viewers and the content they watch. Analyzing this data provides actionable insights that help you make informed decisions about the content and services you provide.


Improved Viewing Quality

By giving you more control over the content pipeline, you can optimize all aspects of that pipeline to improve viewing quality. You can also offer downloadable content that avoids common internet streaming issues.


OTT apps: What they are and how they can grow your business


Deciding on the Right App Platform(s)

Viewers today watch streaming videos on a variety of devices and platforms. A viewer might start watching a program on their mobile phone, switch to an iPad, and finish on their living room TV via a Roku or Fire TV streaming stick. Limiting your app development to a single platform could exclude many users.


Popular viewing platforms today include:

  • Mobile platforms: Android, iOS, and iPadOS

  • TV platforms: Android TV, Apple TV (tvOS), Amazon Fire TV, Roku, and proprietary smart TV platforms like Samsung’s

  • Web platforms: Apple Safari, Google Chrome, and Microsoft Edge for macOS and Windows



Most popular app platforms for signup and viewing.


Key Features to Include in an OTT TV App

There are some common features that viewers expect in an OTT TV app, and other less-expected features can provide a more enjoyable viewing experience.


Modern, Easy-to-Use Interface

The look and feel of your app may be the most important part of the user experience. Your app needs to look modern, not dated, which means using the most up-to-date interface designs. But don’t let the design get in the way of functionality – your app must be easy to use without viewers needing to consult an instruction book.


Personalization

Users like to personalize the way their apps look and work. Be sure to include some degree of user customization in your app design.


Multiple User Profiles

Users must be able to create their own profiles that carry across platforms and devices. You also need to provide the capability for multiple user profiles on a single device, as family members might use the same device to watch their favorite shows.


Support for Multiple Languages

We live in a multi-lingual society, so the content and interface on your app need to be available in multiple languages.


Continue Watching

Not all viewers can finish watching all programs in a single session. Provide the ability

to resume viewing where the user left off.


Synchronization Across Platforms

That “continue watching” feature should synchronize across devices and platforms, so viewers can transition from their phones to their smart TVs. All user preferences and viewing libraries also need to be synchronized across platforms.


Watchlists

Viewers like to be able to create their own watchlists. Make sure these watchlists are synchronized across platforms and shareable with other users.


Content Categorization

To make content easy to find, categorize it in multiple ways. You should also enable users to create and populate their own categories.


Robust Searching

Another way that viewers find specific content is by searching for it. Make sure your app’s search feature is both easy to use and returns accurate results.


Voice Search

Not everybody likes to search by tapping onscreen keys. Enable voice-activated searching that viewers can use on their phones or remote controls.


Push Notifications

Push notifications let viewers know when new or popular content is made available. Let users customize which notifications they receive and when.


Screen Mirroring

Watching movies on a tiny phone screen isn’t always pleasurable. For mobile apps, enable screen mirroring that lets viewers cast content from their phones to their television displays.


Social Features

Encourage viewer engagement by including a variety of social features in your app. This can include viewer ratings, reviews, comments, and sharing to social media.


Downloading

Many viewers like to download content for offline viewing. Make it easy for users to download specific programs to their phones and tablet.


In-App Purchases

To capture maximum revenue, enable in-app purchases for premium content. You should also let users renew or upgrade their subscriptions directly within the app.


Payment Integration

If you’re encouraging in-app purchases, make sure you include an integrated payment gateway. You want to make it easy for users to safely and securely give you their money.


Let Penthera Enhance Your OTT TV App Development

Penthera offers several solutions designed to maximize the functionality of OTT TV apps. For example, our PlayAssure solution preloads video content to minimize rebuffering and video quality issues. And Penthera Download enables quick and easy video downloads on a variety of mobile platforms. When you’re developing your OTT TV app, turn to Penthera to maximize its functionality and performance.


Contact Penthera today to learn more about OTT TV apps.


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