OTT
Streaming

Advancing Disney’s OTT Strategy

How Hello Iconic builds OTT apps that increased audience consumption of video-on-demand in the era of cord cutting. 
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Platforms built

Overview: Increasing a Studio’s OTT Footprint

As cord cutting disrupts the television industry, Disney sought to increase its channels’ video-on-demand consumption with the major over-the-top (OTT) streaming services. This meant creating apps for each channel that would work effectively on services like Roku, FireTV, and tvOS.

We worked with Disney to improve their existing mobile apps, and create new ones, releasing a new app every three months for a different OTT platform. While the software development team focused on the OTT apps, our data science engineers collaborated with our human-centered designers to devise optimal user interfaces (UI’s) and user experience (UX)—experimenting with multiple options to identify the best choice to implement. 

Services

  • Product Strategy
  • OTT App Development
  • UX and UI Design
  • P.o.C & MVP

Capabilities

  • Web App Development
  • Backend Admin Development
  • Mobile App Development
  • OTT Domain Expertise

Disney’s Challenges

_01

Increase Consumption of Video on Demand

Disney recognized that their audience was shifting away from traditional cable and satellite and migrating to app-based OTT experiences instead. They needed apps for all the major OTT services. At the outset, however, the company only had iOS and Android mobile apps for their channels—and they needed better UI’s and performance characteristics. 

_02

Expand OTT Device Footprint

Today’s television audience has a broad range of choices for their viewing experiences, including seven dominant OTT platforms: Roku, Tizen, Apple TV, FireTV, Android, iOS and Google Chrome. For Disney to grow its share of audience, it was imperative that their channel programming be available on devices that supported these platforms. This would be a challenge, as their existing apps had long load times and unintuitive UIs that resulted in negative user ratings.

Success Metrics

6

Months to reduce negative reviews and increase positive reviews

15%

Increase average session length

41%

Increase in average engagement time

Our Aproach

In the beginning of the project, we identified three major problems that were impeding Disney in its quest for more viewer engagement:

  • Technical problems, e.g., app crashes, logins not working properly and long loading times.
  • Usability problems, e.g., poor UX design and frustrating flows.
  • A lack of presence on OTT platforms with the largest number of users.

The first part of the engagement was spent improving Disney’s existing app user experience and removing points of frustration that were negatively affecting user engagement. We stabilized their existing mobile apps. Then, we installed libraries to collect data on the health, funnel and behavior of users. 

By leveraging tools like New Relic and Google Analytics, we were able to make data-driven decisions. As our process identified issues, we could prioritize remediation based on the number of users it affected, its frequency and the device relevance. 

To achieve the objective of increasing OTT device footprint, we conducted an analysis of market share to establish a priority for which OTT platforms to address first. Then, with a three month per platform cadence, we delivered apps for each new platform.

A NEW OTT APP EVERY
THREE MONTHS

DEVICE SHARE AMONGST OTT
STREAMING DEVICES

Source: ComScore Total Home Panel Custom Analysis, U.S, March 2016
Hello Iconic was amazing in terms of launching different apps within a year. For us, the value of just being there quickly without having to wait was paramount at the time.
Sasha Kai Parker
Sr. Manager of Product Management at Disney Media & Entertainment

Results

As we introduced the apps for each successive OTT platform, the success of the project became evident:

  • Average video-on-demand session viewing length increased, as did average audience engagement time.
  • Within six months, negative app reviews were disappearing, replaced by positive feedback.
  • In addition, app stability and usability improved.

We were also able to make major improvements to the apps’ backend, which was important for Disney’s productivity and administrative user experience. 

As we introduced the apps for each successive OTT platform, the success of the project became evident:

accent-hello-iconic
Average video-on-demand session viewing length increased, as did average audience engagement time.
accent-hello-iconic
Within six months, negative app reviews were disappearing, replaced by positive feedback.
accent-hello-iconic
In addition, app stability and usability improved.

We were also able to make major improvements to the apps’ backend, which was important for Disney’s productivity and administrative user experience. 

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