Tuesday, December 6, 2016

App Fatigue Revisited: Growing Problem, Pay-TV Opportunity?

Since we first raised the concept of “App Fatigue” during the summer, additional data has surfaced indicating that more is not better when it comes to application availability.  Most recently, Adobe’s 2016 Mobile Benchmark Data showed the limited utility of most media and entertainment applications, with fewer than half being used 10 times or more.  Equally concerning is the finding that 24% of media and entertainment apps were used only once.

The Adobe report suggests a variety of reasons why certain apps are unable to compete, even in the short term, including poor app performance, availability of superior applications or even the inferiority of a given app when compared to a browser experience.  Colin Dixon points out that the months spent on app development -- Nine Hertz, an app development company, has pegged time-to-market for a standard native mobile app at 18 weeks – are only the first step to success; the bigger challenge is getting people to download and use it.

Although Adobe’s research shows that media and entertainment apps have had the highest app install rate (14%) of any industry over the past year, Dixon points out that user tendencies toward the Web and social media on mobile devices presents media and entertainment companies with a significant challenge: ensuring that their apps are relevant enough to attract and retain users amidst the competition for user engagement.

The pay-TV industry itself proposed an app solution as a counter to the FCC’s “Unlock the Box” concepts over the summer.  While action on the FCC proposal has been postponed since the November election, we continue to believe that pay-TV is uniquely positioned to thrive in an “App Fatigue” environment.

We believe operators are well positioned to deliver services – either securely to set-top boxes or as an app to third-party devices – that leverage troves of subscriber data and analytics.  Using that information, they can fine tune strategies and applications for mobile or other consumer devices, enabling them to understand the reasons behind abandoned apps and develop successful mobile media delivery solutions that best meet consumers’ needs.

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