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Mobile App vs. Mobile Web – What’s Best for Broadcast Media?

August 5, 2016

Broadcast media needs to be appealing, exciting and full of content for the viewer to consume. Interactive, fun and you need all things interesting in broadcast to get your viewers glued. Whether you are establishing your presence or scaling to newer heights, one of the first decisions that you need to make is to create a mobile app or mobile website, or may be both. You surely can’t decide on “neither” as both the app and web are critical elements in your business marketing.

MobileAppVs.MobileWeb

According to KPCB Mobile Technology Trends, mobile digital media time in the US is now significantly higher at 51% compared to desktop (42%).

KPCB-Mobile-Technology-Trends

So is mobile app better for your venture? Or is it mobile web? Let’s explore.

Where does mobile web score more than mobile app?

  1. Readily available: The mobile site is available on your smartphone anytime you want. To get an app, you go to the Google PlayStore or Apple store and download it. So instant engagement is the advantage that mobile web has over apps.
  2. Compatible across all devices: A website can be accessed in the same format across all devices while an app needs to be built separately for iOS and Android.
  3. Visibility: A website is easy to find through a google search. But to find an app, you might need to go to App Store or Play store. However, things are changing now with Google search incorporating App indexing to their algorithm.
  4. Shareable: Sharing a mobile website is just sharing a link, but an app, because of its incompatibility with devices, is not shareable by this way.

When app scores more than mobile web:

  1. The app reaches an audience that is well defined and targeted: The app subscriber wants specific information and hence he has downloaded the app. So the app maker knows what to include and exclude as the user persona is well defined.
  2. Even if there is no internet, apps can work: Read articles, browse products or even watch videos while offline through apps.
  3. Native features: You can leverage native features of the device like push notifications, GPS, contacts etc to create better user experience.
  4. More interactive: Interactive aspects like quizzes and games, apps gets people more involved.

What factors are important for broadcast media on mobile?

  1. Centralized content management system: Content is crucial for any broadcast media. Hence the ability to deliver content at a very large scale is a must. Whether it is a mobile app or mobile web, people come to get information from the media.
  2. Real time updates: It is important to have real time updates in a broadcast media app. Real time updation of news and other events are vital.
  3. Monetization: Advertisements are one of the main revenue options for the broadcast media web/app. So provision for monetization is crucial.
  4. Video hosting capability: News coverage on video attracts more viewers. When you want to see things live, you want to see it without interruptions and at a very good speed. Hence the media mobile web/app needs to have good video hosting capabilities.Quality matters. Clarity of pictures and video are crucial for the sustenance of any media site/app.It also leads to better. Different audio, video capabilities needs be embedded within the app to have better content delivery and end-user experience.

What’s the best choice for broadcast media-mobile app or mobile web?

Like we discussed, content matters for broadcast media. So what aids in easy consumption of mass content and also engages the user? Which is ideal for easy content management? Is it easier to update real time news on app or mobile web? For broadcast media, an app can help in engaging users better, earn money through monetization and also is readily available for “on-the-go” users.  If it’s reading a lot of news at a stretch, the mobile web is a better option.

CNN had launched the CNNireport that let users share and photos to the newsroom. They were also encouraged to create their own content using this. This feature of the app made news more socialistic and real. Similarly NBC Universal had released an app that packages 40 years of Saturday Night Live content for easy viewing. A report from Nielsen supports the “app is better” story.  The difference is huge.

Nielsen-app-is-better

Another success story is that of Shazam, the music-recognition app. The app added a TV service to it which is interesting in a lot of ways. Now users can tag TV shows and also gain access to the cast and other details. So viewing is more of a holistic experience in this context.  Yet another attempt was that of Dyle TV, similar to a video streaming app, where the content of participating channels could be viewed.

So which is better?

From the data above, the mobile app has gained more popularity than web. Whatever said and done, if your business has a lot of fresh content, then users would prefer to use mobile web. If you can give the user a good experience, then the user would prefer an app.

The “app vs web” dilemma will always remain as a real question for all businesses including broadcast media. Maybe the solution lies in the convergence of both. The mobile ecosystem is dynamic. So what is required is to understand your customer and then strategize accordingly.

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