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Why Develop an App for your Broadcast Media Company?

May 4, 2016

In most cases, polishing a spic and span surface would be either viewed as madness or concluded as, well, madness! May be this very fear of being tagged mad or the apprehension of being branded over-ambitious keeps many broadcast companies away from the lure of developing an app for their business.

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Why would the omnipresent radio want to make its presence known on a platform which already has enough to distract one’s mind? Why would anybody want to tune in to an app which can always be viewed on the television? Why would anybody log into the app version if the web version is always at hand?

On the surface, these questions seem fairly legitimate, but if you take a closer look at the industry, you would learn otherwise.  Fox Broadcasting Company, BBC News, CNN, by way of naming a few, have a prominent presence on and off the app sphere. This definitely implies one thing – having an app is essential for all broadcast media companies.

Still unsure? Calculating the ROI? Determined to stick to your trade without relying on this fickle minded platform? It’s time to overcome the fear of the unknown and cash in on the mobile platform. Here are some very important reasons that will tell you why it is necessary to develop an app for your broadcast media company.

  • A mobile app lets your users consume content conveniently

Technology is constantly changing the way people are consuming content. First, you had the televisions, then came the websites and now it’s era of the mobile. The Pew Research Center in its 2015 State of the News Media report finds that 39 out of 50 surveyed news sites get more traffic from mobile devices than they do from desktop computers. This means that broadcast companies which don’t have a mobile presence yet, need to make their content available on mobile phones and tablets for easy consumption by their users, before they start slipping into obscurity.

If you are one of those who are considering leveraging the mobile channel, you probably want to know which is better for your broadcast media company – a responsive mobile site or a native app? As experienced mobility solution providers, we can tell you that both of them can help you attain your objective. In fact, some media companies offer both experiences to their users – a responsive site, which can be accessed through a mobile device’s web browser and a native app, which can be installed from any of the app stores.

But if you still had to choose, we think you should make a note of the differences between the two. By developing a responsive site, your users can access your content on any mobile device, irrespective of whether they use an iPhone or an Android device. A mobile site is also not dependant on a particular web browser. On the other hand, a native app is developed for a particular operating system. If you develop an iOS app, it can be downloaded and accessed only by your iPhone users. To cater to your Android users, you’d need to develop a separate app which can be made available to them through the Google Play Store.

Developing a native app may certainly cost you more than developing a responsive site but the cost is always justified by the experience a native app can deliver. An app is the best way to distribute different kinds of media content. Whether you churn out multiple slideshows a day, have numerous videos uploaded on your site or run dedicated podcasts – an app can effectively broadcast your content to millions of users.

  • A mobile app engages your audience better

Being a broadcast media company, your business obviously thrives on the participation of your audience. What are the ways in which you can involve them? Traditionally, you could do one of the 3 things – have them call in, direct them to your website and have them share their content or create a hashtag for them to follow on Twitter.

While all of them are valid ways of soliciting feedback, you cannot disagree that these are certainly not the easiest ways to get them involved. But if you develop an app, you can remove all the friction points and provide them a great interactive experience.

They won’t have to remember your web address anymore, they can simply navigate to your app on their phones. If they wanted to leave a voice message, they could do so by recording it on their smartphones and then uploading it on your app. If it’s a video or a photo that they want to share, they could directly do it from their smartphones, just in a few clicks. No need to separately record, upload, burn it on a CD and mail it to your newsroom. An app can completely transform the way your audience engages with your content.

An app also makes things easier for your newsroom editors and reporters. They can easily sort through the content they receive through the app, make necessary edits to articles and crop images before publishing them.

User engagement doesn’t stop at that. An app takes it further. You can create and release quick surveys, polls, quizzes on your app to keep your users involved and increase the fun quotient. It’s a great way to generate conversations around different topics and have more and more people participate. Basically, by developing an app, you are not only giving your users a tool to consume content conveniently but you are also providing them with an excellent opportunity to shape the content they’re consuming.

  • A mobile app can be monetized

If you thought a mobile app is only built to engage users, then you’re wrong. It can also unlock a new revenue channel for you. By using one of the many monetization models, you can make money off your app. Research by Asymco shows that just the iTunes Store alone brought in $10 billion in revenues for app developers in 2014. If you want to get a big slice of that pie, read our detailed posts on app monetization.

How to make money through in-app advertising?

How to make money through in-app purchases?

How to make money through paid apps?

Did you know that NBCUniversal released an app that packages 40 years of Saturday Night Live Content? Even though the app is available for free, it is roping in some big bucks by way of advertising. There is a huge potential for broadcast media companies to capitalize on mobile advertising and build a parallel revenue stream.

Even if you opted to charge a fee for downloading your app, do not for a moment think that people won’t be willing to pay for content that can be accessed for free. The Economist, New York Times, and The Wall Street Journal are some of highest grossing news apps that have a subscription based model for their apps. They were able to do it because they did not underestimate the value of ‘time’ in a busy man’s life. A few cents/dollars is a small price to pay if you can provide a single platform for your users to access content from. The convenience an app affords and the time it saves is enough to incentivize users to pay for an app.

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  • An app provides you a good opportunity to enter the app market

Even though mobile is disrupting the media industry in a big way, no traditional media company ranks in this list of top mobile apps, created by Comscore from mid 2014. This is a huge opportunity to have your own app released on App Store because your only competition right now would be Warner Bros.

There are different kinds of apps broadcast media companies can build – it could be a game, a social networking or a music app. What is going to matter is your ability to innovate. Take a cue from Condé Nast’s WIRED. The app is designed to perfection and is a visual treat. If not for content, the app is worth paying a visit for its design.

Time and Tide Waits for No Man

Time crunch is a major challenge faced by most broadcast media companies. An app is a solution for this nagging problem. An app gives people the flexibility of being able to pause, rewind, revisit and of course, share the content on demand. If mobile is the only platform which can freeze the attention of your users, then jump on this opportunity and design an app which feeds their appetite for content.

An app is a ‘can’t do without’ in this age of nomophobia (fear of being out of mobile phone contact). Jump on this bandwagon if you already haven’t!

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