Over-the-top (OTT) apps, which broadcast films and television shows over the Internet, have gained enormous popularity. OTT applications must keep introducing new features that improve the user experience and differentiate them if they want to competeand grow. This blog will discuss key features that any successful OTT app should consider adding to remain competitive, engage users, and fuel growth. These features range from social sharing and personalization to live streaming, parental controls, and content discovery tools. By focusing on the user experience and continuously innovating with new features, OTT apps can maximize their appeal, retention, and revenue in the increasingly crowded streaming market.
What are OTT Apps?
OTT apps allow users to stream movies, TV shows, and other video content directly over the internet. They bypass traditional cable, satellite TV, and DVDs by delivering content on-demand. Users access OTT apps through devices that connect to the internet like smartphones, tablets, smart TVs, and streaming sticks. Examples include Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Prime Video, and Disney+.
Traditional TV and cable subscriptions bundle many channels together, forcing users to pay for content they don’t watch. OTT apps in video streaming app development offer more choices and value by charging monthly subscription fees. Users can watch what they want when they want without commercials. And they only pay for the content they consume.
OTT apps feature massive libraries of content like original TV series, hit movies, documentaries, and more. Their content comes from agreements with an OTT video app development company to license and stream their content. Some OTT apps even produce their original content to draw subscribers.
The convenience and value offered by OTT apps, along with the rise of high-speed internet access, have made them very popular. They have disrupted traditional TV by giving users more control over what, when, and how they watch. As internet speeds and device choices grow, OTT apps through video streaming app development are likely to only increase in popularity. They represent a revolutionary change in how people access and consume video content.
Growing popularity of OTT platforms
The popularity of over-the-top or OTT platforms like Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, and Hulu has skyrocketed in recent years. These streaming services allow users to watch content anytime, anywhere without requiring cable subscriptions.
The growth of video streaming app development has been fueled by a few factors. High-speed Internet has become more widely available and affordable, enabling users to stream high-definition content with ease. Traditionally cable-exclusive shows and movies are now being made available on OTT platforms, attracting customers with exclusive and original content. The convenience, flexibility, and cost savings offered by OTT platforms compared to cable TV have also driven adoption.
Original content has helped fuel the demand for streaming services. Emmy-winning series like Netflix’s Stranger Things, HBO’s Game of Thrones, and Amazon’s The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel have attracted millions of new subscribers. As studios and networks offer more and more exclusive content on streaming platforms, users are compelled to subscribe. This strategy of exclusivity will likely continue driving further growth.
However, the proliferation of OTT platforms has created a fragmented landscape with users subscribing to multiple services. As competition heats up and content costs rise, video streaming app development will have to keep innovating with original content, personalization features, and service bundles to retain existing users and attract new subscribers.
Features Essential for an OTT App
The features an OTT app provides define its user experience and value. To succeed, OTT apps must implement features that enhance viewing, solve problems and keep pace with demands. This section explores essential features every successful OTT app should consider. These features are as follows-
User Interface Enhancements
The user interface is a critical factor that shapes users’ experience of an OTT app. Enhancing the app’s interface through thoughtful design can improve usability, convenience, and engagement. As OTT apps continue to evolve and compete for users’ time and attention, improving the UI becomes essential.
Some key UI enhancements OTT apps in OTT app development should consider are optimizing for larger screens like smart TVs, implementing intuitive navigational elements, and using responsive design so the layout adapts across different device sizes. Focusing on visual hierarchy by emphasizing important elements and de-emphasizing less critical ones can help users navigate the interface more easily.
Using gestures and swipe interactions where appropriate can make the UI feel more fluid and natural. Splash screens, loading indicators, and transition animations give users visual feedback and convey that the OTT app is working properly. Improving search functionality by incorporating filters, auto-suggest, and other tools can save users time and effort.
Ensuring consistency in the design language across the entire interface lowers the cognitive load for users and provides a seamless experience. Thoughtfully placing “call to action” buttons help encourage desired user behaviors. Incorporating personalization in OTT app development features like custom playlists and recommendations specific to the user’s profile optimizes the UI for the individual.
Content personalization is an essential feature for OTT apps to keep users engaged and coming back. Personalized recommendations of content based on users’ interests and preferences help users discover new things to watch while also saving them time spent searching through countless options themselves.
Some key ways OTT apps can personalize content including analyzing users’ watch history to identify their favorite genres and recommending similar content to what they’ve already watched or rated highly. Matching actors, directors, or other elements between a user’s previous favorites and additional options further refine recommendations. Asking users to rate or review content they’ve consumed also provides data to improve matching algorithms over time in OTT TV app development.
Being able to build user profiles based on demographic information like age, gender, and language preferences provides additional personalization criteria. Allowing users to manually specify their interests in areas like comedy, action, and documentaries tells the OTT app more about their tastes. Integrating with users’ social media profiles in OTT TV app development can reveal shared interests between friends who also use the OTT app.
Advanced machine learning and AI technologies analyze massive amounts of data from multiple users to constantly improve the personalized recommendations served to each individual. As a user engages more over time, interacting data points build up to offer increasingly relevant suggestions.
Content personalization tools in OTT app development reduce the time users spend browsing through endless options, improve the chance they’ll find something they truly enjoy, and increase the overall value of the OTT app. When handled properly, personalization features become an asset that distinguishes the service, keeps users coming back, and raises customer satisfaction.
The ability to download and watch content offline is an essential feature for any successful OTT app. It provides users with the flexibility to consume content wherever and whenever they want, even in areas with unreliable or no Internet connection.
Offline viewing allows users to download movies, TV shows, or other content directly from the OTT app to their devices for watching later. When on the go or in areas with spotty cellular service, users can still enjoy the app’s content without interruptions. Long commutes, travel and areas without WiFi become opportunities to consume content instead of downtime.
To implement offline viewing, OTT apps must first enable content downloads to their users’ devices. They can allow users to specify the resolution and file size based on factors like screen size and available storage. Some OTT apps by an OTT video app development company only allow downloading of a limited number of titles at once, while others impose no limits.
Once the content is downloaded, the app’s interface typically displays an “offline” or “downloaded” tab where users can browse, organize and launch their saved selections. When the device reconnects to the Internet, the OTT app can automatically verify licenses and update any changed or newly added content.
Offline viewing expands the ways users can engage with an OTT app, especially in an increasingly mobile world. It accommodates users’ on-the-go lifestyles while still offering the wide selection of content they’ve come to expect. By removing dependence on a constant Internet connection in a video streaming app development company, the feature strengthens an app’s value proposition and keeps users satisfied.
Cross-platform compatibility, also called multi-platform support in video streaming app development, refers to an OTT app’s ability to run on multiple operating systems and device types. Rather than limiting users to a single proprietary platform, compatible OTT apps can be accessed from Android, iOS, smart TVs, gaming consoles, and other devices.
This versatility is an essential feature for any successful OTT app. It maximizes potential audience reach by accommodating the diverse range of devices users already own. People expect to be able to access their content from any internet-connected device, so multi-platform functionality has become a basic requirement.
Implementing cross-platform compatibility requires OTT apps to develop versions for each platform. While the core functionality and features remain the same, OTT apps must be tailored to each operating system’s design conventions and user input methods. For instance, Android and iOS OTT apps will have different layouts and control placements to match their respective interface styles.
Despite the additional OTT app development overhead, the benefits of cross-platform compatibility far outweigh the costs. It enables a seamless transition between devices so users can switch from watching on their phones to continuing on their TV. The feature also supports social interactions by allowing others on different platforms to share content recommendations. Users appreciate the consistent experience and access to the same library of content, no matter what device they’re on.
By linking to a user’s social media profiles, an OTT app gains insight into the user’s interests, preferences, and relationships. This data can be used to provide more relevant show and movie recommendations tailored to the individual. Similarly, a user’s social connections may indicate shared tastes that inform personalized suggestions.
Social integration also makes it easy for users to share what they’re watching with video streaming application development. When a user likes or watches a show, the OTT app can automatically post an update to their social media profiles. This promotes word-of-mouth marketing as friends and followers see the content recommendation, possibly inspiring them to sign up for the service themselves.
Additionally, social features like the ability to see what friends are watching and give recommendations foster a sense of community around the OTT app. Users enjoy discussing shows and movies with their connections, which can motivate continued use of the service.
Multiple Language Support
Multiple language support, the ability for an OTT app to provide content and functionality in multiple languages, has become an essential feature for reaching global audiences. As streaming services expand internationally, they must accommodate users who consume media in languages other than English.
Offering content in multiple languages requires OTT apps to provide subtitles and dubbed audio for movies and TV shows. They must work with content owners to acquire rights to translate and publish video libraries in languages spoken by their target markets. At a minimum, widely spoken languages like Spanish, French, Hindi, Arabic, Mandarin, and others should be supported in live video streaming app development.
In addition to subtitles and dubbed video files, OTT apps must translate their user interfaces and navigation elements into multiple languages. This includes captions, menu options, settings, messages, and other text displayed within the OTT app by an OTT video app development company itself. Users appreciate being able to switch the app’s entire interface to their preferred language with ease.
Supporting multiple languages also affects customer service and marketing efforts. Communication with users via email, in-OTT app messages, and call centers requires translation into the languages available within the app. Promotional and advertising content should also match the languages offered to its intended audience.
Advanced Search and Filtering
For users to discover relevant content within the massive libraries offered by OTT apps, advanced search, and filtering features have become essential. Basic search functionality that only matches text within titles is no longer enough. Users expect intuitive tools that can quickly surface options matching their interests.
To provide a useful search experience, OTT apps must index metadata for all their content covering details like genre, director, actor, maturity rating, language, and more. Search algorithms can then match user queries against this comprehensive data. Advanced filtering allows users to refine broad search results. Filters for common criteria like genre, release year, rating, and language save users time by removing irrelevant options. Filters targeting more specific metadata like cast, plot keywords, and awards won improve result relevancy.
Natural language processing enables users to enter complex search phrases mimicking everyday speech. Queries like “action movies with Tom Cruise released after 2015” can be parsed to apply the appropriate filters.
Enhanced Playback Controls
Beyond the basic play, pause, and volume controls, OTT apps must offer enhanced playback features to provide a high-quality viewing experience for users. As users consume an increasing amount of content through these apps, more robust control options have become essential in live video streaming app development.
Common advanced playback controls include fast forward and rewind which allow users to skip or replay scenes in an episode or movie. Being able to make larger jumps forward or backward through a 10-second to 1-minute increment saves time and helps navigate to specific points of interest.
Adjustable playback speeds enable users to speed up or slow down video playback. Options ranging from 0.5x to 2x or 3x speeds let users consume content at the pace that suits them best. This is especially useful for catching up on shows or rewatching favorites developed by an OTT video app development company.
Chapter markers that allow jumping to distinct portions of a video make it easier to pick up where you left off or find a particular scene. Episode synopses provide context that aids navigation between chapters. Subtitle customization features let users modify font size, style, and color to improve readability. Options to show subtitles only when audio is unintelligible or always on accommodate different user preferences.
Live TV and Streaming
The ability to stream live TV channels and events has become an essential feature for many OTT apps. In addition to on-demand content, users also want access to real-time programming options that mimic traditional cable or satellite TV.
To offer live streaming, OTT apps must obtain the rights and licenses from cable networks to rebroadcast their channels. This requires negotiating deals to access streaming feeds of popular channels like ESPN, CNN, Fox News, and others. The OTT app can then make these live streams available to users as part of their subscription.
Some OTT services in OTT platform development take it a step further by offering access to live local TV channels based on a user’s geographic region. This requires agreements with individual affiliates of each network in different markets. Viewers thus gain access to their local news, weather, and programming in addition to nationally broadcast live TV options.
Beyond linear channel streaming, OTT apps can also provide live broadcasts of major events. They may obtain the rights to stream major sporting competitions, award shows, political debates, and other can’t-miss programming.
Some key parental control options OTT apps in live video streaming app development provide include:
- Setting spend/purchase limits to prevent unauthorized charges.
- Restricting access to videos marked as explicit or mature based on MPAA or other rating systems.
- Blocking specific types of content like violence, nudity, or strong language.
- Filtering search results to hide inappropriate results.
- Creating individual profiles for each family member with customized restriction settings.
- Requiring PINs to access restricted profiles or make changes to settings.
- Scheduled “downtime” when restricted profiles cannot access the OTT app at all.
- Activity reports that show what each family member has been watching.
A video streaming service development must also provide easy-to-use tools for managing restrictions and monitoring usage for each profile. In summary, by implementing parental controls that give families flexibility in the types and amount of content their children access, OTT apps provide reassurance for parents and increase their appeal for family and child-friendly usage. The feature helps ensure the services “earn their seat at the table” and justify their place in family media consumption.
Social Interaction and Community Features
Social interaction features and a sense of community have become essential for the success of live-streaming app development. Beyond simply accessing content on-demand, users want to connect with others who share their interests and tastes.
Implementing features like forums for discussion, comment sections under videos, profiles to connect with like-minded people, and notifications when others interact with your profile help foster conversations and belonging that engage users beyond passive content consumption. Seeing what others think about shows, finding people with similar tastes, and discussing pop culture events and characters become motivating activities that keep users coming back.
By providing the tools for social interaction and building a community atmosphere, OTT apps offer benefits that go beyond just media access alone. Users value being able to share the experience with others, transforming the service into more of a destination than just a utility. Social features and creating an interactive community in OTT platform development have become necessary for OTT apps to fully satisfy users and drive loyalty.
Continuous Updates and Bug Fixes
For OTT apps to remain useful and frustration-free for users, continuous software updates and bug fixes have become essential. As with any software, issues will inevitably arise over time that degrade performance or impact the user experience. Left unaddressed, these problems can quickly frustrate users and damage an app’s reputation.
Providing a steady stream of updates that resolve bugs, improve stability and enhance features demonstrates to users that the OTT app developer cares about the app’s quality and their satisfaction. Users come to rely on occasional updates to resolve annoying quirks or restore broken functionality. The frequency of updates needed will depend on the app’s complexity and issue rate, but releasing one every one to two months is often reasonable.
Patch notes detailing each update’s bug fixes and feature additions keep users informed about improvements. These notes build confidence that developers are aware of issues and working to resolve them. Over time, they also communicate a broader sense of the app’s ongoing evolution in OTT app platform development.
In addition to fixes, software updates should also incorporate minor feature improvements and optimizations that build upon the initial OTT app experience. Even incremental changes show that the OTT app remains alive and advancing. When done properly, updates feel like natural progressions that enhance rather than disrupt users’ routines.
The features an OTT app provides define how effectively and enjoyably it delivers on its core value proposition. The features outlined in this blog represent some of the most impactful ways for OTT apps to improve the user experience. These include features from content to platform compatibility. By strategically implementing the right mix of these features based on their target users and business goals, OTT apps can strengthen their value proposition. It also helps them enhance customer satisfaction and fuel continued success in the evolving streaming landscape.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
What makes a good OTT app platform?
What makes a good OTT platform is providing a high quality and reliable streaming experience along with a large library of fresh and premium content. Users want an easy to navigate interface with minimal buffering and high-resolution playback of movies and shows. The platform needs to focus on personalizing the content for each user, recommending new content they may enjoy and providing a simple search function.
What are the requirements for OTT app?
There are several key requirements for an OTT platform to be successful. It needs a robust and scalable streaming infrastructure capable of streaming high-quality video to millions of simultaneous users with minimal buffering and interruptions. It also requires a vast library of content from major studios, networks and content creators through licensing agreements and partnerships. A reliable content delivery network (CDN) and edge servers deployed globally are important to minimize latency for viewers across the world.
How to design an OTT app platform?
There are several considerations when designing an OTT platform. Some of these factors are-
- Target audience and type of content
- Streaming infrastructure
- Content delivery network
- App design
- Personalized recommendations
- Subscription plans
What factors attract consumers to streaming services?
Various factors attract consumers to streaming services in live streaming app development. The top attractions are a vast library of on-demand content, the convenience of watching anything anytime, and lower costs compared to cable. It also includes personalized recommendations, and lists, cross-device compatibility, exclusive original content, offline viewing capabilities, commercial-free viewing, simple user interfaces, and social communities around content. An OTT platform that delivers well on these key factors will be successful.
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