Typically on-demand has ruled as far as mobile TV apps go, but things are changing fast. Two heavy hitters in video content have just branched off into new uncharted mobile TV territories, and it looks like live programming could become the standard rather than the exception in the coming year.
Vevo has been the go-to place for music videos, both via its website with social media hooks and its app available on multiple mobile platforms such as the iPhone and iPad. Typically it is on-demand, you search for an artist or video and then click play. You’ll often see a short preroll or house ad, but then you’re off and running with the music. Vevo recently added an important element to its wheelhouse, and its called Vevo TV. It’s available on Vevo.com, iOS, Android, Xbox, Roku and Windows phone. It’s a 24/7 mix of entertainment, the kind of channel, like MTV used to be, where you can flick it on for a constant stream of new music and classic tunes. The coming years will see major brands become channels, and channels becoming apps, so Vevo is definitely ahead of the game.
Part of Vevo’s strategy is focused on one place for all your music video needs. Previously you could check out music videos on YouTube. But there were various grey areas with licensing, and fans uploading their own copies, so it was kind of an uneasy mix. Vevo focused on building up an official YouTube channel, which would be home to all music videos. But in the past year it has shifted focus (and the videos) over to Vevo.com and its app. Want to see Katy Perry? The website is now the place. They also began producing original programming such as "The Comment Show" and "Hot This Week." All of these steps has them channeling or recreating MTV when it was riding the wave of success. But the live 24/7 channel it just launched is the closest thing to MTV it's done, and it is sure to inspire other brands and networks to do the same, through websites, apps and streaming boxes.
YouTube also has made news this past week by adding in live streaming to its iOS app (for iPad and iPhone), and it could not come at a better time. The YouTube website has incorporated live streaming for a while now and has offered tools that lets users produce live broadcasts. YouTube live shows can be broadcast on the website and also automatically archived for later viewing, via a fairly simple process. Some users have access to a beta version of live streaming which offers better quality, typically channel producers with a larger followings. The shift is now YouTube has added the ability to view live shows in its app. Users can now watch live sports, news and concerts, all for free. Content of YouTube live streaming is getting better, recent shows this week include Austin City Limits Live, TEDx Tokyo and many others in various categories.
Adding into this mix on YouTube.com is Google+ Hangouts, which offer another path for users to produce their own live programming. Google+ Hangouts allow multiple participants using Google+ to be in the live show via video and audio, making for a much more immersive and engaging experience. Quality of Goolge+ Hangouts are still a little soft, since it does take a lot of bandwidth for multiple participants, but the potential is there, especially as an entry point to hosting a live show.
Inclusion of live streaming into apps shows a commitment to live programming that goes just beyond on demand. As our digital devices such as tablets and smartphones become more and more the focus of our entertainment, its clear that brands need to offer 24/7 channels that can be flicked on easily. It’s interesting as broadcast moves more to on demand via cable and satellite, mobile moves more toward broadcast via 24/7 entertainment channels via tablets, smartphones and streaming boxes. Each market seems to be rounding out its options and will be competing for viewers are the months and years progress. We can expect to see more brands going “live”, especially via apps, in the next several quarters.