How the First Mobile-First Video Station in Latin America Was Built

Region is second fastest growing mobile market in the world.
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The number of mobile phone users in Latin America is exponentially growing, and there’s no wonder why the region is sometimes referred to as the next big mobile battleground. This reality is radically shifting the consumer landscape, presenting an important argument for media providers to rethink their digital strategies.

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It’s exactly this skyrocketing usage of mobile phones where the La República Media Group saw an opportunity to reinvent their brand for modern media consumers. That’s why the content giant from Peru partnered with Streann, a digital company providing advanced multimedia platform solutions, to build brand new streaming capacities from scratch. And this time, the main star of the show was video content.

Instead of allowing themselves to be disrupted, the company decided to become a disruptor. And this move certainly paid off: Read the story about how a media company reinvented itself from a traditional newspaper read over the morning cup of coffee, into a multimedia platform with a variety of features, now accessed by thousands of users every day.

THE MOBILE REVOLUTION

Latin America is the world’s second fastest-growing market for mobile subscribers just after Sub-Saharan Africa. The region with a population of approximately 640 million people already has 415 million mobile phone users—out of which over 200 million use a smartphone. And some believe these numbers to be even higher, noting that the region itself has a higher number of people using their devices to access the internet than in the U.S.

This trend moves the traditional channels for audience engagement, such as newspapers, TV ads, magazines or billboards, toward playing the second fiddle. As even the established media houses are gradually being shaken up, they need to face the harsh truth: It’s time to embrace digital transformation or be prepared to perish.

This was the exact philosophy that incentivized La República, the second-largest print and digital organization in the country, to revamp its entire strategy. With its legacy stretching all the way back to 1981, the media group had an impressive history to build on. But would that be enough?

A JOURNEY INTO CONSUMERS’ MINDS

The average Latin American media consumer now wants different things than they wanted a decade ago—and thanks to the internet, they have a much wider array of choices. Apart from the desire to interact and engage, there is an obvious need for immediacy: After all, with features like live streams, we are enabled to access information and content in real time. Shorter formats tend to be generally more popular due to decreased attention spans but it all depends on the message that the content conveys. But above all, these realities make us realize one thing: The current landscape strongly favors videos.

For La República, the main challenge was bridging the digital gap by moving onto the second screen. However, by building a brand-new app called RTV, its partner Streann enabled the company to upgrade from print content to a new 360-media model, including non-linear and on-demand TV built exclusively for the mobile world.

The company had two main goals. First, it wanted to have greater control over its audiences and access consumer data to construct advanced customer profiles and fuel corresponding marketing efforts. Second, the company aimed at creating a brand-new business model for monetization. Both of these aspects came together in the innovative solution that didn’t require a subscription, nor a pay-per-watch model. The app incorporates a unique technology that displays an algorithm-chosen ad in a separate smaller window within the same screen, instead of directly interrupting the viewing.

GEARED FOR SUCCESS

The integrated app took six months to develop and prioritized a design that serves viewers, instead of overwhelming them. With simplicity and user-friendliness being the priority, it presents a straightforward viewing mode and intuitive selections. Apart from suggesting on-demand content based on consumer behavior and preferences, the platform is armed with a powerful newsfeed section that enables a visual approach to journalism, allowing RTV to connect with their audiences at a multimedia level. According to La República, this set-up has increased the group’s potential to reach over a million new users.

But let’s get to tangible numbers: RTV has registered 25,000 daily users that consume approximately 20 minutes of videos per day. The completion rate was measured to be at 80%, concluding a set of success metrics. The viewability—meaning whether the person really is consuming the content—increased by 70% compared to the previous channels. This is why the CTO of La República Media Group, Alfieri Noce, was confident enough to say, “Building upon our legacy in newspapers, we are now the most innovative media group in Peru.”

However, what’s perhaps the most interesting is the demographics. Approximately 60% of the registered users are international, meaning that the app managed to attract audiences from across the region. La República was also surprised that over 50% of the app users are millennials, compared to the usual 30%. This leads us to the assumption that free dynamic video content on mobile presents a great opportunity to engage with one of the most lucrative population segments in the region.

Gio Punzo is the CEO of Streann.