Are You down with OTT? Making New Development Approaches Work for You.

Author:Kinsbruner, Eran
Position:DATABASE AND NETWORK INTELLIGENCE: OPINION
 
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Over-the-top (OTT) platforms are redefining what it means to watch TV and how consumers can engage with their large screens, and it's important developers are ahead of the curve able to deliver services at speed, while ensuring quality.

Amazon's ecosystem approach to e-commerce has revolutionised the industry. Opening up its online store to third party vendors formed a virtuous circle--more traffic to Amazon.com as users sought out products they wanted to buy, and more potential customers for retailers, as users discovered products through the site. Of course, there will always be some debate about the commission charged on products bought or licensed through stores like this, but ultimately in an ecosystem model everyone wins.

Following the success of its online presence, we now see Amazon making strides to replicate the model on the app side, through its Fire TV device. Fire TV allows users to download new apps to any Android device--offering variety, novelty and more accessibility. For Amazon, the win is again in commission, and for app developers, Fire TV opens up extensive new opportunities to reach consumers. Indeed, platforms like Fire TV not only enable on demand streaming but also open a new screen to engage customers in their own living rooms via downloadable apps.

You could be forgiven for thinking that Fire TV is reserved for TV and movie streaming services like Netflix or Hulu, but tradidional apps have a place here too. So how do app developers capitalise on this opportunity? And how can they develop for an entirely new screen--while still delivering services at the speed and quality consumers expect?

Overcoming OTT obstacles

So, "Over-the-top"--the term used to describe the delivery of content via the Internet--is the sexiest term in entertainment right now, not the least because it sits at the centre of the inevitable and unstoppable merger between the worlds of television and digital video. But beyond the hype, there are many practical challenges of developing for Amazon's app store and to distribute through Amazon Fire TV--and like any other major trend, it's something which developers need to be prepared for.

As with any change in the industry there will naturally be some teething problems. Firstly, developers must deliver apps that work well on a new screen. If you've been following the Kodi community, you've probably heard the word "fork" thrown around at least once or twice and 'forking' is what developers are doing...

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