Carving a Niche Among Giants

Posted on November 19, 2019

It’s an interesting time for consumer video delivery. How many streaming devices are there? What do users think of all these subscriptions? With entertainment goliaths entering the space, things just got quite a bit more crowded.

Or did they?

Gargantuan Ad Spends

Personally, whether I’m on my phone, computer, or TV – it seems like every screen I look at lately I see an ad for either Disney+ or Apple TV+. Also, it’s a bit uncanny they both chose the “+” nomenclature formula.

Disney+ Promo On ABC 7 News

Going through the comments on these ads is particularly insightful. Relevant comment algorithms love favoring controversy, so it’s no surprise to see a mix of fifty-fifty reviews… some people are praising, others loathe. 

Varied Features from Device to Device

It seems many customers are disappointed in the feature set for their particular device. According to user reports, some platforms are missing key features that video platform app users have come to expect like a “continue watching” or “resume” feature. Netflix has groomed many of us into a belief of what a video streaming platform should be. When familiar features seem to have been left out, these unmet expectations are quite disappointing for the consumer.

Differing user experiences from device to device leave some feeling like they are missing out. Even though they’re paying the same subscription price as everyone else, the app varies depending on what Operating System it was developed for. This can leave users frustrated when the app built for their device is lacking features.

Even worse, some users can’t download the app at all because it’s not available on their device. 

Listening to the Feedback

On a Disney+ Facebook ad comment Leslie writes “Unless you have a smart tv that is not compatible. Woohoo! Thanks, no thanks.” (Nov. 13, 2019) 

"Unless you have a smart tv that is not compatible. Woohoo! Thanks, no thanks."

“Just buy a Roku TV or Fire TV…”

Sure, there are many brands of Smart TVs, but with an unveiling of this scale, from a company as monumental as Disney, one would think they’d have all bases covered. 

Leslie received many replies to her comment from people like Jay who make it sound easy, “Just buy a Roku TV or Fire TV…” Another user pointed out that these options are cheap, now just $30.

And this is true, streaming devices are gaining massive popularity due to low friction price points and highly desired features like 4K, voice command, and Smart Home integration.

How many streaming devices are Roku?

Roku has earned its position as the best selling streaming device in the US with 41 million devices (source: Strategy Analytics). Roku is leading the pack in this metric partly due to being first-to-market, but also largely due to securing many manufacturing partnerships.

Roku comes as the preinstalled operating system on many big-name smart TV brands like Sharp, TCL, Insignia, JVC, Hitachi, and Philips.

How many streaming devices 2019, United States
At VidType we anticipate Amazon Fire TV will surpass Roku in 2020 for total devices in the US.

How many streaming devices are Fire TV?

Amazon has earned its position in the market with 34 million devices in the US. This is without a doubt largely due to their massive, already existing customer base, and cross-platform Smart Home perks like having Alexa on your TV. Can your Roku dim the lights and change the temperature of the room with a voice command?

How many streaming devices are Apple TV?

At first glance, it appears Apple TV is far behind with just 13 million streaming TV devices in the US… but this is only true if you choose to ignore the fact that they have the most popular phone and tablet in the United States. That’s a lot of streaming devices.

Mobiles were conveniently left out of the Strategy Analytics survey… but it doesn’t take machine learning to realize that hundreds of millions of people are streaming video on their phones and tablets. To only include TV devices in the statistics is misleading because many people’s primary video viewing device is their phone.

What about Value Per User?

According to the study, Apple TV has only sold roughly a third of the units as Roku in the US. However, at $149 for the entry-level Apple TV, the price point is 5 times higher. This makes it clear that Apple TV users are premium users and are looking for a better quality experience and are willing to pay for it. 

Quality of Developers matters, too

How many streaming devices sold is just one metric to analyze. In addition to having a higher quality user base, the developer pool for Apple TV is much more refined compared to Roku. One of the reasons Roku has become so popular is also one of its downfalls: the barrier of entry for developers is quite low… just about anyone can make a Roku channel. Apple TV apps tend to come with an extra coat of polish that many Roku and Fire TV apps are lacking. 

A Recipe for Success

The LA Times reported more than 10 million people signed up for Disney+ within the first 24 hours. At $6.99 per month, this is no small feat. And it’s no surprise either… A trove of beloved content at a low price point, plus a big ad spend is a recipe for success. 

However, at some point, are consumers going to have enough of these micropayment subscriptions? Sure, by itself it’s not an expensive monthly payment, but when viewers subscribe to multiple platforms, add sports packages, add a music streaming service, and include the high-speed Internet connection that’s required to make it all happen, all of a sudden it adds up quickly.

Is this an opportunity for non-subscription based apps, monetized through advertising to shine?

Know Your Audience, Own Your Audience

One thing is clear, there is a very high demand for quality content. No matter how many streaming devices there are, no matter how many apps… As a video producer/curator, the best way to cut through the noise and compete with behemoths like Netflix and Disney is to cultivate a highly targeted audience and deliver an exclusive video product your viewers can’t find anywhere else. 

We’re Expanding Platforms

At VidType we’ve been busy improving our product line. Keeping up with how many streaming devices there are… We now have offerings on all major platforms including Roku, Fire TV (firestick), Android, Android TV, Chromecast, Apple TV and iOS. 

Whether you want to charge your viewers a monthly subscription or generate revenue through ads, we’ve got your tech covered. 

Video Player with Modern Web Features

We’ve added new features like Offline Viewing. This allows your viewers to tap a button to download a video in the background, making the video viewable within the app, even without an internet connection. This is a highly desired feature, perfect for flights, long car rides, or simply when you want to save favorites and limit data consumption. 

Another one of our recent developments is the ability to add custom URL buttons on top of your videos. In addition to traditional video player buttons like pause, volume, full screen, you can now easily overlay your own buttons directly on top of the video itself. All of a sudden each of your videos has the capability of click-through calls to action. This means you can send traffic to landing pages, eCommerce, social media, or any URL you want.

In all reality, this is another completely legitimate way to monetize. 

We’re Here to Help

If you’re wondering how to make an Apple TV app, how to launch your own Roku channel, or how to create an Amazon Fire TV show… let us answer the questions for you. In a space of seemingly endless options, we make it easy. The best part, you can manage channels on all major platforms from one place, using just a web browser. 

If you have any questions about creating your own video streaming app, we’re here to help inform you of your options.

All rectangles automatically scale according to the length of the text

If you need a professional looking news style lower third template, then you came to the right place. You will need Adobe After Effects to edit this template. This is a source project file, free for you to use and brand it to suit your video needs.

Easy to edit, modern TV-style motion graphics in After Effects

Swap The Text Out, Change The Font and Colors

This After Effects Project utilizes a script that will automatically resize the rectangle according to the length of the text. It will also resize if you change the font or font-size.

Here’s an example with just the text and colors edited.

Complete After Effects Source File, Fully Customizable Motion Graphics Template

There is also a “Padding” parameter and script enabled, so if you want a larger rectangle, all you have to do is turn up the padding.

There are some quick motions to animate the graphics on and off the screen. There are also some minimal lighting effects. This type of style is prevalent on contemporary TV channels and news stations.

Export your News Style Lower Third to Alpha (Lossless)

Make sure when you render your video that the background is disabled and export settings are set to Alpha (Lossless) . This way, the transparency is preserved. This way, when you bring this clip into another project, in Premiere for example, the graphic will sit on top of the video layer behind it.

So you want to know how to make an Apple TV app.

Do you code? Well, great! If you’re adept with making iOS apps with Swift, you’ll be make an Apple TV app for tvOS too. One of the main challenges is instead of programming for a touch-screen interface like iOS, tvOS is controlled via a remote “focus”.

Another obvious constraint is users will be locked to landscape orientation.

If you’re ready to get your hands dirty, Apple does a great job with their documentation for tvOS developers.

If you’re not quite ready to dive in, but you’re interested in learning to code, Ray Wenderlich is an excellent instructor and has made some great courses for learning tvOS.

Don’t have the time to learn to code?

Believe me, we get it. We’re developers and it’s taken us years to build our platform to its current state. Many things must come into consideration when developing an app, and in particular a Smart TV app.

If you’re the do it yourself type and want to take the bull by the horns, by all means, we support you. But if you’d like a HUGE head start, in fact, a complete end-to-end solution, we’re happy to sign you up and make an Apple TV app for you.

We’ll make an Apple TV App with the features you’d expect, and then some

At VidType we’ve reimagined the streaming video channel from the ground up. The architecture and video delivery infrastructure that supports our channels is bedrock solid.

Our designs are fully responsive for all screens, with extreme attention paid to all viewing experiences, TV, tablet and smart phone. Our platform’s elastic backbone will scale to power even the most demanding video channels.

What do I need to make an Apple TV app with VidType?

As a video platform owner, your main responsibility is managing your videos.

We’ll help get you set up with an Apple Developer account. this is $100 per year and is good for as many apps on iOS or tvOS as you like.

You’ll also need a video hosting account to suit your needs. This way, you only pay for what you use. To give you an idea, video hosting typically costs less than a few hundred dollars per year.

Run Your Own Video Streaming Business

Once your accounts are set up, all you really need to do is upload your videos, name and categorize them. Thumbnails are automatically pulled from the video, or upload your own screenshot.

You can also upload a logo for each category of videos. This logo can be used as a watermark, placed in any corner of your video player.

We’ll create all types of apps for you

Adobe After Effects Template Project
You will need Adobe After Effects to utilize this free template.

Download the Free Top Shelf Image After Effects Project File Here:

Apple TV Remote and Home Screen

What is a Top Shelf?

Before we get into the Top Shelf Image, first let’s talk about the Top Shelf itself. “Top Shelf” is the term Apple uses to refer to the first row of apps on an Apple TV user’s home screen. Similar to a smartphone, an Apple TV user can rearrange their apps however they like. The idea is that users will place their five favorite apps in their “top shelf” for easy access and an enhanced display.

Apple TV Top Shelf Image

Do I need a Top Shelf Image?

If you plan to launch an Apple TV app, you will need a Top Shelf Image when you submit the app for approval. This is an opportunity to relate to your audience through visual creativity and branding that reflects the content of your channel.

Even though Top Shelf Images are stills, our project file has preset 3D Camera Movements so you can adjust the perspective to taste.

What are the required Top Shelf image sizes?

Top Shelf, Top Shelf Image, and App Icon

Top Shelf Image Pixel Dimensions

  • 1920 x 720
  • 2320 x 720 (wide)
  • 3840 x 1440
  • 4640 x 1440 (wide)

These are the image sizes you’ll need to upload with your app to ensure your viewer gets a Top Shelf image appropriate for their screen size and resolution.

Do I need to use After Effects to make a Top Shelf Image?

Absolutely not. This template is just one option for generating a professional-looking Top Shelf Image using screenshots from your content.

You do not need After Effects, or any particular program for that matter, to make your Top Shelf image. You do need a properly sized (4640×1440) PNG without transparency (no alpha channel). You will also need smaller iterations for devices with lower resolutions (see above).

We built this template in After Effects so we could utilize its powerful image rendering capabilities.

What will I find in this Template?

This After Effects Project file is composed of a 5 x 3 grid of images. Just pick 15 photos or screenshots from your videos and place them over the placeholder images. Add your logo, choose your gradient colors and you will quickly have a visually appetizing Top Shelf Image.

The image grid is displayed in a 3D environment and there are preset camera movements that subtly adjust the perspective, so you can export the frame/angle you like best.

Example of a Top Shelf Image made using this template.

How do I use this Template?

Unzip the file and open the After Effects project file (Apple TV Top Shelf Grid Template.aep).

In the Project window locate the Composition titled “LOGO”. Double click this to open the Comp. Go to File > Import… and select your logo graphic file from your computer. Click OK and drag the file from your Project window to the LOGO composition work area.

Now that your logo is loaded, back in the Project window, open the Screens folder and you will find a Composition for each of the images in the 3D Grid. Open each of these Comps and replace the png file in the comp (A1.png, A2.png, A3.png etc.) with your Images.

Render Frame to PNG

You can now open one of the RENDER Compositions to preview what your 3D image grid will look like. There is a RENDER Comp that will place the logo on the right, and another comp with the logo on the left.

There are also two “Color” Comps that will form a gradient behind your logo. You can open these Comps and adjust the solid colors to form a gradient that matches your brand.

Most importantly, export the RENDER TOP SHELF IMAGE (either LEFT or RIGHT depending on what side you want your Logo on) to a PNG sequence. This will export one single PNG that will be 4640×1440. You can now use Photoshop or your image editor of choice to scale the image to the other 3 sizes, 3840×1440, 2320×720, and 1920×720.

In addition to a Top Shelf Image you will also need an Apple TV icon when you submit your app. Get a head start on your tvOS icon design by using our tvOS icon template for Photoshop.

Televindu: Slow TV Top Shelf Image for tvOS Apple TV
Top Shelf Image for Televindu on tvOS

Slow TV: A Breath of Fresh Air

Enjoy feeling present in time and space with Slow TV. Sail into the sunset, explore your dream destination, bike across countries, or set the mood with a fireplace – the choice is yours!

On Televindu, you will find hundreds of hours of Slow TV. Slow down, take a deep breath, and explore the world at the pace of life.

Video On Demand Slow TV Categories

Seeing the World Has Never Been Easier

  • Find Slow TV you like in our easy-to-use categorized video platform.
  • Discover new videos in our Vindu TV channel.
  • Download your favorite videos to your device.
  • Cast to any screen with Apple TV or Chromecast.
  • Enjoy an ad-free experience.
Slow TV Login and Main Menu Screenshots

Robust Features Built on the VidType Platform

Televindu brought us a great concept, they’ve dubbed “Slow TV” and we delivered a business ready solution. Their app required some custom developments to the VidType platform, particularly so they could authenticate paid subscribers through Stripe.

With these new features built, VidType is more powerful and resourceful than ever.

Slow TV: Vindu TV

The first option users are presented with upon launching the app is Vindu TV. If a viewer selects this, they will drop in on any already playing broadcast, using Flow Mode™ our powerful linear video scheduling engine. This allows viewers to tune into whatever you have programmed and perhaps discover something new by chance.

User Login and Subscription Authentication

Televindu: Slow TV is a premium service. Like many other video platforms, they charge a subscription fee to access their content. This model is commonly known as SVOD, Subscription Video On Demand. When a user signs up and pays for a subscription on the Televindu website, they create a login for the app.

When a user opens the app they are presented with a login screen. The app checks the payment database to see if the login is valid,

Offline Viewing

We placed a download icon in the top-right corner of each video thumbnail. This allows subscribers to intuitively select their favorite videos for offline viewing. A checkmark is placed on the download icon and the download begins in the background. When the download is complete this video will be available in the “Offline” section of the app, even when there is no internet connection. Check out our recent platform update for more information about Offline Mode.

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