Digital Business Team has been in the mobile space since 2005, early on it was mainly content licensing deals to telcos. Since 2010, we’ve been experimenting with commercial apps for Entertainment content. And we have learned a lot in that time… I’ll start by sharing some of our experiences in the Entertainment category, and finish up with a checklist for embarking on an app to support your content.
- By and large, here's how we feel about app development
- Australia is not a small market for apps 6% of paid market where UK only 8% even so - very very difficult to make money In the Entertainment space, the App Store is more appropriate as a marketing or sales channel that can be used to engage audiences further with your televisualcontent IF your marketing budget extends to that.- In the Entertainment category we’ve had four apps out of 8 that have been ‘successful’ Only two have been “commercially successful”
Inexpensive because it was very early days in app development in 2010 and no-one knew how long things would take. Don’t think we would have achieved that now.
Paid Entertainment$1.99 regular price$0.99 quiz packsGood installs and engagementStruggle to make profit – high dev costs (Developers would not see as high)
These are all TV brandsGreen – RandlingBlue – SpicksRed - Beach FunKey points:No matter what your business model – apps tend to follow the same trajectory. Spike at start is Apple promotionYou can have an impact with special promotions – eg Beach Fun giveaway – but numbers return to status quo at the end of the promotion, with a couple of days uplift
Purple – Bubble TimeGreen – RandlingBlue – SpicksRed - Beach FunSame graph – but purple line shows performance of a completely free app. Bubble Time. Cumulatively similar downloads to Spicks but in a much shorter timeframe
In contrast over same period Spicks and Specks IAP behaviour. Launched with three, now have six. So, providing your user base is high enough, IAP is a strategy that works for both engagement and revenue generation.
Behaviour Angry Boys we made mistake of building a website inside an app when a soundboard may have been all we needed to do.EngagementABC FOR KIDS despite need for refresh is single most effective and successful app because it has a very simple interface that does one thing – it provides occasionally refreshing sample content to parents and children and links back to paid content for download on iTunes. The app has helped build kids content sold digitally through iTunes into our biggest digital category.
No accident that sign there has a big fat FREE sign on it.
FREE Free most popular99c is standard$1.99 better be bloody good.Bananas:3 apps, 2 paid, one free. Free downloads dwarfed FreemiumABC for Kids – inexpensive to build, refreshing snippets of content, sales channel through to iTunesIAP:Means you can run FREE sales on the main app and still monetise those new audience membersThe content to be purchased must be meaningful and wanted by the audience.Spicks - the content and mechanic itself encourages repeat purchasing behaviour - competitiveness and addictive qualities of a music quiz. Randling - didn’t get the balance quite right. Can get too far in game without need to purchase contentPaid AppsWe've unfortunatelyproven that paid apps barely work in the Entertainment category in Australia. People who are happy to spend $129 on a wooden marble run for their child will complain about $2.99 for a children's game in the app store.
App Dev expensive [Beached az] did generate a profit but that's only because it had a very small dev cost(a miracle not to be repeated), it was already a huge viral success with over 1m views on YouTube)', it's audience of young men corresponded with the early adopter demog of technologyPartnering - If you’re considering sharing IP, consider the impact this will have on your ability to license the app to business clientsAdded advantageAdded advantage of the developer being more invested in the product, rather than just the project - which should also lead to better outcomes
Product mgr/owner or producer responsible and engaged on yr side- You’re ultimately responsible for the quality of your productProject mgt Can they articulate their process? Can they nominate a person who will be project managing, who is not performing any other role? Unless you’re working with sole traders, and you’re managing the dev team, your project manager should not be wearing any other hat.QA practices – Ask for Detailed test plans or a test suite as a deliverable?Do they automate testing?- Use an online tracking tool for bug reporting. This ensures that nothing will get forgotten in a PMs inbox Be realistic about the platform / version combos you'll support
Think how are you going to know if your app is hitting the spot with audiences? (And therefore increasing your chance of success?)Implement Then have the developer implement those analytics. Test them prior to releaseInterpret the Results Guaranteed there will be things you want to do once your audience starts encountering your product and you get feedback n the form of comments and user behaviour on your stats EG Spicks and specks - our analytics told us that most gamers get half way through the levels, about 6% get through to the final level. This tells us how much time/ effort/cost we need to put into creating new quiz packs; also showed us that we could boost usage by implementing game centre to inspire people to play more levels, purchase more quiz packsRandling – as mentioned before, we didn’t quite get the IAP mix right, but there’s no more budget to change it.
Lastly,Actively manage app pricing and promotionsUse Social mediaunless your app is a utility which people NEED, the only drivers of growth for you are word of mouth and paid growth. Paid growth - again if your Cost of acquisition with ads is more than the price of app - paid doesn't work.
Abc digital metro screen v2
ABC Digital BusinessCommissioning and Building AppsAn Entertainment Category Checklist(and Cautionary Tale)
ABC’s commercial mobile development2005 - 2009 2010 2011 2012ABC For Kids News, kids and iOS: iOS: iOS:-World first pre- entertainment Beached Az Phillippa Finch Bananas in PJsschool mobile content ABC For Kids Spicks Quiz Randlingchannel on syndicated to Angry Boys3 Mobile multiple telco, Bananas in Pyjamas media, and retail Android: partners Story Cloud
Golden rules... Or The checklist for commissioning appsPhoto credit: Art Alahay
1. Have a clear idea what you want to achieve• What behaviour do you want your audience to exhibit on encountering your brand in this space? – Who are they? What will THEY want from your brand?• Engagement via digital channels? – Keep it simple – Consider the app part of your marketing budget and scale development accordingly – Include snippets of free content• Brand awareness? – Choose a cheaper channel – Where you have more control over findability• If you do want to generate revenue for the brand, go in with eyes open...
2. Choose a business model that makes sensefor the medium
FREE FREEMIUM PAID• Most popular with • Make sure you have • Works in some audiences enough “mium” to go instances• Possibly even more with the free • Needs a large important than • Teaser content drive addressable audience quality to paid content (global) • In App Purchase • With the means • You can run to market to them FREE sales on • Content owners app and still consider global monetise licensing along with • IAP content other content MUST be meaningful and desired
3. Control costs tightly• Native app dev very expensive compared with the potential for direct revenue• Look for MVPs that will satisfy audience• Sacrifice notional equity and partner with your developer for a revenue share – You can share IP, or retain IP and split revenue only• Added advantage -- developer more invested in the product, rather than just the project – can lead to better outcomes
Engaging development partners ona work for hire basis...• Dedicate your own product owner or producer to the project – Give them decision-making authority and responsibility• Look closely at development partner’s project management processes and practice – Dedicated producer/PM is critical• And QA practices – Ask for detailed test plans as one of the deliverables – Do they automate testing? – Use an online tracking tool for bug reporting.• Be realistic about the platform / version combos youll support• Agree number of rounds of changes you can have for your budget• Include analytics implementation as a deliverable
4. Reserve budget for post-release andmeasure user behaviour• Spend time determining the audience behaviour you will measure early on in the build – Step through your app wireframes to do this• Implement and test the analytics before release• Don’t spend all your budget getting to launch – release with an MVP• Do spend time interpreting the results – you’ll learn where you should be putting the rest of your budget
5. Remember your app is a product, not a project• Monitor user behaviour• Optimise the app based on user behaviour and feedback• Actively manage app pricing and promotions• Actively use social media – viral is your main driver of growth
The Checklist Recap 1. Have a clear idea what you want to achieve, how you want audiences to act 2. Choose a business model that makes sense for the medium 3. Tightly control the development costs (and/or consider rev share partnerships) 4. Reserve budget for post- release and measure user behaviour 5. Remember your app is not a project, it’s a product.