ESPN packs video content into app to target multitaskers
August 20, 2013
The WatchESPN app
ESPN has revamped its popular WatchESPN application with new features that let consumers multitask while watching their favorite sports programming.
The sports publisherís app revamp specifically affects the iOS app and includes one main iPad-only feature called Live Toolbar. Apps have been a staple for ESPNís mobile strategy in the past, especially around live streaming.
"Second-screen apps are helpful as it is more annoying to consumers to be able to access their favorite app from one screen, and then if the second screen is the only one available not be able to access the same app to continue a task, as long as the app is cross-platform for the iOS screens" said Marci Troutman, CEO of SiteMinis, Atlanta.
Ms. Troutman is not affiliated with ESPN. She commented based on her expertise on the subject.
ESPN did not respond to press inquiries.
The iPad-only Live Toolbar feature simultaneously lets consumers access scores, stats and ESPN.com clips via the app.
The first section of the†app consists of a Live TV Lineup feature, an interactive channel guide that aggregates information from all networks. The goal behind the feature is to make it easier for consumers to discover content.
The second section focuses on scores and lets consumers toggle between pre-game, live and post-game views. In particular, the in-game view is interesting since there is a live streaming component that lets consumers watch games in real-time by clicking on a link that is tied to live programming above each programming card.
Top videos is the third new part of the WatchESPN iPad app. The section offers on-demand video with clips on the latest analysis, news and highlights.
Multitasking within the WatchESPN iPad app
The WatchESPN version of the app for iPhone, iPod touch and iPad devices has also been updated to let college students and military personnel log into the app over a .edu or .mil Wi-Fi network.
Additionally, ESPNís live programed events on ABC are promoted on the app and redirect users to ABCís recently-launched Watch ABC app.
WatchESPN's iPhone app
ESPN has been ramping up†its mobile app strategy for quite some time to serve as a hub for sports fans to access content.
In January, the sports publisher launched a BlackBerry 10 app as part of the companyís mission to let consumers access content on any device (see story).
Additionally, the brand rolled out an iPad app last fall for fantasy football that offered a second-screen experience to game content (see story).
ESPNís revamp of WatchESPN points to the need for second-screen apps to offer more comprehensive information that complements the content consumers watch on-screen.
At the same time, a multitasking mode may diminish the already short attention span of consumers. The goal of a second-screen app is to deliver simple, relevant information that they cannot access elsewhere.
Instead, the new WatchESPN could be overwhelming to consumers that are looking for straightforward bits of information.
"Mobile, again, is still very new," Ms. Troutman said. "The second and third-screen concepts along with cross-platform usage is still in its infancy and will continue to evolve as consumers realize the usage and how the screens should all be playing together as one."
Lauren Johnson is associate reporter on Mobile†Marketer New York
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