Ooyala targets Android fragmentation with new video apps

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Ooyala, an online video technology firm, announced a series of new apps that the company said could better facilitate watching video via mobile and could expand the second-screen experience. The solutions--Ooyala Discovery Guide, Ooyala XTV Connect and Hook--will be licensed to content providers and cover over 95 percent of Android-enabled devices with studio-approved DRMs, according to Ooyala.

While mobile video consumption is growing, Android is lagging due to fragmentation issues, explained Bill Shapiro, product manager for mobile and device strategy at Ooyala. "Android has 68 percent of the market share but only a 33 percent share of video consumption," he said. "There's a huge gap between the number of Android devices and the number of devices that customers are able to deliver to." The apps attempt to simplify the process of delivering content to a fragmented userbase while keeping users engaged with the content.

Ooyala's Hook app, available from the Google (NASDAQ:GOOG) Play store for Android 2.2 and up, is an app that allows users to view content complete with mobile advertising. Users download the app and are then able to play video using the Hook player. Currently, not all video content is compatible across various devices. The app addresses Android fragmentation, allowing a content provider to create one video viewable across a variety of devices. Shapiro explained that this method is cheaper and less time consuming than creating a native app, but still provides added benefits (DRM protected content, live content, closed captioning, etc.) that HTML5 apps currently cannot.

The Ooyala Discovery Guide is a user-recommendation app that chooses content (both live and on-demand) that users may be interested in viewing on their mobile devices. The Discovery Guide understands playlists and what the user is likely to want to watch next, explained Brian Theodore, product manager of personalization and discovery products at Ooyala. He added that if a user was watching episode three of television drama Game of Thrones, the guide wouldn't try to interrupt the viewing process with a new suggestion. "It works better once you get into longer form content," said Theodore. Media providers can license the app to increase the amount of time users interact with their content. Ooyala didn't disclose any media partners for the app.

Finally, Ooyala XTV Connect allows users to discover content on a mobile phone or tablet and watch that same content later on a connected TV.

Last year, a survey from OnDevice Research revealed that Americans spend an average of 2.4 hours per day using media on their mobile devices, more time than they spend in front of their TVs or PCs. In addition, a study from FreeWheel showed that mobile video accounts for 12 percent of all online views. FreeWheel's data, like Ooyala's, showed that the Android platform lagged iOS in terms of views. Android devices claimed 32 percent of all views, trailing iOS at 60 percent.

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