Video Distribution: A Universal View

A Universal View of App Store & Video Distribution Channel Data

Many media companies who have invested in a direct-to-consumer SVoD offering rely on third-party app stores and video distribution channels; Google Play, Apple App Store, Amazon Channels, etc., to increase their reach and in some cases completely off-load the role of managing subscriptions and payments (using only third parties to manage subscriptions).

Leveraging third-party app stores can be a very reasonable part of a direct-to-consumer strategy, but it does come with trade-offs and some complexity.

  1. The main trade-off is of course, economic. In return for promotion and managing payments, app stores typically withhold 15-40% of gross revenue earned by subscriptions.
  2. The second important trade-off is that the reporting provided by various app stores is not uniform, and more importantly, can be very sparse vis-à-vis the information that can be collected from an owned and operated service. Moreover, the lack of uniformity in the data provided and methods of accessing it makes comparisons challenging. This is important when considering how to best balance efforts among app stores versus internal efforts. Getting to an apples to apples view of these disparate reports is the best way to make sense of it all.

Understanding the relative effectiveness and profitability of each app store, in comparison to a company’s owned and operated service is important for making decisions about which partnerships to emphasize or in some cases shift away from. Seeing all of this in one place is difficult, which is where the Wicket Scorecard come in.

Unified Reports Deliver a Universal View

This is a huge time saver for internal teams tasked with managing app store partnerships and making sense of the reports that come from these partners.

An entirely new Distribution page has been developed in the Wicket Scorecard, designed to address and provide clarity and transparency regarding the opportunities and challenges of working with one or more app stores.

To do this we first built automated methods for gathering reporting data from the major app/channel stores. We then applied the same harmonizing techniques we use for the rest of the Wicket Scorecard and used the resulting data set to power several really powerful Wickets. In concert, these Wickets provide a great summary of app store performance and revenue contribution. We’ve shared a few of the Wickets on this page to give you a sense for the kind of picture that can be painted.

The primary graph on this page does a great job of showing the big picture of third-party subscriptions. It’s easy to see aggregate subscribers, new trials, conversions, and cancellations over time or broken out by app store (Fig. 1).

Chart of third party subscriptions

Fig. 1 – See aggregate subscribers, new trials, conversions, and cancellations over time or broken out by app store in the Third Party Subscriptions Wicket.

chart of distribution metrics broken down by store

Fig. 2 – Store Breakdown reports installs, ratings, trials, activations, revenue, engagement, in addition to other data not shown in this image.

We show more detail on each app store and importantly provide a comparison to a customer’s direct business in the following table. In one elegant Wicket, we pack in reporting about installs, ratings, trials, activations, revenue, and engagement, while making it easy to compare and contrast these measures across stores (Fig. 2).

An important value proposition of third-party app stores is effective promotion. That is a combination of impressions (promotion), installs, activations, and most importantly, conversions to paying customers (effectiveness). We make this easy to see in the Wicket below (Fig. 3):

Chart of impressions by store

Fig. 3 – Impressions by Store provides a quick view into promotion performance by store.

Two really challenging aspects of working with app stores are:

  1. accounting for payments that can sometimes be limited to a check with no attached reporting
  2. projecting timing and amounts of future payments

chart of historical and forecasted payments by App Store

Fig. 4 – Payments by App Store addresses historical and future view of earnings.

To help address this challenge, the following Wicket (Fig. 4) combines payments from billing records and payment terms (a combination of % of revenue retained by app store and payment schedule). This provides a really useful historical and near-future view of earned revenue and expected payments.

Why This Matters

We started out this post by saying that including third-party app stores as part of a direct-to-consumer SVoD strategy can be a good idea. To make sure it is, we believe that being able to see the relative performance of these stores is critical. We’ve set out to make that easy and highly contextual.

This is a huge time saver for internal teams tasked with managing app store partnerships and making sense of the reports that come from these partners.

  • No more logging into multiple systems cobbling together reports from emailed spreadsheets, web portals with no export, and well-formed API access
  • No more guesswork about payments received and future timing of payments
  • Plenty of insights into what’s working and what is not with app store partners

If you are using app stores for your video service, adopting this is an easy decision. To find out just how easy, contact us today for a demo!


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