RTÉ will release Android and iOS versions of their popular video-on-demand RTÉ Player service later this year. According to Silicon Republic, Aisling McCabe, head of platform development at RTÉ, confirmed RTÉ’s plans to release free mobile apps for the two platforms late last week.
The apps are also understood to include certain “social” features. This will likely take the form of limited Twitter and Facebook integration through the use of Facebook Like and Tweet buttons.
In December of last year RTÉ released RTÉ Player for the PS3, so this latest announcement has come as no surprise. McCabe explains the rationale behind their decision to release the PlayStation 3 version first before building mobile applications, which would undoubtedly reach a larger audience.
“Because we focus on the small screen (phone), middle screen (PC) and large screen (TV) as a strategy, we had to prioritise certain things over others. For example, we launched the iPlayer XL on the PlayStation 3 and some of our viewers plug their laptops into the large-screen TV at home via a HDMI input.”
RTÉ appear to have a distribution strategy in place and have been busy developing and updating the RTÉ Player product over the last few months. In January the player went international and just last month live channel streaming was introduced.
RTÉ’s News Now iPad app has been well received since it was released in February and has already achieved 14,000 downloads so far – installed on over half of all the 25,000 estimated iPads in Ireland, according to McCabe.
“To give you context, there were some 25,000 iPads sold so far, so that has been a total success.”
Many challenges lie ahead for RTÉ, not just in terms of obvious competitors like Magnet WebTV, but also in areas like content distribution. RTÉ are aware of the importance of content delivery mediums and the move towards mobile devices – something that may very well secure the national broadcaster’s future success.
“It’s really about innovating how you deliver your content. The future is all about devices, but that’s also a challenge because there are so many different standards.
“The whole world of content distribution is changing and we want to be in a position to embrace those changes.”