ABC News sees mobile video viewing triple with new app


One hundred days after ABC News launched its revamped application, the company is seeing tremendous growth in mobile video viewing.

ABC has gained some interesting insight on its users, such as the fact that most users view videos between 8 p.m. and 11 p.m. ABC News plans on taking such information into account when determining what content to provide via the app and how to best deliver it.

Weve seen some pretty incredible growth in mobile video over the past few years on our Web properties, and we wanted to deliver an app experience that could help us further that growth, said Doug Vance, vice president of product at ABC News, New York.

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Were incredibly happy with the early results, he said. One thing that has surprised us a bit has been the incredible success of live video in the app. We put them front and center, but our users are watching more live video than we even expected.

After we launched the app there was this shooting at LAX and when that incident broke we broadcasted out the push alerts and had great live video coverage and as a result we saw five times more live video streams on phone apps than on our desktop site so that was the first time wed seen such a marked difference.

Mobile video
ABC News launched its new iPhone and Android app in Oct. 2013 and has already been seeing successful results.

In Nov. 2013, year-over-year monthly mobile unique users increased by 165 percent, and total mobile video views were also up 87 percent.

By analyzing user behavior, ABC News was able to obtain valuable insight on the app. For instance, New Years Eve Around the World was the most popular live stream through Apple AirPlay.

Additionally, the most watched live streams were the LAX shooting coverage, Metro North train derailment and Chris Christie scandal press conference.

ABC News also found that two-thirds of video is watched with the new Watch and read feature that lets users multitask and view videos while reading the related article at the same time.

According to Mr. Vance, users have been watching more video across the board, be it live video, Watch and read or a feature called Daily Rewind.” The last feature provides a video-centric catchup experience around 8 p.m. in a users local time.

Another interesting finding is that 60 percent of the users are on iPhones and 40 percent Android. The most popular devices are the Apple iPhone 5 and Samsung Galaxy S3.

Push alerts
Besides for a big push for mobile video, ABCs new app also highlighted a new push alert system. According to ABC News, more than half of its users leverage personalized push alerts and the story inbox.

Additionally, app users have starred more than half a million stories, with the most shared categories being tech, health, business and politics.

We initiated a user research program, and we found that our users had this love-hate relationship with push alerts on their phones, Mr. Vance said. They love them when theyre personalized relevant actionable but when they feel more spammy or overly promotional theyre really disruptive.

Were seeing really strong usage of the personalized push system, he said. It empowers our users to customize their own ABC inbox.

As you use the app more and express your interest in certain topics, your inbox will be filled with text, photos of what youre interested in. Weve seen great initial results, and were looking at ways to blow that out even further.

Final Take
Rebecca Borison is editorial assistant on Mobile Marketer, New York

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