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Consensus on the future of Apple TV at the Kochava Summit

by Pete Schlaefer on Feb 19, 2016

Last week I attended the annual annual Kochava Mobile Summit. It was great to catch up with our expert partners in analytics and attribution at Kochava, and meet so many other forward-thinking members of the mobile community—all against the backdrop of Sandpoint, Idaho, a truly beautiful mountain town.

Amidst all the compelling conversations, one thing struck me in particular: In almost every panel and discussion, we touched on the fast and seemingly indomitable rise of video in mobile and what a world with a more “connected” user might look like. I spoke on a panel about Apple TV and connected devices; it was meaningful to have all the different conversations converge to that point to validate AppLovin’s early push into Apple TV (not to mention our launch of the Apple TV App Challenge, an effort to support developers in making Apple TV apps).

Everyone seemed to agree that world with more connected users—specifically a world where consumers have a connected TV—is an eventuality, and a really beautiful one. But a few big questions emerged. Is Apple TV going to be the winner? What are the first steps in creating a world of connected users and meeting their evolving needs? And how will tracking companies like Kochava, agencies and advertisers, and marketing platforms come together—will they be friends or foes or something in between?

Here’s what we came up with for answers.

Is Apple TV going to be the winner?

Most likely. The reasons here are pretty straight forward. Apple TV’s latest release allows the entire iOS developer community, which is arguably the biggest and best developer community in the world, onto the TV platform; that’s a well-seasoned group that knows what they’re doing. But you have to remember that Apple TV isn’t just the next incarnation for TV—it’s Apple’s play for the connected home. While it’s true that there’s competition, like Amazon’s Echo and Google’s Nest, the fact of the matter is no one bets against Apple.

Ultimately though, I think many tech companies are more or less agnostic in terms of who wins. We know the connected home is going to happen, and we (as technologists) are all excited by a more connected world.

What are the first steps in creating a world of connected users and meeting their evolving needs? And how will tracking companies, agencies/advertisers, and marketing platforms come togetherwill they be friends or foes or something in between?

We found the answers to these questions to be largely sequential so I’m combining them here. The first step toward creating a world of connected users is allowing advertisers to replicate what they do in mobile on Apple TV (and other connected devices) because mobile is probably the closest analog. From an advertiser/publisher perspective, what users already do through the App Store on iPhones and iPads provides the best guess for what might happen with Apple TV, but new friction points in terms of user behavior and preferences will likely emerge. So while the transition to masses of connected users will start with porting what we’re all doing in mobile to Apple TV, we will all learn and adapt from there, just as all technologists and product people are accustomed to doing.

Through this iterative approach, we’ll also get to the point where advertisers and agencies, publishers, tracking companies, and platforms will come together, collaborating to best serve users as they add more connected technology to their daily lives. Everyone agreed that this could be painful in the early days because as one part of the ecosystem successfully iterates, the others will have to follow suit. This dynamic makes each contributor both a friend and a foe in the short term, but as we move forward collectively, we’ll arrive at a great place where a more connected user can better interact with advertisers and publishers.

The Kochava Summit promised to bring together some of the most informed perspectives on our industry, and it delivered. If you want to continue to stay on top of how Apple TV in particular unfolds, then be sure to read all of our related blog posts.

 

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Pete Schlaefer is AppLovin’s Vice President of Growth Partnerships.

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