Breaking down why Hook is the video-playback fix for Android

Android

By Louis Chunovic

It’s something of an open secret that Android devices have a “video playback problem” that’s been bedeviling both mobile users and providers of premium and live content.

But Ooyla’s Hook app, designed by the online video technology and services company, solves that problem, according to a white paper released Monday about Android video distribution. The paper is from consulting and market research firm Frost & Sullivan.

Hook, which was launched last March as a way for creators and publishers to extend the value of their content to mobile, has been downloaded more than 100,000 times for Android. The app supports ad insertion, uses studio-approved DRM, and works across any Hook-enabled website, including Comedy Central and the Pac-12 Conference, the US university basketball network.

One bouquet lobbed at Ooyala’s Hook, along with a frank acknowledgment of the Android problem, comes from the Tennis Channel:

“Traditionally, powering live streams to Android devices has been nearly impossible,” says Josh Ross, the Tennis Channel’s director of advanced media, in the F&S white paper titled Mobile Video Distribution on Android: Challenges, Opportunities and Solutions.

The Tennis Channel, which aired live matches, interviews and behind-the-scenes coverage during the French Open,  saw more than 30,000 downloads in five days and viewer engagement that was two times longer on Android than on iOS devices, according to F&S.

Hook is meant to make monetization of content easier across mobile for clients. “Without that, they risk higher drop-off rates, lower viewer engagement and missed revenues from mobile video. This is especially true for live events,” for which viewers have an “an almost unlimited appetite,” the report states.

It delivers adaptive bitrate and live video streaming using HTTP Live Streaming (HLS) on Android phones that never supported it, which make up more than 50% of Android devices out there according to Ooyala’s blog, Videomind. In comparison, Apple uses HLS on all its devices.

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