We got a BT Sport subscription last month to watch Champions League and Europa League matches. The stream (we watch on the TV using Chromecast) often paused and skipped, often over entire plays, and at least once over a long sequence including the goal. It was terrible.
Before the finals, we remembered that BT Sport streams the two finals free on YouTube. So, halfway through the Europa cup final, I switched to streaming from YouTube. It was flawless. There was no pause-and-skip. At all! For the Champions League final, I didn’t even bother switching on the BT Sport app, and went direct to watching on YouTube.
BT Sport isn’t the only company with a terrible live streaming product. Eurosport player’s pause-and-skip is terrible, making all sports unwatchable. ITV is so aware of its terrible product that it doesn’t even offer live streaming on Chromecast, only recorded programs are available. These are just the ones I’ve tried.
This got me thinking. YouTube has some of the best streaming infrastructure and knowhow. For instance, they understand that continuity is more important than quality in live streaming, so their algorithm dynamically reduces video quality instead of pausing live streams. They have content delivery deals with most network providers globally, helping reduce lag and data transfer. They basically already have all the infrastructure for a successful streaming platform.
What would Amazon have done if it owned YouTube in its current state? They would have productised the YouTube streaming platform, a la AWS and Amazon logistics, and opened it up for any company to use.
Continue reading If Amazon owned YouTube…
“A platform is when the economic value of everybody that uses it, exceeds the value of the company that creates it. Then it’s a platform.”
– Bill Gates (as per @chamath), from Stratechery Daily Update 2017-01-12
As a cyclist, I keep exploring route mapping and live tracking apps. This weekend it was the turn of mapmytracks, thanks to all the attention focussed on rocket2 LEJOG attempt.
But this post is not about a route mapping / tracking website, or about that attempt. It’s about the interesting approach mapmytracks has taken to app development.
They’ve developed official iPhone, Blackberry and Nokia apps. They don’t have an Android app, yet, but openly link to alternative Android apps that work with their API providing both live tracking and route mapping.
I like this approach, coming as it is from a website in a cluttered & competitive space. By providing an API and advertising / linking to compatible apps, they don’t have to compete with the huge number of similar apps in Android marketplace. Yet, they enable people on the most widely used smartphone OS to connect to their platform.
In one move, they’ve reduced their own efforts towards developing an Android app, ensured presence on multiple apps on that platform, and yet given them the option to, some day, buy the app that emerges as most successful on Android.
- Are there other small firms out there, developing and owning the platform while providing APIs and encouraging outside developers to provide mobile apps for it?
- Why don’t more startups that are targeting to become a ‘platform’ use this with an app+api strategy?
Continue reading Platform + App + API = Shortcut to Win