Global UX Considerations for International Streaming Apps

    Fact checked by Vahe Arabian
    Vahe Arabian

    Founder and Editor in Chief of State of Digital Publishing. My vision is to provide digital publishing and media professionals a platform to collaborate and promote their efforts, my passion is to uncover talent and… Read more

    Edited by Vahe Arabian
    Vahe Arabian

    Founder and Editor in Chief of State of Digital Publishing. My vision is to provide digital publishing and media professionals a platform to collaborate and promote their efforts, my passion is to uncover talent and…Read more

    global ux

    Daniel Lofaso is the VP of Marketing for 43Twenty, a strategic advisory and marketing firm that accelerates growth for companies in technology, media, and entertainment....Read more

    Global UX (user experience) requires vital considerations when launching an OTT app worldwide. The first will be to understand the culture for which you plan to launch your OTT app.

    However, unless you have launched an app internationally before, you may not know what you will need to do to reach your target market. Take a moment to evaluate the best course of action to launch globally.

    How do you plan to meet the audience’s expectations in a new culture unless you first familiarize yourself with what to expect when developing an international OTT streaming application?  

    The Global App Market in OTT Streaming Services

    As an OTT provider looking to generate more subscriptions to your streaming services, you have probably considered moving on to an international market. Still, you are concerned with what that might entail. India is currently the OTT market with the most rapid growth at more than 28% compound annual growth rate (CAGR).

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    With a more than 20% OTT subscription rate in the top seven countries that offer streaming services worldwide – about 1.1 million subscribers in all – creating a global UX begins with a localized strategy. You will want to cater to these local markets if you intend to take your application overseas.

    Take a moment to review the OTT services market landscape and what market scenarios to consider:

    • An estimate of the current market size 
    • Top companies player revenues
    • Market size according to products
    • Market size according to country/region

    You will need a customized approach that addresses the market needs and includes recognizing purchasing habits, the customer’s preferences, and the cultural differences in the targeted countries.

    What is Localization?

    When it comes to UX, localization entails creating an experience that feels as though you developed the app within that culture. You can produce a genuine quality that eases your customer when they subscribe to your OTT streaming services.

    A few examples of localizing global UX are:

    • Translating dashboard and streaming content
    • Changing currency types
    • Adjusting price according to market
    • Provide CRM that meet language and legal requirements

    What is Global UX?

    Cultural UX is changing. As these trends change, creating a positive UX that is effective worldwide means adapting best practices suitable for every nationality, personal identity, age, language, history, and technology available to that market.

    A company has been able to advance its global UX that transcended OTT streaming over different cultures is Netflix. Netflix took their over-the-top services from an on-premise data center to OTT streaming in 2007, after partnering with AWS for cloud computing of all their data centers. For this reason, Netflix was able to scale content according to the demand and the cultural needs of the target market.

    Netflix Expands Globally Rapidly Thanks to AWS

    Currently, Netflix operates in over 190 countries and reached market expansion in only seven years. It is unprecedented for a company that was nearly sold to Blockbuster in 2000 for merely $50 million to expand at such a rate that it is now worth $87 billion.

    The ability of Netflix to move into the global market was not a fluke. The company was able to leverage its cultural-specific knowledge and create a UX for each country in which they operate, and was a critical factor for regional success.

    However, Netflix was careful in every step taken, and this cautious approach is why they did not enter into every market simultaneously. Instead, the company entered one at a time and evaluated growth, and scaled content accordingly, giving them the revenue to continue onto the next market. These tactics are how Netflix has increased its international revenue, surpassing its numbers in the United States in 2018.      

    How to Incorporate Global UX into Your App Build

    When you have a target demographic, you need inside information that you cannot acquire from simply doing research. Hiring a cultural expert who is authentic is going to be the best resource when developing your OTT app.

    This person will analyze different specifications about that culture and the available resources and technology. Furthermore, they can offer insight on market-specific aspects that someone outside of that culture would not understand. An example of this would be understanding regional religious practices and tailoring content accordingly, such as observing specific celebrations within that nation’s citizens.    

    The Cultural UX Review

    Once you have determined the best source for regional knowledge building – whether hiring a cultural expert or doing your research – it is time to incorporate that knowledge into your app design. There are a few areas you need to meet what would be considered local “norms” in your design. 

    Here are a few of the design considerations you must think about with developing an international streaming app:

    • Color: Designers use color to incite emotions and incorporate that into their designs. These color variants are determined based on the ways different cultures feel about specific colors. An example, in the United States, the color white represents purity, while in India, white represents morbidity. Ensure that you utilize a color scheme that attracts customers within that region of the world.   
    • Graphics: UX designers focus their attention on the graphics and how people react when interacting with these design elements. In America, it is common to evoke positive emotions using an image of a dog or other furry pet. At the same time, in the Islamic culture, they consider dogs dangerous and dirty. For this reason, you will want to ensure that you are not evoking the wrong emotions with your app graphics.  
    • Navigation: This is essential when creating the dashboard and other platform elements that require language formatting. Some cultures read from left to right, others from right to left, and even vertically as opposed to horizontally. Develop app features following the language direction of the region.
    • Forms: Ensure that you and your design team are paying close attention to the format. When lettering or graphics take more space than allotted, this creates an unpleasant viewing experience for your customer. Ensure that all text and graphics fit within the area they are designed to fit in.
    • Holidays: Knowing the cultural holidays will allow you to scale your content according to local festivities and annual or semi-annual events. Ensure that you are familiar with the specific holiday celebrated within that region. Christmas is a prime example of this distinction. Many cultures celebrate Christmas, but there are a few who celebrate differently during the holiday season. Know what each culture celebrates.

    Making the Most When Launching Your Content Internationally

    Do not underestimate the intricacies of launching internationally as an OTT service provider. Globalization has brought about a significant number of challenges that require a successful localization strategy. But you must be forward-thinking and ready to adapt to the changing trends in the OTT landscape.

    The way you account for differences in streaming devices is the same as the considerations for the international expansion of your OTT app. What works for you in one region may not translate well worldwide.  

    Global UX considerations for international streaming app developers like yourself are the most crucial elements in developing OTT apps outside the US. You are ready to expand your OTT services, and you need to know what information and considerations to leverage. You will need an experienced team who can help you reach your audience both locally and internationally. Now that you have done some research on global UX, it’s time to assemble your team.



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