Unleash Premium Video on Android with Hook from Ooyala

By Jonathan Wilner on Mar 27 2013 at 9:00 AM

Today, Ooyala is excited to introduce Hook, a new video app (currently in pilot with select customers) that will help leading content providers bring premium video to Android devices. 

Hook also drives mobile video monetization, and delivers a superior viewer experience on the world’s most important mobile platform.
 
Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you’ve probably heard that mobile is eating the world.
 
If you still think that PCs are the dominant computing platform, with mobile a growing but distant second-place contender, you may actually be thinking of 2009. 
 
Today, the number of smartphones and tablets sold eclipses traditional PC sales. In many countries, more people access the Internet on a mobile device than on any other type of computer. 
 
In the mobile market (and in the broader computing market), Android has rapidly become the dominant platform. Android will soon power a billion devices, including smartphones, tablets and phablets -- those tweener devices like the Samsung Galaxy S4 that are too large for pockets but too small to be considered a full-size tablet.
 
Despite this phenominal growth, streaming video on Android is still not all that it could be. 

Android Video Is Still A Pain

Ooyala co-founder and President of Product Bismarck Lepe described the current state of Android video fragmentation in a recent TechCrunch article. Perhaps because of his previous stint at Google, Bismarck focused on the technical limitations of Android video in his post, such as limited support for HLS.
 
However, I have no such compunction: Google dropped the ball with Android video.
 
You may be thinking, “Doesn’t Android support HTML5 video, the greatest invention since sliced bread?” 
 
Sure it does, and it works well enough for snackable, short form, on-demand content (provided you don’t mind turning back the clock 5 years to the days before adaptive bitrate HTTP-based protocols that adjust to users’ bandwidth and enable live video). Ooyala’s mobile-optimized HTML5 player provides a crazy-fast experience on Android, but it is still limited by what the browser and platform can offer. 
 
You may also recall a time when Adobe promised to provide “the full web” through Flash on mobile. That is, until they had a change of heart and decided to exit mobile entirely. 
 
Of course, there are some really excellent Android video experiences out there, offered by Google’s YouTube, or by companies like Netflix and HBO. If you have a few hundred thousand dollars and 3 to 6 months to spare, you, too, can create a similar experience by developing a native app for all the various Android versions. 
 
In fact, using Ooyala’s Android SDK, you can create a native app that seamlessly integrates with our renowned analytics and monetization tools. Then, all you have to do is wait until your users download your app. Then you need to be willing to maintain it as new OS versions, devices, and form factors emerge (video-streaming Android watches, anyone?). 
 
There has to be a better way to deliver mobile video to Android phones and tablets.

Get The Hook

Let’s say you have some very premium content that deserves a premium mobile video experience. 
 
Maybe you have licensed rights to Hollywood, Bollywood or Nollywood content and want to monetize it through a subscription or rental model requiring strong content protection. 
 
Maybe you want to distribute live sports content and you want to insert mid-roll ads seamlessly into the stream. 
 
Or perhaps you are an MVPD who would like to deliver linear channels to the fastest growing screen. 
 
That’s where Hook comes in. 
 
With Hook, you get all the benefits of developing for the mobile web, without any of the limitations of the Android platform. 
 
Hook delivers adaptive bitrate and live video streaming using HLS -- the defacto standard imposed by Apple -- on every version of Android, even those that never supported it like 2.2 (“Froyo”) and 2.3 (“Gingerbread”). Together, these versions still represent more than 50% of Android devices out there. 
 
Hook gives you standards-based ad-insertion and closed captions to provide a complete experience for the hearing impaired (which, depending on your country, may also allow you to comply with government regulations and avoid lawsuits, which is always a good thing). 
 
You also get studio-approved content protection to secure access to licensed movies and TV shows. Interfacing with Ooyala’s digital rights locker allows you to monetize your media through rental, purchase or subscriptions.
 
And of course, you get all the other video technology you’ve come to expect from the Ooyala platform, including leading real-time video analytics to drive your digital strategy, a flexible content ingestion workflow, and the most powerful API to integrate into your business.
 
More importantly, you get all this today, without busting your budget. 

Set It And Forget It

By now you are probably asking, “How can all of this be possible? It must surely take a feat of engineering to get all these features in one app!” 
 
Well, yes, it took a lot of late nights to achieve this, but we’ve done all the hard work so you don’t have to. 
 
Here’s what you need to do if you are an Ooyala customer: create an awesome, mobile-optimized website (we are big fans of responsive design). Drop in an embed code, and you’re done. 
 
Seriously, that’s it.
 
When your viewers click play, our smart Javascript logic launches the video inside of Hook. When playback is over, it drops you back into your website.
 
And if you’re not yet an Ooyala customer yet, what are you waiting for? 

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