Two Apps Better Than One?

Mixing Subscription and Transactional VOD in the same application can give a bit of a confusing user experience.

When Sky launched Sky Store, which lets you rent films, it felt unnecessary alongside their existing subscription services: Sky Go (for Sky TV subscribers) and Now TV (for everyone else). It seemed little more than an attempt to get extra space on Smart TV menus.

Since then though, LOVEFiLM has finally acknowledged its longtime parent Amazon. I churned from LOVEFiLM a while back1, but I’ve a few months left on Amazon Prime. This now gives me access to “Prime Instant Video” via the “Amazon Instant Video” app2.

It’s good because thanks to all the exclusive content deals Amazon made 3, I’m able to catch on the series that weren’t previously available to me. 4.

But, the Amazon Instant Video app mixes stuff that’s ‘free’, with stuff I have to buy or rent.  There are categories designed to help me filter; but if I search for a series directly, I’m back to the jeopardy of “free or not” after seeing a search result.

Netflix doesn’t have that: if I see it, I can play it. The logic of Sky Store becomes clear.

Yes, NowTV has three subscription tiers of Movies, Entertainment and Sport: but those are really clear facets. I know which of those I’ve paid for, so I search for an entertainment show, knowing I can watch it.

Multiple apps may be the online equivalent of grabbing extra shelf-space, but I can see the UX benefit in separating subscription from purchase & rental.

  1. And their come-back emails would not let me forget this
  2. Brand recognition since the rebrand is apparently poor
  3. Alongside all the non-exclusive deals both Amazon and Netflix have
  4. I’ve yet to figure out the rights-deal that’s made the BBC series Miranda appear with 4OD branding in Amazon