This past fortnight has seen the launch of a brand new ITV Player app on Samsung Smart TVs. Featuring a horizontally scrolling menu and a visually arresting layout and interface, this incarnation of ITV Player may finally have the look and functionality to match ITV’s high quality content. Whilst the new features may take some getting used to – especially for those less tech-savvy users, ITV have certainly tired something new with this app and have backed the new format and navigation techniques all the way. This new format is image rich, and text poor, even in areas such as A-Z where one would usually expect the opposite.
However there are some drawbacks: the app does not possess a search function for one, and there is the concern that there may just be too much imagery, and not enough simple, boring text to guide users through what is without a doubt an innovative navigation and layout system. The other downside is that the menus and layout of the app are geared far more towards people entering to watch last nights Coronation Street; and far less towards discovery of new content. There are some features such as ‘Try This’ which aid discovery, but drawbacks such as the lack of a genres menu mean that the majority of users will be people who already know what they want before they use the app, and aren’t people who have half an hour to kill and don’t know what they want to watch. Plus the app is currently only available on Samsung, another example of the myriad of difficulties faced by companies who aren’t the BBC in trying to build their apps for numerous operating systems. Can this app rival, or maybe match, iPlayer in popularity? And how will ITV’s new scrolling features and content journeys fare with consumers? Only time will tell!