GW Shaw headshot

We recently chatted with GW Shaw, vice president of video products at AT&T U-Verse about the telco’s multi-platform strategy. To gain more insight and network with Shaw, as well as other industry experts, register to attend Cablefax’s Digital & Tech Summit on May 21 in NYC. 

AT&T U-verse has launched numerous TV apps lately, whether it’s for video streaming, music, kids. There’s even an app for babies and toddlers! TV apps seemed to have become a central part of U-verse’s multiplatform world. What’s the strategy behind that?

We want to bring the personalization and interactivity to the TV that apps have brought to wireless phones, in ways that enhance the viewing experience. The TV is still about content and entertainment, and we’ve found customers are most interested in content-centric apps that enhance — not distract — from their viewing experience.

Using our 100% IP platform, U-verse has been a leader in delivering interactive and integrated apps to your TV screen. These apps have enhanced the content customers care about and given them more control over and personalization of their U-verse experience. We’re taking the U-verse TV experience to a new level with U-verse Enabled apps, which let you interact with the content you’re watching on your TV screen from your smartphone or tablet.

We’ve seen that customers love the control they have in managing their content. As we move deeper into apps, and made them a larger part of the experience, it was a natural extension to start bringing wireless devices into the mix. We know as a wireless company, that customers have the devices sitting next to them on the couch.

The next step in our apps strategy is to further integrate these two powerful platforms to make both experiences (TV and wireless) better for the customer.

In January, the company launched open APIs for the Android platform for developers to create more apps for U-verse TV. So far what kind of new apps and services have been enabled and how’s ATT integrating developers’ ideas into its current strategy?

AT&T makes certain APIs available to developers, allowing them to easily and quickly build apps to be used on U-verse TVs. We’ve opened our network to allow third-party developers to build new apps and services on our platforms.

At the AT&T Foundry Center, we’ve been working with developers to develop innovative ways for mobile apps to interact with the TV experience. Working with our experts at AT&T Labs and tapping into our capabilities at the AT&T Foundry®, developers are able to plug our technology and APIs into their apps and services. Developers have great ideas, and we’re looking forward to working with more developers in the coming months.

What matters the most in terms of user experience in a multiplatform world?  Is personalization? Recommendation and discovery?

We’ve found that customers are most interested in apps that enhance the content they already watch and love. Thanks to our IP platform, U-verse is able to deliver interactive and integrated apps that enhance the content customers are interested in while also giving them more control and personalization over their TV-watching experience.

Is AT&T focused on certain types of TV apps?

App usage is increasing dramatically across screens and devices, and apps are becoming a larger part of the TV watching experience – whether they are on your TV screen or on your favorite handheld device. With U-verse Enabled Apps, customers are able to interact with their TVs using their smartphones or tablets. This is a natural fit, and we’re excited about continuing to integrate the wireless and TV experience.

How do you (and your family) watch TV these days? What multiplatform apps, including U-verse and non-U-verse apps, do you use?

I’m a dad, so U-verse has tons of apps that meet my and my family’s needs and interests. For example, my kids love U-verse’s kid-friendly apps like Kids Multiview, U-verse KIDS! and Santa Tracker. As for me, I’m able to get live content on mobile devices inside and outside the home with the live content available on the U-verse App.

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