When Charter launched its first TV Everywhere app last November, it was missing on-demand content and support for Android devices. Now the company has an app not only in iTunes, but also in the Google Play and Amazon app stores.
The latest mobile app versions also allow users to stream more than 130 live channels at home, browse on-demand content (still no streaming yet), schedule DVR recordings, and change TV channels using the phone or tablet as a remote control. (See Charter Rolls Out TV Everywhere.)
Despite this, Charter Communications Inc. is still playing catch-up to many of the other cable providers when it comes to TV Everywhere. However, CEO Tom Rutledge said at the end of 2013 that he sees potential in using multiscreen offerings to boost Charter customer satisfaction and retention. The company largely managed to stem its video losses at the end of 2013, but its subscriber penetration rate is still below 35%, one of the lowest in the industry. Rutledge has also talked about finding ways to monetize TV Everywhere apps in the future, possibly with "download-to-go services," and streaming access that extends outside the home. (See After TWC Miss, Charter Looks Inward.)
In the short term, Charter is trying to differentiate its mobile apps with features such as Kid Zone, which lets parents limit viewing options to child-friendly content. Charter also offers a Sports Zone feature, which provides access to game scores and other sports content. So far Sports Zone is only available on iOS, but an Android version of the feature is in the works.
— Mari Silbey, special to Light Reading