Commentary

Break Media's Video App Cracks 1.5 Million Downloads, Serves a Tough Crowd

Break-App

This mobile video space is not for the feint-hearted. Apparently, streaming media apps are sort of a love-hate thing with many users. Leading video hub Break Media released some interesting stats touting its success with its iOS and Android apps. According to the company 1.5 million people have downloaded the Break Media mobile app, which launched over a year and half ago. Raw download numbers generally are uneven proxies for actual use, but Break says its mobile apps generate 10 million monthly visits or about 100,000 unique visits a day. In total, the mobile traffic constitutes about 12% of all non-advertising video views for Break.

These figures are in line with much of the material we saw presented at this week's Mobile Insider Summit. The growth potential for mobile multimedia is staggering as younger users especially come to depend on the handset for a wider range of Internet tasks. Pandora's Kim Luegers was at the Summit explaining how 24.1 million of her users access the service by phone or tablet now, compared to 16.9 million on a PC. In fact she finds 48% of Pandora customers now use the music streaming service exclusively on mobile devices. As an aside, and particularly relevant to video providers, Kim also told me that Pandora already sees roughly 2 million unique users coming from TV-based apps on connected TVs and devices like Blu-ray players. Go here for Kim's complete presentation at the Summit.

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But serving the mobile streaming media crowd can be a tough business, especially when you are dealing with that young male demo that likes its video edgy and raw.  The latest version of the Break app gets a decent 2.5 out of 5 stars from voters in the iOS App Store, but a lot of the horny boys are frustrated by the absence of Break's online-only and age-restricted Spice Channel of nude videos. And then there are the complaints about crashes. "The app crashes more than I do," wrote one wag.

To be fair, even the magnificently successful HBO Go iPad app gets slammed, with more 1 star ratings than 5 star ratings, and in general the dissatisfied are more prone to vote and comment. Still, when a video app goes wrong with a boyish crowd especially, there is hell to pay.  We asked Break how they regard these kinds of comments, and VP of Marketing Andy Tu told us, "We have incredibly passionate fans who are never afraid of letting us know what they think, as you can tell from the more than 11 thousand reviews.  Of those 11 thousand, we have more five star reviews than we do one star reviews.  From a technical perspective our number of crashes is around three per thousand app visits, which is low for video based applications. We will continue to try and bring down that number through new product revisions, but for an app where people are spending several minutes per session watching video on a platform that at times has spotty carrier service we are understanding that there are timeouts."

Of course nothing makes up for the absence of bare breasts with this crowd. "If u add spicy I guarantee you 100x more 5 star votes...including from me," says AAR333221. See, that is like, what, 500 stars, right there.   
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