The Imperative of Universal Search Integration for Streaming Video Apps on Connected TV and Streaming Devices


This white paper explores the crucial role of Universal Search on Connected TV (CTV) and streaming devices, highlighAng its significance in enhancing app discoverability, driving new app installs and audience growth, and increasing revenue while also addressing the challenges of universal search content data onboarding. Insights from leading streaming brands like Revry, Gravitas, Dekkoo, and Shout Factory TV underscore the transformaAve impact of Universal Search library onboarding to the streaming plaKorm search engines. For a comprehensive understanding of Universal Search benefits for streaming video apps and channels, please visit

1. IntroducAon: Content and App Discovery in Streaming is a Big Issue
Connected TV and streaming devices have revoluAonized entertainment consumpAon. But, In this digital landscape’s vast app ecosystem, the challenge of content and app discoverability is larger than ever. With thousands of apps compeAng for user aQenAon, standing out and being found becomes crucial. TradiAonal adverAsing methods are expensive, leading to the need for cost-effecAve alternaAves for discovering content. Universal Search presents a game-changing opportunity for apps to get discovered organically, at a fracAon of the cost of markeAng and adverAsing. Billions of content searches are taking place via text or voice and the majority of streaming apps are missing out.

2. The Importance of Universal Search:
Universal Search transcends tradiAonal search funcAonaliAes, allowing users to explore content seamlessly across app and CTV plaKorms. With the proliferaAon of CTV plaKorms like Roku, Apple TV, Google TV, VIZIO, Samsung and Amazon FireTV, a centralized, home page search experience becomes imperaAve for channel discoverability. Over 70% of streamers use universal search to find content they are looking for, yet 90% of apps are not showing up in the search results.

3. Benefits of Universal Search IntegraAon:

3.1 Enhanced Discoverability and User Acquision
Failure to integrate with Universal Search limits an app’s visibility and potenAal traffic. Integration leads to increased traffic, user engagement, and a larger audience base, akin to pu`ng an address on a house for people and services to find it. No address, no visitors. The sheer number of apps poses a significant barrier to discoverability, parAcularly for smaller niche

apps. Even high-quality apps risk going unnoaced in the crowded digital marketplace making universal search a vital component of successful discoverability because it harnesses the power of the app’s content. Once integrated into universal search on the major streaming plakorms, the app library and brand logo will display in the search results to the millions of users that ualize the search funcAonality. If the desired content lives in the app, the traffic will start to flow to that app. At USAND, 100% of our clients see increases in new app installs once integrated into search.

3.2 Accelerated Growth:
Universal Search integraAon acts as a catalyst for app growth by prominently displaying the app logo next to relevant search results. This exposure increases the likelihood of organic app downloads, installations, and user exploration. Streaming users search for content Atles or actors and directors that they are familiar with, not app names like Tubi, Muvi or Dekkoo. Universal search empowers the content to become the traffic driver to the app as opposed to adverAsing or markeAng dollars pushing users to a branded app and hoping they find the content they like, and then subsequently remain a loyal customer.

3.3 Increased Revenue:
More traffic means more opportunity to monetization Search opens avenues for increased monetization , in fact at USAND, 100% of our clients see increases in revenue once integrated into search because they are beQer-posiaoned to capitalize on the traffic through adverAsing, subscripaons, and other revenue streams, contribuAng to sustained financial success. Apps will seen experience at 25% increase in minutes viewed in the first month content search goes live.

3.4 Cost-effective App Installs:
Universal Search’s cost-effectiveness lies in delivering tangible results at 75% lower cost compared to tradiAonal adverAsing. Leveraging user intent within search queries ensures installs are driven by a user’s genuine interest, enhancing sustained user engagement . Cost- effecAveness levels the playing field, allowing smaller developers and niche content providers to compete more equitably and appear in search results alongside major Tier 1 streaming services.

4. Challenges in Universal Search Integration:

4.1 Technical Compaability:
Ensuring technical compaAbility across diverse CTV and streaming devices poses challenges. Developers navigate differences in technology, operaAng systems, device capabiliAes, and search algorithms, but most important are the capabiliAes of the content management system (CMS), which delivers the data and content, and app development teams which implement the data and the content into the user experience in the app.

4.2 Data Structure, Data OrganizaAon and Data Delivery
Universal Search involves aggregaAng data from mulAple sources, necessitaAng basic data structure and organizaAon. Content companies store and organize their data in different ways

depending on the needs of the company which can vary depending on the department using the data. Universal search plaKorms require the data to be delivered in a parAcular manner. The data must adhere to stringent plaKorm data specificaAons which require knowledgeable data engineering resources that can successfully structure, organize and deliver the data to the plaKorms. Many companies do not have these resources in-house or do not have the bandwidth within their technical team to focus on this parAcular data requirement.

4.3 App Deep linking:
Deep linking enables seamless navigaAon to specific app content directly from search results, going beyond tradiAonal links that open an app’s homepage. Successful deep linking relies on effecAve collaboraAon between the app and CMS. The CMS supplies and exposes data required for deep linking, but the app needs to be able to receive the data successfully in a format (schema) it can recognize, acAng as a bridge between the data and app and the Universal Search plaKorms. The oeen-overlooked challenge lies in ensuring apps are deep link-enabled. Deep linking involves incorporaAng specific URLs for precise content access. Robust communicaAon between the app and CMS are crucial. Inadequate communicaAon hinders deep linking, compromising the app’s Universal Search integraAon. Ensuring the CMS exposes and delivers data correctly is vital for success.Developers must prioriAze deep linking implementaAon, incorporaAng deep link-enabled URLs and ensuring app architecture supports this funcAonality.

4.4 PlaKorm RestricAons on Onboarding App Libraires to Search:
Roku, is currently the most “open” universal search plaKorm allowing any app to be onboarded into Roku search who can make a custom metadata feed that meets the Roku spec and has an app that supports dee plinking. Because any app that meets these rquirements can join Roku search, Roku has far more apps integrated into search (1000+) than other CTV operaAng systems. The truth is, even with a capable content management system (CMS) and an app that is deep-link enabled, some apps will not be able to get into the universal search experiences of the major plaKorms like Amazon, Apple and Google. The larger plaKorms typically have only a few hundred apps integrated into their search algorithms and have limited the number of approved apps that may be onboarded to a select few each quarter. The VIZIO CTV plaKorm is unique in requiring that 100% of their channels be made available in the VIZIO universal search results.

5. Conclusion: Universal Search IntegraAon in Streaming is EssenAal to Streaming Channel Discovery and with USAND, the Challenges are Easily Surmountable.

Universal Search integraAon on Connected TV and streaming devices is not merely a feature but a strategic imperaAve for app developers and content providers. The benefits that search delivers of enhanced discoverability, accelerated growth, and revenue maximizaAon far outweigh the challenges. By leveraging the experiences of trailblazing brands like Revry, Gravitas, and Shout Factory TV, apps can posiAon themselves for success in the dynamic and compeAAve world of CTV and streaming. App deep linking is criAcal for Universal Search success. Overcoming its challenges requires a proacAve approach during app development. Recognizing deep linking’s importance, prioriAzing enablement, and fostering effecAve app-CMS communicaAon pave the way for seamless integration.

6. Case Studies:

6.1 Revry App using Brightcove CMS and App PlaKorm: SVOD
Universal Search integraAon led to a 510% increase in new app installs, 145% increase in unique users, 75% increase in individual streams, and 50% increase in hours streamed. The LGBTQ+ focused streaming service capitalized on the broader reach provided by Universal Search.

6.2 Gravitas App using JW Player CMS and Float Lee App: AVOD
IntegraAon resulted in a 1000% increase in new app installs, 400% increase in unique viewers, and 50% increase in minutes watched for the independent film distributor.

6.3 Shout Factory TV using Zype CMS: AVOD and FAST
Universal search led to a 504% increase in new Roku app installs.

In addiAon, Shout saw a 30% increase in daily viewers, a 59% lie in daily visitors,
18% growth in average streaming minutes for the classic film and TV streaming service.

6.4 Dekkoo using Vimeo CMS and Vimeo App: SVOD
Universal search led to a 400% increase in new Roku app installs.

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