Apple named the MTV Play product to its Best Developers category on its App Store Best of 2017 list. The app, built on Viacom’s proprietary Play Plex platform, underscores the company’s engineering expertise and acts as a case study of its ability to create widely adaptable solutions that allow its brands to quickly deploy their content to next-generation platforms.
“Inclusion on this list speaks a lot to the ability of Viacom’s engineering and product teams to work together to build a world-class experience for our brands and fans,” said Dhimiter Bozo, senior vice president of Software Engineering.
MTV Play, which is available in 26 global markets, has been installed nearly 10 million times and has served more than 325 million MTV content streams. Viacom engineering teams across Berlin, Milan and New York coordinated to build and launch the app, a process that was considerably streamlined by the fact that it was built on top of an extensive and flexible mobile platform called Play Plex.
The Play Plex platform is a system that Viacom engineers custom built to enable the company’s brands to quickly launch branded apps. When MTV or Nickelodeon or Comedy Central wants to build a new mobile app, they don’t have to start from scratch. They simply feed their content and branding to the engineering team, which then ingests the content and submits it to the App Store (or Google Play or Kindle) for review and release.
The result is an app that looks and performs great with minimal technical investment from the brands themselves.
“As a Viacom brand, when you sign up to be on the Play Plex platform, your touchpoints are minimized, so you don’t have to worry about the complexity of being on some of these platforms,” notes Bozo. “This makes things easier for everyone: designers can focus on creative instead of getting hung up with tech, we don’t need large engineering teams to do repetitive work, and our process considerably shortens the timeline for brands to reach consumers in new markets.”
And since apps built on the Play Plex platform have already been downloaded tens of millions of times, Viacom brands know they are creating an app that consumers will love and that will faithfully deliver their content.
“We didn’t want to build just another utility app that would be easy for us, but something that showcases Viacom’s strong history and presence in amazing content creation,” said Bozo.
The ramping up of Play Plex reflects a larger global investment in top engineering talent at Viacom, which has attracted industry leaders who now staff an ever-evolving operation that has pivoted rapidly toward mobile development, machine-learning and more.
“Our mission is to meet fans wherever they might be watching and on whichever device they prefer,” said Bozo. “That includes any new ways of consuming content that evolve in the future. To meet these ever-evolving demands, Viacom has built a best-in-class software engineering team that works tirelessly to enable the distribution of content to new platforms and reach our global users in ways that we could not in the past.”
This engineering team continues to evolve capabilities and personnel to adapt to ever-changing markets. They are considering, for example, ways to incorporate machine learning and augmented and virtual reality into Viacom’s technology ecosystem.
Viacom also continues to nurture emerging talent – Tech Talent Pipeline named Viacom one of its three NYC Tech Innovators for 2017, which acknowledges organizations that help aspiring techies get a foothold in the profession.
This distinction for MTV Play arrived in the midst of a thriving 2017 for MTV. The network’s global footprint jumped 10 percent last year – to 414 million households – while the U.S. instance of MTV recorded three consecutive quarters of growth in share and became the fastest-growing top 30 cable network in primetime during the second half of the year.