New-Look BTN2Go App Makes Shift to School-Specific Customization
In anticipation of the new college sports season, Big Ten Network (BTN) has launched a top-to-bottom revamp of its popular BTN2Go mobile application and TV Everywhere platform. The new version features a fundamental shift in strategy from an overall Big Ten focus to a school-specific model.
Opening the app, users will be prompted to select their favorite team. From there, the interface presents team-customized colors and curated content, including videos, news, and social.
“We recognize that we are a network and no one is necessarily a fan of the network or even a fan of the overarching conference. They are a fan of schools,” says Jordan Maleh, director, digital and consumer marketing, BTN. “People use BTN2Go to watch live events, and we want to transition that and create more stickiness by creating content that is specific for each fan base.”
The app redevelopment was done in partnership with the network’s longtime streaming vendor, NeuLion. Video content is prominently featured in the app, and BTN has developed a targeted content-development strategy spotlighting live event coverage and VOD content.
Maleh is bullish on the move to the school-specific model; he finds it a stronger sell from a marketing perspective. With a focus on building content and marketing plans aimed at school supporters, it’s a more targeted approach.
“This has been a debate for several years now,” says Maleh. “We need the app to be that TV Everywhere platform, but we’ve talked about it, and the conversation was actually pretty easy between us, the conference, and the schools, because this is another strong distribution model for the schools.”
This year marks the fifth year of BTN2Go, which is one of the trailblazers in the TV Everywhere model. Over the years, the app has been primarily a driver for the conference and the network. The network, with this new version of the app, has a made a conscious effort to alter those goals to more aggressively drive downloads of the app and subscriptions to BTN Plus, the network’s paid service offers access to coverage of hundreds of Olympic-sports events.
“BTN Plus has long been a product that has felt secondary from a marketing perspective,” says Maleh, noting that his team will be using data surrounding visits to Olympic-sports pages on schools’ official websites to target potential BTN Plus customers. “We have shifted gears to be more digital-focused. So this year will be a little bit test and learning. BTN Plus has always been driven by family and friends of the student athletes of those teams. We need to drive that more.”
Additional social features for the app include a custom “BTNmoji” keyboard, which natively integrates dozens of custom emojis, stickers, and GIFs.
Despite all these new features, Maleh notes, BTN2Go’s function as a TV Everywhere portal remains key to its success. Average minutes streamed per month continue to increase year-over-year at BTN, and live game coverage is the main driver of that. Beyond viewing BTN’s linear-network programming live 24/7, though, users will also have quick access to on-demand content and other original programming, including BTN Tailgate, Campus Eats, Sports Lite With Mike Hall, The Journey, Big Ten Elite, Big Ten Icons, and classic games.
BTN2Go is available to download on the Apple App Store for iPhone and iPad, Google Play for Android devices, and popular set-top boxes and at www.btn2go.com.