Before you submit an app proposal to PBS, you must first think about what you want to accomplish with your app then design a concept and a plan. This section provides some ideas and recommendations to help you on the path to planning your app.
Remember, a well thought out plan leads to a smooth development process!
What goals do you want to achieve with your app? How will you define and measure metrics?
Some key goals might include:
- audience growth
- sustainability (income)
- serving member stations
- driving innovation
What are the key features and functionality? How does it serve audience needs? Tie it back to research.
- Create concepts that offer more than just entertainment. The goal of the app concept and marketing message should be enrichment in addition to entertainment.
- Keep it locally relevant. Strive to find a local or geo-targeted angle to the extent feasible or relevant to the content.
- Create an interactive app experience. Seek opportunities to allow users to collaborate, compete, share or have some form of social interaction around your content or even contributing to it. Mobile is a great opportunity to let the "public" shine through in public media!
- Make your app stand out from the rest. Develop a unique angle. Look for features and functionalities that are natural offshoots of the content and what your audience wants to do with that content.
- Maintain high quality. Your audience expects the same high editorial standards you have on-air and online so make sure those standards carry over to your app.
Your product plan should include app updates (functionality changes) and content refresh (new content which might require an app update or might be provided online, as in the case of streaming media).
When you consider platforms, please consider whether a native app is necessary, or if your audience could be better served first with a Mobile Web application or site. Also consider that third parties have total control over native applications – it is their sandbox – whereas PBS offers much greater control and flexibility with your Mobile Web site on pbs.org.
Sharing your plans with PBS
The earlier you can send us your planning documents / proposal, the more likely we are to be in a position to advise and support the app.
Decision factors in PBS review:
- Does the app serve an unfilled audience need?
- Is the app going to stand out in sea of 1MM apps?
- Could the need be better filled with Mobile Web?
- Is there a clear and sustainable business plan?
- Are the goals/metrics realistic and desirable?
We intend to have an iterative dialog with producers around each app proposal and seek Q&A, as opposed to this being a one-shot review meeting.
- Approve – OK to move forward immediately with full PBS support
- Reject – Depending on rights situation the producer may or may not be able to produce and distribute independently.
- Approve with conditions – Usually used for approval in advance of resource availability or for distant future apps. It means we revisit when we reach the point when we can kickoff the project, and is meant to convey that PBS intends to support the project.
- Distant projects are 6+ months from starting.
- Should go through review process sooner, not later.
- Approval will be contingent upon future review when the project is about to start.
- At this review, we will need to update the concept and platform choice(s) to reflect the original goals but adapt to the then-current platform capabilities and market environment.
Key Development Stages
Phase 1: Research
Phase 2: Proposal
Phase 3: Startup (Roles & Responsibilities)
Phase 4: Design, Wireframes and Prototype
Phase 5: Development
Phase 6: Pre-launch
Phase 7: Initial Launch