NDTV Creates Harmonious Web and App Experience Using Fabric by Twitter

Location
New Delhi, India
Industry
News
Kits
Crashlytics, Answers, Twitter Kit, MoPub

Quick Facts:
  • NDTV, a pioneer in India's News television, is a 27-year old digital media and commercial broadcasting network based in India that broadcasts globally.
  • The network produced India's first 24-hour news channel, "Star News," and operates multiple channels providing news, business and infotainment coverage in both English and Hindi.
  • The network has expanded its footprint through a number of subsidiaries including NDTV Convergence, its digital media arm to exploit the synergies between television, Internet and mobile.
  • NDTV has for the third year running been rated India's Most Trusted TV Media Brand in the TRA Trust Brand Report, India Study 2016.
  • NDTV's website ndtv.com created a record in 2014 by recording 13 billion hits on one day, the day of the Lok Sabha (Parliament) Election results.

Thanks to Fabric we have been able to create a remarkable experience for users both on the web and through our apps.

Kawaljit Singh Bedi, Chief Technology Officer, NDTV Convergence

Challenge

NDTV Convergence was interested in strengthening its digital presence on web and mobile in order to be seen as a one-stop shop for news and infotainment. Having launched NDTV.com, the company became interested in expanding into mobile to better exploit the synergies between television, internet and mobile.

NDTV created four distinctive apps to mirror the variety of digital content they provided on the web and through television. They include:

  • NDTV News: breaking news alerts, stories and videos (also separate NDTV India Hindi news app available on Android)
  • NDTV Cricket: match reports, score updates, ball-by-ball commentary as well as Cricket news
  • Gadgets 360: tech news, reviews, buying guides, opinions, videos and photos
  • NDTV Profit: financial news and coverage from Indian markets

Having created each of the four apps for both Android and iOS, NDTV had the sizeable task of managing app uptime and maintaining a high quality user experience while integrating content from across the web into the apps.

Solution

NDTV chose to use components from Fabric, Twitter's mobile development platform, to improve uptime, monitor analytics, embed tweets and streamline login.

Before rolling out Fabric across all apps, NDTV used the NDTV News app as a test case to ensure that Fabric's components would be the right solution to scale across its apps. They began by implementing Crashlytics in the NDTV News app to improve uptime. Crashlytics provides powerful, lightweight crash reporting with real-time notifications to proactively alert developers when key events happen inside the app.

Crashlytics enables NDTV to track each release of the app, managing crashes quickly before they become bigger issues. It also provides insights that are valuable in making the product better and providing a stellar user experience.

"Crashlytics is a must-have tool in any app developer's arsenal. It helps us find bugs, fix crashes and improve the app's stability. It has a great dashboard which keeps track of all the issues we are facing," notes Kawaljit Singh Bedi, CTO, NDTV Convergence.

With the app performance stabilized, NDTV moved next to understand user analytics in the more popular Android version of its News App. NDTV chose to use Answers, a component of Fabric which provides in-depth app analytics. With so many different phones and versions of Android available in the marketplace, NDTV focused on using Answers to hone in on the technology habits and traits of its most active users.

"Answers has helped to understand user behavior. We learned that with iOS, users generally adopt software updates quickly, but that's not always the case with Android. The Android ecosystem is filled with many different releases. We needed to understand where to focus our efforts and using Answers has helped us understand the Android user better," Bedi notes.

Finally, NDTV chose Twitter Kit to help achieve a key goal of providing a rich experience within the app. Twitter Kit enables real-time conversational Twitter content inside the app and allows in-app sharing of Tweets that can be customized to maintain the app's look and feel.

With live events such as state elections and popular sports tournaments coming up, NDTV wanted to make sure it would be able to embed tweets that followed those stories and reactions live, within the app. Twitter Kit provided an opportunity to accomplish this goal. NDTV understood that by providing a tighter integration with Twitter, it would also increase time in-app, and provide a seamless experience for users to share breaking news using their Twitter profile within the app.

"In our move towards rolling out a fully featured native app, we implemented the native Twitter Kit. It ensures that we can render Tweets in our brand style while staying in sync with our app theme," explains Bedi.

Results

"The quality of our apps have improved tremendously since we started using Crashlytics," notes Bedi.

Thanks to Crashlytics, the NDTV News app has maintained app health between 98-99.9%. Stack traces help zero in on the root cause of instability so the team can address those issues quickly. "If we didn't have the Crashlytics dashboard we wouldn't have been able to maintain that. Anything below 98% we start looking carefully at," Bedi remarks.

Answers enabled NDTV to monitor the user retention and adoption rate of new releases.

"Answers gives us real-time analytics which has helped us keep track and see how upgrades to the apps have impacted user engagement," remarks Smrithi Bose, Head of Mobile Apps for NDTV. NDTV now plans its Android releases based on the Answers analytics dashboard.

Twitter Kit and Crashlytics helped to boost engagement significantly. By creating more stable releases and encouraging in-app engagement, NDTV saw a boost in key metrics. Specifically,

  • Sessions increased by 68%
  • Session duration increased by 52%
  • Active users within the app increased by 25%

The success of Twitter's developer tools within the NDTV News app convinced NDTV to roll out Fabric across its apps and strengthen the integration with web content. Due to this integration, NDTV was able to maintain performance while ensuring users could engage with the app during major news and sports events:

  • State Elections: In May 2016, NDTV used embedded timelines on the web and inside the NDTV News app to track state elections. This resulted in more than 52 million impression on NDTV's web property in 24 hours thanks to the syndication of content.
  • Cricket Season: During the popular ICC World Twenty20, NDTV Cricket used search and list-based timelines on both web and mobile apps to keep up to date with live scores and news from the games.
  • Tech Reviews: Gadgets360 began using Twitter timelines to improve product reviews by including a user review section with tweets. As new products were released, Gadgets360 has been able to provide users with curated, live coverage and reviews.

"Thanks to Fabric's suite of developer components, we have been able to create a remarkable experience for users both on the web and through our apps," Bedi notes.