Project Description

Placebo for Apple TV 2

Overview

Record label Kobalt wanted to make a statement with legendary English rock band, Placebo, by being the first to launch an all music application to the Apple TV Store.

Assembling music, videos and archive material spanning three decades, Conjure crafted a deep and immersive journey through the bands incredible back catalogue.

Key Results

  • The first artist-led music application to launch on the Apple TV store
  • Features over fifty videos, documentaries and interviews
  • The application supports four languages
  • Entire app delivered in under ten megabytes
  • Tens of thousands of hours of video watched by users

Creating an interface for hundreds of hours of video content

During discovery, it became quickly clear that the volume of video-based content would be impossible to deliver in a single application, and a hosted solution was going to be required. The brief also outlined the need for a content management system (CMS) that would allow for further updates to the video catalogue over time.

To increase the challenge further, we would have to cater for different screen resolutions as well as accommodate for variable internet speeds across different users.

Objectives

  • Keep the file size down for rapid user download
  • Ensure the UX was intuitive, allowing fans to jump straight into content
  • Design and develop the app rapidly in order to launch with the new Apple TV 2

Our Approach

The technical architecture of the back end was designed around an AWS hosted platform. The development team opted for the Cloudfront content delivery network (CDN) as a distribution method for the videos, while an S3 database acted as the content repository. These proven systems provided a solid foundation for the wider Apple TV application.

With access to a near limitless amount of Placebo imagery, the design team opted to make the most of this diverse material and have the user interface to adjust it’s colours in line with the hero artwork, creating a vibrant and striking full-screen experience. Apple were keen to utilise stock Apple interface components, whilst simultaneously demonstrating how they can adapt to the brand using them.

The Team

With this project leaning heavily towards the technical side we included three software developers to undertake development. One focused on the creation of the front facing TV application with the remaining two building out the CDN and CMS. Continuous testing was handled by the quality assurance team to ensure each sprint delivered a deployable code base.

UX was not going to prove a challenge in an application of this kind and so extra focus was applied to the UI and the micro interactions that would add an additional layer of polish to the experience.

The Product

Delivered at the launch of the new Apple TV, the app was an instant success, catching the eyes of the music press and cementing Placebo at the front of the new music app scene. The CMS allowed the record label to rapidly upload additional content, with the system automatically storing the videos, generating thumbnails and adjusting streamed resolution according to users TV and internet speed.

The slick UX, sitting on a linear top-level navigation works perfectly with the touchpad enabled TV remote, with the UI moving through a kaleidoscope of colours in response to user category selection.

This new technology will present Placebo’s catalogue in an entirely new way, giving the fans something unique in a space controlled by the artist.

Paul Hitchman, President, AWAL