App Review: Pac-12 Now For iPhone Offers Strong Video Features, Falls Short Elsewhere
The Pac-12 Networks offer a one-stop shop for live and on-demand video coverage of conference athletic teams with Pac-12 Now. A customizable, user-friendly live programming layout is the app's strong suit. However, the app's halfway-there Scores section leaves something to be desired. The homescreen is a guide to available programming broken out into previous, live and upcoming events. Using a filter, fans can sort Pac-12 action by school, sport or network. A simple cable subscription authentication unlocks live video from the seven networks. Tapping a live event opens the in-app broadcast. A VOD library houses recaps, highlights and interview reels from across the Pac-12 Networks. This content is also sortable, making the entire video consumption experience customizable. A Network Showcase section offers users the ability to bypass the programming guide and go directly to the network carrying the live event they want to watch, and a Scores section rounds out the offering. Pac-12 Now was developed jointly by Nice Agency and Pac-12 Digital. I conducted this week's review on an iPhone 5 version 7.0.6, with AT&T service.
GRADUATE LEVEL COURSES: Live and upcoming programming is presented in a very straightforward fashion. Live events -- there will be over 750 offered this year -- are listed chronologically, and the full listing can be quickly filtered to show only the sports or the schools of interest. This creates a more personalized experience. To take things a step further, alerts can be set for upcoming events, and the app sends a push notification at the start of the event. In-app video, whether live or on-demand, contains Facebook and Twitter sharing tools. An additional log-in is required to share content, but the process is simple and painless. The VOD library contains a massive amount of compelling content from all sports and member institutions. Game recaps are particularly useful for fans that miss a live broadcast.
STILL AN UNDERCLASSMAN: During my time with Pac-12 Now, I fumbled with the Scores section. While final scores are available, getting to them is not intuitive. The section defaulted to a football programming calendar, so I had to select a current sport from the dropdown menu and then go back into the calendar to see the scores. Once I found them, tapping on the highlights button brought me to a mobile website with no return navigation. This left me stranded on the mobile web with no way to get back to the app's Scores section. I would have liked to see scores offered within the listing of previous live events on the app's homescreen. What is the point of showing previous game listings if there is no score or recap attached? In the Networks section, I had to tap into each network icon to find out what was on. To be honest, this felt like an unnecessary duplication within the app, as the programming guide is already searchable by network. Also, a dedicated schedule section with game-based alerts was something I missed.
SHORT THESIS: The "Conference of Champions" delivers a quality experience for fans seeking live in-app programming and VOD coverage of Pac-12 events. This is clearly the main draw. But the app falls short with its lackluster presentation of scores and game recaps, stranding users on the mobile web. Streamlining the programming guide and scores section will tighten up this experience for fans. A dedicated schedule section with the ability to opt into alerts by team would be nice, too.
Amie Sheridan (firstname.lastname@example.org) is a freelance writer in Philadelphia.
See Sheridan's previous App Review submissions for THE DAILY:
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