Connected TV


FX Digital worked with the Global Cycling Network to build and launch GCN+ – the streaming home of the most thrilling cycling content – across Apple TV.

Working with GCN (Global Cycling Network), we built and launched a brand new GCN+ app – the streaming home of the most thrilling bike races, exclusive shows and epic cycling films – for Apple TV.

This application is the latest iteration of GCN’s original application with a new UI and features alongside a more scalable, performant and reliable architecture, allowing fans to get the most out of their viewing experience.

A streaming service fit for a champion

Using our own Connected TV framework, which allows our developers to build Connected TV applications using a single codebase, and deploying to native and web-based platforms, we worked with GCN to launch GCN+ on Apple TV. The new Apple TV app has set a benchmark for future platform builds, designed with a strong user-centric focus to ensure a great user experience. Our framework enables GCN+ to extend their platform reach without compromising on the user experience.

Through our client workshopping process, working closely alongside GCN, we began by mapping out user pain points to establish which features would elevate the overall user experience. As a result of this, new and revamped features implemented include dynamic content rails, in-between pages, live banners, featured blocks/rails, grouped tour content rails, progress bars, and comprehensive error flows that lead the user back on a path of content discovery. To further enhance the UX, we heavily focussed on accessibility, ensuring we delivered a digitally inclusive, fully accessible and optimised user experience. Therefore, we incorporated multiple language subtitles, as well as text-to-speech functionalities to enable access by visually impaired users.


Create a premium streaming service for your audienceContact us now

Mark Wheatley, Head of Product at Play Sports Network on how he found working with the team at FX Digital:

“Working with FX Digital on our tvOS application was a deeply collaborative process, made both straightforward and enjoyable thanks to the professionalism and focus of the FX Digital team. Our twice-weekly ‘pulse’ meetings continued all the way through from the discovery phase until launch, and the daily communication through Slack meant that we had confidence and clarity of the project’s progress from day one.”

Defining the next phase of GCN+

Before starting on any new designs, we carried out a series of user interviews to ensure we fully understood the most loved features and areas of improvement from both current GCN+ subscribers and relevant potential subscribers. Once user interviews had been conducted, our design team developed a prototype that was then tested with GCN+ subscribers to help inform how the new app should look and feel. By working closely with these users, we were able to gain a detailed understanding of what fans craved, allowing us to provide a significant enhancement to the app, in turn helping us to build the next version of a market-leading streaming service for cycling fans.

Immerse yourself in the world of cycling

To ensure we delivered the ultimate experience for cycling fans, we involved our expert quality assurance team in the project to help us deliver a rigorously tested and high-performing application. Our QA testing service was extensive and stringent to ensure we delivered an optimised app that exceeded users’ expectations. Our quality assurance team worked tirelessly to ensure that the app was performant and operated at the highest quality, meaning GCN+ users get to enjoy a best-in-class experience on an application that is robust and reliable.

As part of the project, our QA team utilised our automated testing capabilities to assist our test engineers in carrying out more detailed and accurate testing. With our in-house automated testing framework, we are able to significantly reduce human error, allowing for more detailed and accurate testing to be carried out on the physical devices, whilst also reducing the level of effort necessary for such rigorous testing. Our approach ensures we remain fully immersed in the app, even when testing it, meaning users get to experience an application that’s as smooth as a well-oiled gear change.

The results

With the unparalleled fan experience delivered through the app, within a month of launch, the platform amassed a staggering 180k views, far exceeding GCN’s expectations in such a short space of time. GCN’s playback success score now sits at 99%, up from 90% on their original application. Additionally, we have gone on to improve GCN’s overall viewer experience average to 86%, up from 77% on their original application. Through the integration of 3rd party solution provider Mux, data shows that the new application for GCN has significantly improved the Mux playback score, evidencing improvements to the user experience.

These performance improvements combined with the enriched UX has led to the new Apple TV app becoming GCN’s most popular Connected TV platform yet.

Mark Wheatley, Head of Product at Play Sports Network on what the outcome of the project means for GCN:

“An Apple TV application was something our users had been requesting for some time, and so the launch of the project in time for peak race season was a big moment for our business and our subscribers. What made the project a big success was not just the timely delivery, but the quality of the execution. We closely monitor the streaming performance of our video players, and the tvOS app is easily our most successful app in terms of successful playback events. It currently has a playback failure rate of 0.0% over the last three months despite hundreds of thousands of watching sessions. As you can imagine, we are very happy.”

Working in close collaboration with the team at GCN and providing our expertise and knowledge throughout the process, we helped to redesign and redevelop a market-leading streaming service that the cycling world has never seen before. We redeveloped an application that provides cycling fans with a cinematic experience from the comfort of their own home, allowing them to get closer than ever to the action.

We continue to work with GCN to support the ongoing development and maintenance of their Connected TV application, with plans to roll out these improvements across their existing platforms in the future.