AFN prepares to launch its “Now” streaming service after weeks of testing

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The AFN Now app will be available on Monday, November 7, 2022 and will bring entertainment and news to viewers’ smartphones and other mobile devices. (Kelly Agee/Stars and Stripes)

YOKOTA AIR BASE, Japan — After nearly six weeks of testing by real users in the Pacific, the AFN Now streaming app is ready for its global debut, American Forces Network executives told Stars and Stripes.

The new app will be available Monday and will deliver AFN entertainment and news to viewers’ smartphones and other mobile devices, network spokesman John Clearwater told Stars and Stripes via email on Tuesday.

The AFN is “working closely” with professional sports and hopes to secure the rights to broadcast the app when it launches Monday, he said, adding that the network hopes to broadcast the Super Bowl on February 12. .

AFN Now offers a selection of programs available on the AFN Television Network, including popular programs such as “Jeopardy”, “Entertainment Tonight”, current affairs shows such as “60 Minutes”, reality series, films and documentaries.

“In just minutes, users can watch their favorite shows at the times and places that best suit their lifestyle,” Clearwater said.

Users only need a mobile device, network connection, and verification in the Defense Enrollment Eligibility Reporting System, or DEERS, to register for the app. .

AFN Now is free to download from Google Play and the App Store and is compatible with Apple and Android smartphones, tablets, select smart TVs and other home media devices, including AppleTV, Roku and Amazon Fire. The network also plans to offer the app through game consoles like Xbox and PlayStation, Clearwater said.

AFN has started testing the application with its Pacific audience on September 20 and is gaining around 250 to 300 viewers a week, Kimberly Antos, AFN’s head of digital platforms, told Stars and Stripes on Wednesday. She said 2,036 people signed up on Tuesday.

“We had a lot of public feedback, which is great,” she said of the Pacific trial. “And they were able to help us identify a few issues that I think helped make the process easier.”

For example, the AFN team monitoring the trial discovered that the app was taking a long time to open and load content, an issue called latency, but public feedback enabled AFN to address the issue. problem in a day, Antos said.

The network has established a helpline at (571) 559-1415, a US number accessible to foreign callers.

“It’s mind-blowing to work with this project to go from four or five people in the room to see it get to this point, it’s so exciting and fulfilling,” said AFN TV chief Karreem Lowe at Stars and Stripes. by phone on Wednesday.

“We are all very humbled and thrilled to have put so much effort and hard work into this,” he said. “To have the opportunity to bring it to life for this deserving audience is just amazing.”

Clearwater said the AFN will continue to develop and improve the AFN Now app with the addition of new features and capabilities.

AFN has developed a quality product by listening to its audience, according to Antos.

“We really appreciate them,” she said. “We appreciate the feedback they provide to us on the pilot program and even outside just on AFN services.”

Antos encouraged AFN viewers to “spread the word, download and sign up and start streaming”.

“And if you have any comments you would like to give, whether on AFN Now or any of our other shows, please go to MyAFN.net and leave your comments there, as we would love to hear from our audience,” she said. said.

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