Wednesday, November 19, 2008

BBC America's Ancier: DVR Threat Must Be Solved

What is the threat - that viewers are skipping ads to watch the content. "The ability for viewers to fast-forward through ads using a DVR is the biggest challenge cable programmers face—and they must work with operators to figure out a solution, Garth Ancier, president of BBC Worldwide America, said in a keynote at the Future of Television conference here."

What is the solution, actually there are a few. First recognize why viewers started to use DVRs, too many ads during breaks. They found a technological cure to beat the system. It is nearly impossible to put the cat back into the bag. Still, networks should consider reducing the ad times on linear content and utilize product placement, interactive technology, and other approaches to reach consumers. Second, consider the Network DVR as an opportunity to segment and target ads more effectively and disable trick features when necessary; or perhaps put a brand ad on screen during trick feature usage. Lastly, enhance and expand VOD offerings to include all programming. If content is already recorded, the viewer won't have to take the proactive step to record their show in advance. VOD allows for pre-roll and other ad tricks. Still, if you overload the content with ads, the viewer will seek another alternative. To illustrate, look at Hulu. They limit their ads and have little or no negative consumer issues toward those ads.

These are just a few ideas to consider to solve the DVR threat. Most important it to view technological change as an opportunity, not a threat. Advertising on content is necessary to pay the bills; how it is done must be innovative, less intrusive, consumer targeted, and creative.