Tuesday, June 16, 2009

What You Want, When You Want It

Viewers like their On-Demand and the growth rate for usage is staggering. According to Rentrak, "Video-on-demand orders increased 21% last year, with operators processing 3.8 billion VOD orders in 2008 excluding adult programming." And I wouldn't be surprised to hear that DVR growth is also rising at a very health rate. Consumers care about how they use their time and prefer the immediacy of VOD. In less than a decade, VOD has become well accepted and liked.

There was a time though where consumers were hesitant about using VOD on their remote. There seemed to be a concern that any button pressed would result in a purchase. It took a little time to train the consumer that Free On Demand programming was actually free. That is not the case today. According to last year's findings, "91% were free VOD, while 6% were subscription and 3% were transactional." Over time, that fear has dissipated.

And there is still room for more usage and higher growth rates. The VOD features through the set top box are still clunky and laborious to work through. It still takes too many clicks to find what you are looking for and the search feature is prehistoric compared to the web. We like to describe that process of going in and out of categories as "tree and branches." You meander up and back from click to click to go deeper and deeper into categories and occasionally jump out and start from the beginning in order to find your preferred video. Once a new search function is developed, this current process will be quickly forgotten. To me, it is what continues to hold back the further growth and appeal for VOD. But I am assured, a change is a comin!

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