Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Cable VOD Could Be Much Better

Today's Paid Content article offers great insight into cable's problem with VOD.  While streaming content flourishes, cable VOD remains underutilized and lacking its full revenue potential.  "Simply put, at a time when consumers are actively sampling on-demand programming streamed via the internet, they aren’t exploring the VOD options that exist on the cable services embedded in their living rooms." 

The reasons are obvious.  First, there is less current content.  Shows that premiere on linear channels are slow to populate on VOD.  Second, search remains slow and clunky.  The interactive menu guide looks more like a Prodigy dial up window screen and lacks any ease of use, especially against today's internet streaming guides.  Third, any advertising is more intrusive than interesting.  Pop up ads cover the screen and are hard to dismiss.  And lastly, box issues cause latency, freezing, and interruptions.  Put all together, it creates a poor user experience.  For me, my on demand TV viewing is helped by the DVR; still it requires proactive work to record in advance of the show airing. 

Can VOD be fixed?  As the web has built a friendly system to access and view, consumers are seeking ways to access and stream to their connected devices.  Apple's future announcement could throw another wrench into the current cable VOD problem.  Perhaps the fix is for cable to truly embrace web streaming of its VOD library.  Better search, faster speeds, recommendations, can all help.  And as far as revenue growth, more targeted advertising that doesn't overly clutter the show that is being watched.