Tuesday, May 21, 2013

VOD Gaining Traction

I am a firm believer in Video on Demand (VOD).  I have had the good fortune to work with it from the early days when networks were overly cautious about pushing viewers off linear to recognizing its power today to actually encourage linear viewership.  But VOD relies on content and immediacy to it.  Missed last night's Saturday Night Live.  Unless you DVR it, you will have to wait a few days to watch it on VOD.  Even then, the show will be missing the musical performances.  Missed the finale of your favorite TV show, it may take a week before it appears on VOD.  Those challenges are but one reason viewers seek content off the TV set.  The other is the limitations where to watch, strictly through the set top box on the TV screen.

Finally, it seems, networks are embracing VOD.  "Some television networks are also big believers in the technology because it can help partially piece back together their splintered audiences and protect their advertising revenue."  VOD can provide some advantages including disabling the fast forward button to require viewership of commercials.  But more importantly, "for the first time, Nielsen counted VOD views of ABC’s shows the same way it counts digital video recorder playback — that is, within three days of an episode’s premiere." And that means more advertising eyeballs and higher revenue for the shows these networks aired.

And viewers are embracing VOD, watching more hours then ever before.  "This television season, VOD views of ABC’s shows are up 32 percent versus the same period last season, according to the network."  A big motivation to continue to launch more shows, past and present, on VOD.  For consumers already subscribed to cable, VOD brings a ton of extra value.  But challenges still exist.  In addition to the lack immediacy to content comes the difficulty of finding content through search and tree and branch movement through the menu.  It is clunky, inefficient, and detrimental to the discovery process.  Improving the menu process should help to further improve usage. 

Comcast strategy of promotion of content from subscription services like HBO and Showtime with free on demand usage both brings more viewers to use the VOD menu and build interest in purchasing these premium networks.  And that's a good start.  Improving the on screen menu and extending the VOD reach on IP devices of authenticated viewers are the next big steps.

No comments:

Post a Comment