May 9, 2014

New At The Guardian: The Future of Monetising Television

Can something as unsexy as non-skippable VOD really be the savior of the TV industry's current business model? That's the argument I'm making in this piece that's up today at The Guardian.

While the changes brought about by technology are threatening to dismantle the television industry as we know it, a saviour may arise from a most unlikely place: Video On Demand, or VOD. Because in a world where all programming is available on demand, all the time, there may be hope for the existing models yet.
While the UK has had BBC's iPlayer for several years now, there is no equivalent in the US. VOD is still the red-headed stepchild, something that's reflected in the deals the networks have with the MVPDs (multichannel video programme distributors), most of which limit the current season VOD offering to the last five or six episodes, to the disappointment of latecomers and binge viewers alike. The rationale behind this odd arrangement is that when these deals were struck, binge viewing was just a gleam in Reed Hasting's eyes and the on-demand episodes were viewed as more of a marketing tool than a proper means of viewing: viewers watching VOD were viewers who weren't watching commercials, which meant the networks were losing ad revenue.

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