[opendtv] News: All this VOD business making some heads spin

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  • Date: Thu, 8 Dec 2005 10:10:15 -0500

All this VOD business making some heads spin

December 8, 2005 12:00am
Source: Advertising Age

In recent weeks, major TV broadcasters and cable networks have 
announced a sudden storm of video-on-demand and online initiatives 
that don't conform in any way to TV's traditional business models. 
Both NBC and CBS are offering top prime-time programs to VOD services 
that allow viewers to watch when they want, not when the network sets 
the appointments. They are also posting more TV news content online, 
while ABC is making its whole nightly news show available on the Web. 
TiVo said it plans to let subscribers transfer recorded programs to 
portable players like iPods and Sony's PSP.

With so much activity, it's not clear what's going on. Respondents to 
an Advertising Age poll expressed confusion about the new 
distribution plans, platforms, schemes and copycats.

"All of this smacks of Chicken Little desperation,'' said John Maher, 
senior VP-director of planning, U.S. International Media. "Everybody 
seems afraid of being left out of the ongoing changes.''

That may be so, but the consumer experience is improving even amid 
hurdy-gurdy changes, said Rob Floyd, president, Circle F Media. "No 
one understands how this will turn out and everyone is placing 
bets,'' he said. "It's all very exciting and very disruptive but it 
can let me watch my content (and more of it) on my own schedule. I 
don't mind commercials if I can select ones meaningful to me and if 
watching them gives me my content for free. I would also think that I 
am more valuable to advertisers if I am interested in seeing their 
specific messages.''

In a dissent, Paul Benjou, director-client services at Mediaplex, 
said where some see chaos, others see ordered evolution. "The shift 
of channel distribution for TV content is nothing new. It started 
decades ago with the birth of cable TV and the resistance by the 
major networks to acknowledge or embrace it. Today we are witnessing 
yet a stronger shift, fueled by the Internet, addressable set-top box 
and mobile technologies, coupled with the visionary talents of some 
of the best and brightest minds today. If this is confusion, I cannot 
wait to see what's around the corner.''

Bob Davidson of Davidson Communications isn't confused, either: 
"Vaudeville feared movies. Movie theaters were scared what TV would 
do. Now, TV is what you want, when you want it. Consumers are getting 
the message loud and clear. It is this industry's task to figure out 
the shortest distance between two points. It can and will be done.''

What you say: 59% of respondents to Advertising Age's online poll 
believe all the sudden, overlapping and divergent changes affecting 
digital TV distribution are confusing. Another 41% disagreed, many 
arguing that we are witnessing evolution at work, including both 
innovations that will fail and innovations that will influence 

<<Advertising Age -- 12/08/05>>

<< Copyright ©2005 Crain Communications Inc. >>
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