This blog is concerned with the arrival of a significant new form of VOD advertising – ‘platform’ VOD. This is the VOD advertising format that is slowly emerging on TV set top boxes in the UK and other TV markets.
In the UK ‘platform VOD advertising has been taking some time to get established. On Virgin set top boxes in the UK there have been experiments with VOD advertising going for a few years, but only with the recent upgrade of its systems is it properly taking off. On Sky+ boxes (where until recently, it was impossible to insert adverts into VOD programmes) we are promised a summer roll out of ad insertion. On the Youview based boxes and the other free-to-air platforms, platform VOD has been treated as an extension of ‘player’ VOD – formats delivered through a broadcaster app like ITV Player or 4OD. It has been bundled and sold within the broader VOD advertising deals, and has not been broken out for reporting or measurement purposes. more “VOD Ads On TV Are Different to VOD Ads On The Web..and It Matters!”…
Decipher’s latest VOD Audit report is now available and with 84% of data collection automated, it provides the biggest and most robust picture of the UK video on demand landscape yet. It dissects the biggest 20 video on demand services in the UK giving an unrivalled overview of all VOD in the UK.
The new expanded report reveals that Apple’s iTunes service comprehensively trounces the competition by offering a total of 65,063 video assets, 193% larger than the next largest service Xbox Video, and 275% larger than the largest TV VOD service BT TV/YouView. The biggest growth overall in VOD was seen in Sky’s NowTV service which is 208% larger than in September’s Q3 report. Other providers who grew strongly include Xbox Video (87%), Sky TV (+35%) and Netflix (+26%).more “Decipher’s VOD Audit Q4 ’13: iTunes dominate total VOD size; but Sky lead catch-up”…
Decipher’s latest VOD Audit reveals YouView is now the largest catch-up TV provider in the UK, growing by 24% to offer 2,677 assets. This gives it the lead over Sky by 85 assets with the satellite provider’s catch-up service totaling 2,592 assets, reflecting 11% growth since June. Importantly however, Sky’s claims to having the largest catch-up service still have some grounds: Their service offers far more breadth, giving subscribers access to content from up to 32 channels compared to YouView’s 15.
Looking at total video on demand on services audited in this quarter (which excludes iTunes and Google Play until next quarter), the most on demand is available through Sony’s Playstation Store, accessed via the Playstation 3 games console; the Store offers access to over 24,100 episodes and movies. The Audit places Blinkbox in second (20,800 assets) with Microsoft’s Xbox Video in third place (20,400 assets). more “Decipher’s VOD Audit Q3 2013: YouView now provide more catch-up TV than Sky”…
Over 50% of UK households will have a connected STB by end of 2015 which is double the figure for last year. This will move TV on-demand mainstream. It will also move consumers’ default usage back to the digital TV platforms and dampen the growth of OTT providers (Netflix and Lovefilm) and standalone online players (iPlayer, ITV on demand and 4OD).
Set-top boxes in the UK are getting more connected. This means that more of them have access to broadband through either a cable into the back of them or, more likely, a wifi connection. The trend is prevalent at the moment driven by Sky who are currently connecting 50k HD boxes per week and will continue to for the next few years. Added acceleration to connectivity will come from YouView growth through BT and TalkTalk and also the connected version of Freesat (called <freetime>) which are both making the traditionally ‘free TV’ base more able to easily connect to broadband. more “UK Set Top Boxes Pass 50% Connected In Next Two Years.”…
In our blog post a couple of weeks ago discussing some of the findings which have come out of the second wave of our Future Media Research Programme (FMRP), we argued that when it comes to remote control functionality on a second screen device, providers have to get the basics right first and then work up to incorporating more of the funky, new-world stuff such as personalisation and integration with other second screen apps. What we didn’t touch on too much was who these providers would be – who is best placed to give me my remote control app? And then who is best placed to give me my interactive second screen apps? Finally, and perhaps most importantly, who is best placed to give me an aggregated and integrated second screen experience?
I recently challenged myself to work-out why I still watch so much ‘live’ TV. I don’t mean news or sport because I can rationalise those genres quite easily. I mean bread and butter programming.
The challenge came about because I was debating just how much more damage all the VOD services and PVRs will do to live TV viewing figures in the long-run. This is important because it is those live viewing figures that contribute the vast bulk of advertising impacts. VOD currently delivers far, fewer impacts per hour of viewing than live TV, so the ‘end game’ for advertising funded TV programming is defined by this question. My guess was that live TV won’t drop more than perhaps 25%, no matter how many VOD and time shifting gadgets like Sky+ launch, but I could not say why. I suspect I’m making the mistake of confusing the technology with the benefits.
VOD and the PVR are the rational way to consume all but the livest of live TV events. So, when VOD has all the content you want and it is available on every screen in the house, why would you want to watch ordinary old broadcast TV at all?
I received an email this week from a contact who works in the TV industry in Australia asking my opinion on something to do with what he called ‘PDRs’? Now I had to stop and think what on earth he was talking about. Eventually I went back to him to check my assumption that PDR meant ‘personal digital recorders’. These are, of course, what we would call a personal video recorder (PVR) or, if you believe Sky, a digital video recorder (DVR) or, if you follow Tess Alp’s of Thinkbox’s mantra, a ‘digital television recorder’ (DTR) or, if you are the Dixon’s web site, a little bit of all of them, without explaining the difference.
Commercial TV funded by advertising is an astonishingly scalable business. You can look at the richest territories in the world such as the USA and note that when it is fuelled by $70bn in TV advertising, the TV industry can produce a service that occupies 34 hours a week of leisure time for the average adult. Then look at Serbia, with a TV ad spend that is about 1% of the USA and, you guessed it, they keep the average Serbian adult busy 34 hours a week. I know this ignores other revenue like subscription but you get the point. With a business model that scalable you’d have thought the UK TV industry could absorb a reduction in advertising revenue of a few percent without all the talk of the sky falling-in.
I opened my bank statement the other day to see how much I paid Sky. What I found interesting wasn’t the Sky number, but the line underneath. By some quirk, the direct debit that I pay to TV licencing was listed underneath. I pay just over £11 a month to the BBC for TV and radio. Now, as a middle class middle Englander, I understand how much value I squeeze out of the BBC for that money. I probably use way over the average amount of BBC output, and don’t begrudge it. What I find odd is that the industry still lumps the BBC together with ITV, C4 and Five in our discussions about free to air television.
The BBC is quite clearly not a free to air broadcaster. I pay a subscription every month to access the content and it is quite clearly a Pay-TV operator in terms of the way it is financed. The only differences between the BBC and the other Pay-TV operators are that it is a compulsory subscription and that they have a variety of public service obligations in return.
The other night I went to bed with Paxman. His typical wit and insight on the global credit crunch got me thinking about where the belt can be tightened in my own household. As the Sky EPG finally bid me farewell after I had convinced myself that there was nothing on worth watching live and everything on my Sky+ box demanded more than the 12 minutes or so I was prepared to give it, my mind focussed what I pay for TV. A rather interesting picture started to form.
I, like Parkinson and Felicity Kendal, am a Sky+ fan. It’s easy and works for me. Point, shoot, job done. I would estimate that 75% of my watching is ‘off line’, so to speak. However, a review of what is currently sitting on my hard drive is rather revealing – Heroes, Madman, Jonathan Ross and at least 2 movies for the wife, QI, the cricket, Have I Got News for You and Panorama for me. Mmm..mostly provided by free to air channels. OK, so why am I not on FreeView?