On Demand Summit: Benya: Social Media, On Demand Will Converge by 2015

New York – In Demand CEO Bob Benya said the next two years could see a further convergence of video on demand content and social media, enabling consumers to market movies to their own social media networks in return for reduced content costs.

In a discussion with Multichannel News programming editor R. Thomas Umstead at the Multichannel News/Broadcasting & Cable On Demand Summit here Wednesday, Benya said he envisions a “friendly merger” between the cloud, video on demand and social media in the next two years that will be a win-win for studios, the television industry and suppliers.

“What we think we mean by that is a playground of exploration and win-win opportunities for studios, independent suppliers and the industry to figure out ways to incentivize consumers to market movies to their social networks in exchange for getting free or reduced price content for their lockers,” Benya said. He added that one concept that could come to be in the not too distant future is allowing consumers to buy movies that will be shown only to a select group of their social network, in a closed “virtual movie theater” for a reasonable price, say $15.

In the nearer term, Benya said that strong movie content from the major studios will continue to fuel on demand viewership – of the 25 major films slated for summer release, half should be huge hits on VOD, including The Hangover 3, Despicable Me 2, Fast & Furious 6 and Smurfs 2, he said.  Benya added that independent studios and library content should also help goose on demand viewing. In Demand has relationships with about 60 independent suppliers. On the library side, In Demand is promoting new content as well as collections of shows, which enable binge viewing.

On the pay-per-view front, the In Demand CEO said that boxing continues to be a major draw, with WBC Welterweight champ Floyd Mayweather’s recent championship bout and an expected November bout between PPV stalwart Manny Pacquiao and Brandon Rios. Several up and coming fighters are also expected to help drive the category, as is UFC and World Wrestling Entertainment.  Benya said In Demand expect about 9 UFC and WWE contests from June through August and will fill in the category with contests from Bellator and TNA.

Benya said that In Demand has also diversified its PPV content, with pay-per-view in Espanol, cricket matches, professional bull riding, a stand-up comedy event with Steve Harvey and rock legends the Rolling Stones 50th Anniversary concert, to name a few.

“We’re open for business and we're trying a lot of new things,” Benya said.