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On Demand: Is VOD in a Golden Age? Not Quite

Though the executives of the On Demand Summit’s programming roundtable were high on VOD, they didn’t quite buy it being in a golden age.

“Part of the definition is that it is flourishing and I certainly think that’s true, but it also says it’s a time of peace and prosperity, and I think the answer might vary from place to place,” said Brian Balthazar, VP of programming and development, HGTV, DIY Network and Great American Country.

Balthazar was joined by Rob Barnett, founder and CEO of Omnivision Entertainment & My Damn Channel; Ellen Goosenberg Kent, director/producer and president of Golden Egg Entertainment; and Damon Williams, VP programming & strategy, Music Choice, with Multichannel News editor R. Thomas Umstead moderating.

Goosenberg Kent had reservations as well. “The question is who’s buying and how much are they paying and how are people going to find the film if we don’t go to a big player with it.”

Barnett saw promotion as a key area of growth for on demand content.

“The great problem online is to be lost in the sea of everything,” said Barnett. “We’ve always done something crazy like promote, which I think is another hole online, as opposed to it just happens to be up and you’re supposed to search for it.”

Balthazar saw social media and using it correctly as a way to cultivate a shared experience in the audience.

“There’s still a need for a shared experience, which why is everyone loves to watch the Super Bowl together, the Oscars together. It’s balancing that need for a shared experience.”

Williams added getting the creators involved with the audience was the best marketing available.

“In our efforts to really establish out new app that we have, we use artists to help drive downloads of that app. They’re better than any billboard that I could buy and any advertising that we could do,” said Williams. “We just did a promotion with one of our partners, dick clark productions. At the Billboard Music Awards, we actually had an artist take over our Instagram account, and he’s actually sending images back and then driving people to the content on our network. You can’t really buy that kind of marketing.”