How to ReelIn VOD Viewers

New York —Sending fight fans on a free
trip to Las Vegas before a big bout and offering
the first 10 minutes of a video-ondemand
movie for free to hook the viewer
into buying — those are among the tactics
cable operators are using to pump up the pay
portion of the video-on-demand business.

Operators on a panel at the CTAM in
New York conference last week made clear
they see free and pay VOD as a vital and
growing part of the video mix.

“We talk about VOD being a differentiator,”
Gary Lindemann, senior director of
video at cable provider Mediacom Communications,
said. “It’s prominent in everything
we do. It’s a cool application and
we try to get that across.”

Comcast has seen the platform grow to
the tune of 400 million views per month,
Michael Imbesi, executive director of programming
and promotions at Comcast’s
Xfinity On Demand,
said during
the same
session. That’s
up from 350
million views
Comcast said it
was getting just
this past April.

Sampling is
something operators
can do
with the platform to try to boost usage and
buys, Imbesi said. Comcast offered 10-minute
free previews of Tron and Hanna, two
movies with enough action up front to hook
a viewer into buying, he said.

Kristin Malaspina, senior director of
partnership marketing at Time Warner
Cable, said a key to boosting buy-rates is to
start promoting movies and events weeks
before their on-demand window opens.
Time Warner Cable did that while Harry
Potter and the Deathly Hallows
was still in
theatres, “leveraging
the buzz” ahead of
the VOD release, she

Before the Sept. 17
welterweight pay-perview
fight between
Floyd Mayweather
and Victor Ortiz,
Time Warner Cable
had a contest to send
subscribers to Las Vegas,
Malaspina said. “That helped us start
the promotion for the fight much earlier,
because we had something to talk about
to customers. And it wasn’t really ,‘Buy the
fight, buy the fight,’ it was, ‘Get exclusive
access to win a trip there.’ ”

The fight drew an estimated more
than 1 million buys, the third straight 1-
million-plus-buy fight for Mayweather.

Kent Gibbons

Kent has been a journalist, writer and editor at Multichannel News since 1994 and with Broadcasting+Cable since 2010. He is a good point of contact for anything editorial at the publications and for Before joining Multichannel News he had been a newspaper reporter with publications including The Washington Times, The Poughkeepsie (N.Y.) Journal and North County News.