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NCTA: Cable “Just Scratching Surface” of VOD

The nation’s largest cable operators say they are “just scratching the surface” of video-on-demand and promised to offer a cavalcade of new products to allow viewers more control over their TV schedule.

“My sense is that (VOD) goes all the way,” said Stephen Burke, COO of Comcast, the largest U.S. cable operator. “Eventually not only will you have prime time television shows that you can go back and catch up with, but eventually on your TV set, you will get virtually everything or maybe everything on TV when you want it.”

Burke was speaking on a panel entitled “Cable 2.0: Growing Cable’s Next Business Opportunity” at the National Cable & Telecommunications Association's annual trade show in Las Vegas.Among the topics, VOD seemed to be top of mind for cable giants.

Said Tom Rutledege, COO of Cablevision Systems Corp., “We think clearly TV patterns are changing.”

Perhaps more than any other cable operator, Time Warner has most aggressively marketed new VOD products.One service, called “Start Over” allows viewers who tune in a few minutes late to start a network show at the beginning. A longer window is available in another service called “Look Back.”The latest product, “Catch Up,”allows viewers access to recent episodes of a show, such as “24” to catch up.

Glen Britt, president and CEO of Time Warner Cable, said that viewers who used DVRs were some of the biggest users of other VOD products. “We’re just in the third inning with this,” he said.

“Video ON Demand is becoming more powerful and were not going to stop,” said Burke. “So far history has shown when you give people more choice people they want more choice.”