VOD Marketing Is Paying Off

New Orleans — Cable executives responsible
for marketing video on demand found
a welcome theme in the host city’s mantra
of revival and renewal.

Operators and programmers are pushing
new efforts to market VOD with hopes of
pumping up revenue in a category that both
sides agree needs rejuvenation.

The category’s biggest challenge: consistent
messaging, improved on-demand navigation
and shorter theatrical movie windows
to bring non-users into the tent.

At the Multichannel News and Broadcasting
& Cable
VOD-themed breakfast session
last Tuesday, executives said a consistent,
layered approach to marketing VOD that
showcases the platform’s attributes as well
as the emotional draw of watching movies
and primetime shows at the push of a remote
button has helped build a business.

Cox Communications’ marketing efforts
have made 85% of the MSO’s customers
aware of on-demand, director of marketing
and new video services Bob Nocera said.

Cox’s VOD offering of primetime content
from the broadcast and cable networks
has doubled each year since its
launch in 2008.

Kim Mills, senior director of consumer
marketing and retention for Time Warner
Cable, cited increases in movie and primetime
TV series VOD viewing, due to a multilayered
marketing approach.

Mills said TWC has led its promotional
messages with an occasion or emotionbased
idea, like an instant family night or
date night, following up with a “big cinematic
view” featuring movie trailers, and
closing with the functional benefit, such
as instant premieres and high definition.

At Rainbow Media, VOD has helped increase
viewership of its shows, particularly
with the advent of C3 viewership measurements,
senior vice president of affiliate marketing
Jan Diedrichsen said.

AMC drama Rubicon became the network’s
most-watched new-series premiere
after AMC had teased its bow on demand
weeks prior to the network debut.

Cox’s Nocera said a subscriber survey
taken after it launched the “My Primetime”
platform indicated 27% of respondents
wouldn’t watch the show at all if it was not
available on VOD.

He also said Turner Networks reported a
10% lift in viewership for shows that were
available on-demand.

Still, the industry needs to increase awareness
and usage of VOD.

Nocera said Cox is trying several marketing
tactics, including a monthly e-mail to
new subscribers touting free VOD content.

On the transactional side, Cox has offered
non-users a chance to purchase a discounted
99-cent movie, which he said had often led to
future buys among those taking advantage
of the offer.

Cox and Time Warner are working on improving
guide functionality to allow for more
subscriber options today while working toward
creating enhanced VOD menu guides
that would include title search opportunities
and other options.

“Th e exciting thing is to look at how much
content we have — it’s a good news story, but
the navigation is an issue,” Mills said.

R. Thomas Umstead

R. Thomas Umstead serves as senior content producer, programming for Multichannel News, Broadcasting + Cable and Next TV. During his more than 30-year career as a print and online journalist, Umstead has written articles on a variety of subjects ranging from TV technology, marketing and sports production to content distribution and development. He has provided expert commentary on television issues and trends for such TV, print, radio and streaming outlets as Fox News, CNBC, the Today show, USA Today, The New York Times and National Public Radio. Umstead has also filmed, produced and edited more than 100 original video interviews, profiles and news reports featuring key cable television executives as well as entertainers and celebrity personalities.