Archive for November, 2009

Are ITV catching themselves up?

Monday, November 23rd, 2009

Response to article as published on Friday in Advanced

ITV: 20% catch-up by 2013
From Colin Mann in London
A senior executive at ITV has suggested that 20 per cent of viewing of its channels will be via ‘catch-up’ services in 2013, up from four per cent currently.
Carolyn Fairbairn, Director of Group Development and Strategy at the broadcaster told delegates at the Digital TV Summit that this would come from its ITV Player on as well as other platforms and PVR/VoD-enabled devices. “We need to be where our audiences are,” she said, suggesting that there was a good demand for ‘middle tail’ programming, and the challenge was to monetise this. “We’re getting much more optimistic. We want to find new pots of new money.” She also revealed that ITV was “thinking very hard” about monetising the opportunity for viewers to preview ‘next in series’ episodes.

Whilst the above article could be seen as an endorsement of what we wrote in early 2006 – (PVRS and advertising exposure: a video ethnographic study published in the International Journal of Qualitative Market Research) and delivered to the industry at a conference at the LBS in June 2006 . There are some major concerns with this comment by Carolyn Fairburn particularly in the way she is merging all PVR viewing and VoD catch-up and archive under a single term of ’catch-up’.
I would argue that the term Catch- up is a clumsy generic term as it disguises the actual viewing behaviour and confuses the market. Under this term  I estimate that True On Demand would be roughly about 3-4% in PVR homes with 16-17% time-shifted content watched off PVR.

Also this all-encompassing phrase of ‘catch-up’ highlights the sad lack of customer insight on the aviewers appetite for catch up and archive – archive is different and viewers audience behaviour is different with catch up and archive so the merging is not helpful.

A few points:
1. I think it’ s safe to assume that her predictions should be based on Mark Oliver/Toby Syvret /Neil Mortensen forecasts of 75% households having PVR by 2013 – so there is nothing that new in her statement in terms of technology adoption.
2 So assuming ‘catch up’ is 20%, if in current PVR homes timeshifted is 16- 17% then vod is still 3% – how much investment is this worth in comparison with micro-payments damaging the ITV brand?
3. Why is she saying ‘we want to be where our audiences are’ – surely she shouldn’t be saying this, ITV with an audience of 13 million on Saturday, are definitely where the audience is …already… and certainly will be in the future – that is,  if they don’t upset their audience in the future with micro-payments.

Wednesday, November 4th, 2009

4th November – Penny Payment for Old Content….

Rather like Robert Peston of the BBC I have been busy with other projects for the past three months so have neglected the blog somewhat.

But I thought I might discuss the recent flyer that came through my door last week from BT Vison offering films on demand for 1p -  1p for Cocktail and about 14 others on offer for about a week.

I think this is a marketing disaster, when will they learn that their users will have a better choice of film saved on their PVR that the viewer will have chosen and will be more relevant. To some extent the viewer will have that recording in mind when going to the main set and use if the context is right.  There is no way on earth they will buy a film for a penny – its not worth that – .  So we have BT Vision potentially devaluing its delivery and being associated with something unattractive, old fashioned and out of date.  Sadly I guess this will be a complete flop and not only a complete waste of money but also ultimately devalue the brand of BT Vision.  Hopefully other broadcasters won’t replicate this business model otherwise it will do even further damage to their business models???