Within the next two years, video-on-demand (VOD) services featuring the network's most popular shows will provide a steady new revenue stream for program providers and program distributors, David Poltrack, executive vice president, research and planning for CBS, has predicted.
At the annual UBS Media Week Conference in New York last month, Poltrack said CBS research shows that some type of VOD model featuring broadcast repeats is of interest to a significant segment of the audience. He added that such a service could work, even if people continue to use digital video recorders to store and replay programming on their own.
Poltrack said a CBS on-demand service could either be paid for show-by-show, or for a fixed monthly fee. He added that viewers might be charged less for programming with advertising that cannot be skipped, and more if the viewer is allowed to bypass the ads. Several cable operators offer such content packages from premium cable nets. For example, Time Warner now offers VOD from HBO, Showtime and Cinemax as part of a $7.95 monthly package for unlimited viewing access.
He cited some obstacles. It will take some time, Poltrack said, to renegotiate residual fees with studios for programming already shown, but such fees could be worked into future deals before the programming airs on the networks. ABC, NBC and CBS are all experimenting with offering news programming on-demand to various cable operators in certain markets, but those are just limited tests.
The top two shows viewers said they would consider buying on VOD were CBS’ “CSI” and ABC’s “Desperate Housewives,” which Poltrack added, also topped the DVR playback list.
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