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VOD now in 60 percent of U.S. television homes

STB VOD is now in about 60 percent of U.S. households — up from 37 percent in 2008, a new Nielsen Q2 2013 Cross-Platform report has found.

While VOD technology has been available for over a decade, it hasn’t always been in demand. Consumers initially found the interface difficult to use, and program distributors were wary of delivering content when the audience couldn’t be measured, and therefore outside of their window of monetization, Nielsen said. Because of these issues, VOD options for the consumer were often limited to old shows or past seasons of shows.

Over the past year, however, networks have stepped up their efforts to make more popular content available, including recently broadcast content and multiple episodes from the current season. VOD access is also much more user friendly than it has been in the past, the audience measurement company said.

“The big difference is, over the past year or so, it has really transformed significantly,” Dounia Turrill, senior vice president of insights at Nielsen, told the Los Angeles Times.

Cable and satellite subscribers are now no longer out of luck if they forgot to record a show with their digital video recorder. And 50 percent of homes still don’t have a DVR.

“VOD platforms ... provide the ability to time-shift to homes that don’t have the equipment. So, I think that’s a very big development,” Turrill told the newspaper.

One factor that helped bring fresh content to VOD is the ability of media companies to identify shows so Nielsen can incorporate on-demand viewing as part of a show’s TV ratings — so long as it carries the same national commercials as the live airing of the episode and is watched within three days of the original telecast.

The new Nielsen report found that VOD is popular with 18-to-34-year-old viewers and feature films are the most sought after content.

“VOD was very much a movie platform,” Turrill told the Times. “As more content is going to be pushed onto these platforms, it will impact what people look for and the behavior.”