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My Turn

Demanding Viewers Want To Know

8/10/2012 2:48 PM

I’ve been thinking a lot about video on demand lately. I’ve also been using it. Both of which put me in a very committed minority.

Olympics or HD cable shows crowding your DVR? Nuke some recent ones and watch them on demand instead. Get to know where they are, because it’s universally acknowledged that VOD navigation is not very simple or intuitive.Brenda Leigh Johnson trenchcoat

A friend who, like me, is a fan of The Closer missed some recent episodes. My first thought was to email her a link to TNT’s TV-Everywhere app for viewing the show, but we both have Time Warner Cable, and Time Warner Cable doesn’t have a deal to offer it. Next thought was to ask if she’d checked channel 1012, the entertainment on demand site, and see if she had that and could do some catching up on Brenda Leigh Johnson’s end game. Her response: “Holy (deleted), never knew I had it but it appears I do!”

Cox Communications CEO Pat Esser was on an industry panel recently (video of the NECTA session here, via NECN; our coverage here), talking about some detailed customer research the cable firm had done on what people like and don’t like about their multichannel TV. “Video on demand,” he said. “Those who use it love it. Those who don’t use it, don’t understand it. We have more education to do.”

Amen to that.

If you do wander into the VOD territory on Time Warner Cable, it’s had some success getting celebrities (even Robert DeNiro) to pitch their on-demand wares, something IFC Films honcho Jonathan Sehring has lamented happens too infrequently (read this article from our On Demand Summit coverage from June). There was Bob Costas, the face of NBC’s London Games, last week, saying Olympics On Demand would have anything you happened to miss. Look that up, too: the listings are laid out helpfully, event by event.

Be demanding: try it out, and let your provider what you like or don’t. It’s worth a visit.

A version of this post appears in Monday’s Multichannel News.

September