New York – Helping customers sift through the literally thousands of choices on demand is a top priority of multichannel video programming providers and content creators alike and is a key component of marketing the service, according to a panel discussion at Wednesday’s Multichannel News/Broadcasting& Cable On Demand Summit here.
At the Summit’s Marketing & Promotions Roundtable moderated by CTAM senior vice president of marketing and communications Anne Cowan, Verizon director, content strategy and acquisition Joseph Lawson said helping consumers navigate the choices out there is key and letting them know that your service can provide that help is essential to success.
“We believe that marketing FOD [free on demand] can be the rising tide that lifts all boats,” Lawson said, adding that on demand viewers not only watch free shows, they buy on demand programming as well.
Lawson pointed to a study the company did with about 1 million subscribers that found after becoming aware of FOD choices and selections, those customers watched about 11 or 12 free pieces of content per month. But they also purchased content – an average of 7 to 8 shows per month.
Those customers also churned less – FOD viewers have half the churn rate of non FOD viewers, he said – and it helps Verizon grow an audience for digital ad insertion. Earlier in the conference, it was estimated that MVPDs potentially leave about $1 billion in digital ad revenue on the table by not marketing on demand.
“Marketing FOD and aggressively promoting it allows us to realize the potential from that,” Lawson said.
At In Demand, senior director of digital marketing said is company take s three-pronged approach to marketing on demand content, including producing original content and exclusives, conducting press junkets and hosted barker channels as well as social and digital media. He added tha the idea is especially with movies that may be well known to consumers, the idea is to make them aware that On Demand is the place to access that content. In Demand builds on that awareness through promotions centered around tentpole events like awards season, as well as through partnerships with other companies like TV Guide.
In New York, Time Warner Cable launched its own show, “Talking Pictures on Demand,” to drive awareness of what is available to consumers.
Host Neil Rosen said that on Time Warner Cable New York alone, there are about 300 movies available on demand at any given time. “Talking Pictures on Demand,” which pairs Rosen with other critics to discuss between 12 and 14 movies on each program, serves as the “ultimate viewing guide,” he said.
Intel Media head of VOD/EST Content & Affiliate Marketing Ric Whitney said that discoverability is key, adding that giving consumers the ability to find content needs to be balanced with advertising and transactional on demand opportunities.
“There is benefit for the linear side and the big studios are keen on driving the transaction side,” Whitney said. “We need to figure out how we can balance the two.”