Laws of VOD Attraction

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Recent mainstream theatricals and independent films are the video-on-demand programming genres of choice, while how-to shows and supplemental news pieces also resonate among these viewers.

These were among the findings of a recent study gauging the relative attraction to 47 different kinds of TV content as VOD offerings. Titled the Marquest 2004 On Demand Menu Planner Study, the research assigned scores to the various types of programming — a number combining a potential viewer's interest in a genre with his or her interest in tapping VOD as a means of access.

Results were drawn from the responses of a random national sample of 422 television viewers, reflecting a cross-section of age and gender. Beaufort, N.C.-based Marquest Corp., which typically conducts custom studies for cable networks and MSOs, mailed the questionnaires that were completed between late March and mid-May.

Breaking respondents down into such groups persons 9-plus, adults, men and women 18 and older, adults 18 to 34, adults 25 and 54 — plus subscriber groups based on household income, VOD capabilities or the presence of DVRs — recent mainstream films ranked first on each list. Made-for-cable movies were tops among adults 55-plus (16), narrowly besting recent theatricals and independent films, both of which posted scores of 15. Recent indie films ranked second or third among most of the identified groups.

Among adults 18 to 34, recent episodes of TV shows (39) are of interest, while adults 25 to 54 like to screen how-to shows (30). Among the older group, news background shows attracted their fair share of viewer votes (14).

Rule said it was “not surprising that much of the on-demand interest was for movies, especially among those over age 35. They were also interested in programming that could help them refinish a piece of furniture or complete a project around the house. Younger viewers are more active in seeking out a particular [scripted] show they might have missed.”

The study, which Marquest said has a plus-minus margin of 4.8%, also measured VOD availability and usage. Marquest's research found that only 10% of the study group is on-demand capable, while 15% had a DVR/PVR. That compares with digital-cable penetration of 31% and 40% with broadband access. Younger people tended to use VOD more often than older folks.

But having on-demand service doesn't guarantee usage: while 65% of respondents in equipped households have used it, only 24% deployed more than once a week.

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