Marketers: Awareness, Navigation Are Key to On-Demand Profits

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NEW YORK — Helping customers sift through the literally thousands of on-demand choices is a top priority of multichannel video programming providers and content creators alike, and a key component of marketing the service, according panelists at the summit’s Marketing & Promotions Roundtable.

Verizon Communications director of content strategy and acquisition Joseph Lawson said helping consumers navigate those choices and letting them know your service can provide that assistance 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 don’t just 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 free-on-demand choices and selections, customers watched about 11 or 12 free pieces of content per month. But they also purchased content — an average of seven to eight shows per month.

Those customers also churned less, and helped 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.

In New York, Time Warner Cable launched its own show, “Talking Pictures on Demand,” to drive awareness of what is available to consumers.

Intel Media head of VOD/EST Content & Affiliate Marketing Ric Whitney said 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.”

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