One of the best things about video-on-demand is the ability to catch up on shows you missed. However, for most television series, the catch-up function only goes so far -- usually about five episodes. To get a season's worth of archives, you have to buy or rent shows online or pick up the DVD box set.
In a corporate blog post, Comcast announced that it's working with Nielsen on a new advertising product called On Demand Commercial Ratings (ODCR). The product inserts the entire ad load from the most recent episode in a TV series into any earlier episodes offered in the on-demand catalog. While today programmers only get ratings credit for ads that run in Nielsen's C3 window (i.e. within three days of the initial broadcast), the deal with Nielsen could ultimately extend ratings value much, much further.
And when the ratings problem is solved, programmers will have much greater incentive to offer up full season archives. Just as importantly, the networks will have larger viewing audiences to sell to advertisers, thereby generating more ad revenues.
Comcast says it is testing ODCR with NBC Universal content initially. But Multichannel News reports that trials with ABC Inc. are also underway, and that CBS Corp. (NYSE: CBS) is interested in the product as well.
While cable is working hard to improve the VoD experience, the industry still has a long way to go to catch up with online VoD options. Recent data suggest that online viewing time has grown as much as 10 times faster than cable VoD viewing time over the last four years. (See Online Video Trumps Cable VoD.)
— Mari Silbey, special to Light Reading Cable