Cable VOD viewing boosts content, ad engagement | Media Analysis | Business
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Even with the rise of alternative viewing platforms, more than half of on-demand viewing in the US still happens through a cable box, according to research from the Video Advertising Bureau (VAB).


vabThe MVPDs’ Video on Demand report, found that people who access video on demand (VOD) from multichannel video programming distributors (MVPDs) like cable and satellite watch 50% more of any given 30-minute primetime programme than live viewers, and 33% more than time-shifted viewers.

More than 73 million people access MVPDs’ on-demand libraries. On average, viewers stay with a 30-minute primetime program for 24 minutes, compared with 16 minutes for live and 18 minutes for time-shifted TV. All told, that means that Americans are watching an hour more per month than a year ago, and their ad engagement is climbing as more programmers and distributors adopt dynamic ad insertion technology.

“MVPDs’ VOD viewers are committed to the content,” said Evelyn Skurkovich, VP of Research & Insights at the VAB. “They are passionate about catching up with these programmes and are willing to watch with ads that can’t be skipped.”

Viewers are engaging with more ads, too. The report shows that through June, VOD totalled 9 billion ad impressions, on pace for a substantial increase over 2015 (11.8 billion ad impressions). Live-streaming still takes the crown for engagement, but VOD is holding its own.

The report also pointed out that Nielsen’s measurement of MVPD VOD allows for monetisation. Playback of encoded VOD viewing will be credited to the linear C3 and C7 rating, as long as programme content and national ad load are fed exactly the same to the VOD feed. In order to get VOD credit, the programme and spots must preserve the original Nielsen linear encoding.

To do that, clients embed a ‘VOD flag’ into the linearly encoded content via a software encoder. The VOD flag simply identifies the content as VOD v DVR. There are then two options: A C3 flag is used if content will retain the linear commercials for only three days. The use of C3 flag eliminates the need to ‘re-pitch’ the VOD content on day four when the linear commercials are removed. The C7 flag is used if the content will retain the linear commercials for seven days.

MVPDs’ VOD libraries average more than twice as many titles as Amazon and three times as many as Hulu or Netflix, thanks to a continual programming investment over $50 billion per year. They answer a mounting demand, as fully 68% of all on-demand viewers want even more VOD programmes, younger people in particular, and 67% also say they prefer to watch on the TV set. Overall, viewers turn to VOD primarily for convenience and catching up, at 81% and 73% respectively.

Overall, VOD viewers tend to be young, educated and affluent. The majority are under 45, and 34% are under 35. About half have a college or post-graduate degree, and 43% have household incomes over $100,000. “They’re a highly desirable audience for advertisers, and they can’t get enough of favourite TV shows,” said Skurkovich.”

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