I am not much for self-promotion, but Bill has explicitly banned me from belittling anyone or any particular web site (and in the process removed at least 25% of the joy I derive from writing!). But in the last 2 days I've seen some wacky stuff.
- 1. Mobile wireless video - a bigger deal than video on demand (VOD)
- 2. The C3 commercial viewing numbers weren't bad and indicated no significant changes from what was expected
As for #1: OMG! (Bill said I couldn't write "what a DOPEY THING TO WRITE!" or I'd consider it). I actually do believe that a day will come when mobile wireless video will be a big deal, and I really do mean that. However, I believe video on demand services will be more adopted far earlier than anyone is going to beam "Office" from their media server to their iPhone in Starbucks. While to some degree I am already doing this, I understand how the adoption curve works.
The cable companies have done a lousy job marketing on-demand. I have more than a handful of e-mails from HBO subscribers I have educated who exclaim with great delight, "you mean I can watch 10 episodes of Entourage back to back!?!? WOW!". VOD is a fabulous service, especially if you have subscription services like HBO. Interface implementations need work - it will get there. Fabulous service though and getting used more and more all the time.
How many people do you know who pay extra for VCast from Verizon? The numbers are still so low Verizon doesn't even talk about them in its earnings releases yet. There's another thing to keep in mind. Most people are cheap and most cable subscribers (well over 50% at last look) have basic cable, not digital cable with a set-top box. Sure, I live somewhere where it seems like almost everybody has HDTVs and a set-top box with digital cable or satellite. Maybe it's like that where you live as well - but that's not how it is in most places yet.
As for #2 and the C3 data, there is one way to look at this that doesn't paint a bad picture. Commercial viewership up to 3 days after the program aired doesn't differ substantially from live viewership of the programs. What they're not telling you though is that in most cases, whatever drop off in commercial viewership from show viewership in the comparison actually happened when the show was live. They're also not telling you that almost all of the people watching shows on DVRs fast forwarded through commercials 100% of the time. Should you care? Perhaps not this week, but for future planning purposes heck yeah.
This is very bad news for advertisers and the networks. Not today, but next year and the year after, when more and more people are watching their shows time-shifted rather than live. Today, only about 10-15% of viewership seems to come from DVR viewership (for primetime), what happens if it approaches 50%? It will be a big deal then, that's what happens. And sports, even with diminishing ratings will charge more and more for commercials for 2 reasons.
One, it seems to be the only thing that attracts young men regularly. This is important because advertisers feel like this is the important phase (I'm not sure they're right, but they have way more data than I do) for getting you to pick between Budweiser and MGD, McDonalds vs. Burger King, Ford trucks vs. Chevy.
The second reason is because most people watch sports LIVE, and probably always will. So even if we wind up with a Rockies vs. Indians and the lowest-rated World Series ever, next year Fox will charge more than this year - and likely get it.
We're big on thinking here at TVbytheNumbers.com, and we hope you'll benefit from what we think. Or call us idiots when we're wrong so we can learn. I don't have a problem with being belittled, especially when I'm flat-out wrong, so take your best shot!