The amazing growth of On Demand entertainment
Watch shows, when, how and where YOU want
Every year it seems our lives get busier. Most people’s family commitments and work responsibilities result in limited ‘me’ time and means fewer hours to relax and be entertained. These lifestyle changes have driven the growth of On Demand content – a way to enjoy your favourite shows and films when and how you want to enjoy them.
The truth is that viewers are less willing to sit through ads, or succumb to the whim of the broadcasters schedules in order to enjoy their favourite programmes. They’d much prefer to access ad free shows at a time that suits them. So does On Demand content spell the end of broadcast TV programming?
“Does On Demand content spell the end of broadcast TV programming?”
What is On Demand?
On Demand, sometimes known as Video On Demand or VOD, is essentially content delivered to users when and how they want it.
On Demand content is available from a multitude of sources, YouTube now boasts more than 1 billion unique users each month and is a hugely powerful player in the On Demand content arena.
Several big brands and corporates are also getting into the On Demand content space, such as Red Bull and Khan Academy becoming IP broadcasters, while sporting codes like V8 SuperCars are starting to share their own Live and Catch Up On Demand content.
Content producers no longer need the big broadcasters to show their content, companies like Ted and Time have been hugely successful in sharing their On Demand content via their own networks.
A diverse range of devices
While the range of On Demand content increases, so does the number of platforms that can receive it. On Demand content can now be enjoyed via big screen TVs, desktop computers, tablets and smart phones, with users often watching two shows at the same time via second screening.
This craving for TV everywhere means viewers now want to enjoy content wherever they are – in their lounge room, in the bedroom, on the train and at their local café.
Analyst Mary Meeker recently reported in her annual Internet Trends report that 84% of mobile owners user their mobile phone while watching TV. It also illustrated the more devices a user has, the more TV they watch.
How is broadcast TV changing?
Many TV broadcasters, in an effort to remain relevant, are now making their programmes available online, usually after they’ve been transmitted on mainstream TV. Some services allow you to access programmes, while others allow you to watch shows on the broadcaster’s website via live streaming.
In the US the number of online videos watched reached 49.2 billion in February 2014 – a 49% jump from 2013, and a 75% jump since 2010.
Traditional Broadcasters face stiff competition from On Demand providers like iTunes, Netflix and Amazon, so increasingly they’re creating their own On Demand offerings. In Australia, options include:
Channel 7’s On Demand offering, Plus 7, reported one million downloads since its launch and has had over 4.5 million full episodes streamed in the last month. While the Nine Entertainment Co has boosted its budget for their subscription video On Demand service, Ninemsn’s Jump-in, by $65 million.
How binge-watching is transforming TV
Binge-watching refers to the practice of viewing several episodes of a TV show in one sitting. Our desperation to watch shows when WE want to (rather than at the whim of the broadcaster) led to a huge increase in pirating or torrenting (a new slang verb generated by users of BitTorrent software). In fact Australians are amongst the world’s biggest piraters.
Those of us not keen to illegally stream content, previously had to wait until a series became available on DVD before they could binge watch. Now the networks often ensure a popular series is available On Demand after they premier on broadcast TV. Some broadcasters are now debuting shows exclusively on streaming video. For example Netflix plans to release the new series of ‘Orange is the New Black’ online first and on broadcast TV second.
In a recently article Craig Hodges, founder of King Content, illustrated how broadcast TV is getting closer to On Demand content.
“When developing House of Cards, Netflix basically ignored all of the traditional ‘rules’ of TV production – there was no pilot and all 13 episodes (the whole first series) were made available for immediate streaming. It was a figurative middle finger aimed directly at the executives and the studios who knocked back one of the shows of the year.”
Binge watching is clearly on the rise – an online survey by Harris Interactive found most people defined binge-watching as viewing two to six episodes of the same show at a time and that bingeing makes a show more enjoyable.
Is there still a place for Live TV?
Not all entertainment fits neatly into the On Demand model. Live sports and reality TV shows need to be broadcast in ‘real time’ due to their ‘instantness’ (who wants to risk someone telling you the end score for the big match? Or who took out the prize on the latest singing show). But even here On Demand has a place – with viewers able to catch up on missed episodes, or re-watch live games at a later time.
Also there are those who use the TV as background noise, comfort and companionship. These kinds of viewers care less about watching a particular show at a particular time and are happy to zone out, not think, and watch whatever comes on.
Technology and On Demand
Currently the options to enjoy On Demand content on standard TVs are a little weak and this often drives users to access On Demand content via a second screen (like a laptop). There are also few devices that allow users to switch easily between Live and On Demand.
Locked down options such as Apple TV and Fetch TV, offer a limited and specific content service for a premium membership fee – but there are few that have an open platform, allowing viewers to stream content from any source.
That’s where Seebo comes in. Ours is an entirely open platform that views all content sources as equal. Viewers can watch on demand content from mainstream broadcasters, YouTube, an independent content producer or an amateur content producer who’s created their own channel.
Seebo is also one of the only technologies that allows ultra-fast streaming – speeding up the entire access process, for a smoother more streamlined TV viewing experience. Viewers can now watch On Demand content via their big screen TV with the click of a button.
And since with Seebo, viewers can jump easily between live TV and On Demand content, as well as having more than one content source running on the same screen – our platform negates the need for second screening.
At Seebo we believe that On Demand will continue to grow. Now that viewers have a taste of accessing On Demand content – they’re no longer going to accept the traditional broadcast model.
Our platform is ideally positioned to take advantage of this growing trend – allowing viewers to enjoy On Demand content on their big screen TV – rather than on a small screen device. We’re ready to give viewers the content THEY want to watch, when and how they want to watch it.
About the author: Patrick Tyers – Sales and Marketing Manager at Seebo Networks
Pat Tyers is a marketing professional whose passion is finding innovative ways to take brands, products and concepts to market. Pat has experience with a wide range of marketing strategies and techniques deployed across different markets and industries. Pat has immersed himself in the entertainment industry, with a particular focus on new innovations in in-home entertainment and the revolution of the humble TV set.