Consumers Prefer Ads To VOD Charges

According to a new survey, TV programmers hoping for a windfall from consumers paying for video-on-demand content may want to rethink their business models. The survey, conducted last month by market research firm Synovate on behalf of Publicis Groupe’s MediaVest, shows that consumers would prefer not to pay for VOD content, even if it means putting up with some commercial time in exchange for the free content.

Two-thirds of the respondents said they would prefer to see “their favorite program through VOD for free,” rather than pay even a small fee, and they would tolerate a full load of TV ads for the privilege.

And if VOD program suppliers were to limit the spot load to three ads per show, 82 percent of the respondents said they would prefer an ad- supported VOD model.

“A lot of people think the VOD world means the end of advertising,” said Jim Kite, MediaVest’s evp, director of insights, research and accountability. “But when we ask [consumers], they’re prepared to see advertising.”

The VOD programming landscape remains underdeveloped because producers and networks continue to haggle over the value of shows on the VOD platform and how much viewers are willing to pay. Kite says they are missing the point: “They should not look too much past how things are done at the moment, but adapt to how the TV is used in the VOD environment.”

The research also shows that viewers are more engaged in VOD than regular ad-supported fare: 75 percent of the respondents said they do less channel-surfing while watching VOD, and 43 percent claimed not to leave the room or multitask.

Synovate questioned a total of 1,008 online respondents last month for the survey. The sample included 600 who had used VOD in the last month, 208 who have VOD and DVR, and 200 who have access to cable VOD but have not used it.