Parks Associates Blog

Friday, April 03, 2009

"Chuck" on VoD ... and I need Hulu because...

My wife and I were both traveling over the past week - me internationally, her domestically. We both missed Chuck on Monday night, March 30. We've both become pretty addicted to this show.

Upon our return, we started playing the episode from the DVR. However, due to some unknown glitch, the program only recorded for 15 minutes. So, I booted up my laptop and we watched the episode from Hulu.

Only after the program finished online did I discover that Chuck has been added to the Verizon FiOS service as a Broadcast Primetime VoD offering. I wish I would have known that beforehand. The Hulu experience is great, but even with a strong Wi-Fi connection at home, the video had its quirks. Watching it on VoD on the TV would have been a much better experience.

With the Cable Show being held in DC this week, there were so many headlines about the cable industry and what to do about online video. Will people cancel their pay TV subscriptions because of it? Answer: no, at least not right now. What does Jeff Bewkes really intend with a "TV Everywhere" concept?

Meanwhile, VoD keeps getting better and better. I can now cancel another program from my DVR recordings, since I've got access to a month's worth of Chuck on-demand. Granted, it looks as though Verizon was given some pretty strict guidelines about how certain NBC content can be viewed in VoD - they have apparently disabled the trick-play modes for this content, meaning no rewinding, fast-forwarding, or pausing. That seems a bit harsh. Hopefully, they'll refine this to allow for trick-play for most of the content - if not the advertising.

It seems like the more primetime VoD that the pay TV operators can put out there, the better off their long-term ability to retain customers and grow revenues through non-linear advertising will be. Sure, they'll have to go to the Web with their programming, but it's not going to happen overnight. Contracts with the content providers will have to be renegotiated to take into account the different business models applied to Web video. In the short-term, though, I can reserve the laptop for the usual Web stuff and rely to a growing degree on my TV for ... TV!

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