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April 26, 2007
VOD Confronts Hurdles

Change may not come quickly, according to Brian Wieser of MAGNA Global, who moderated "The On-Demand Universe" panel at ad:tech San Francisco, but as consumers continue to turn to video-on-demand offerings, the VOD industry will have to mature. But what will put VOD over the edge, Wieser asked the panel?

Warren Schlichting, vice president of Comcast Spotlight, answered Wieser's question by touting the virtues of VOD for consumers.

"Once we are able to offer consumers everything through our VOD that they can get elsewhere, I think consumers will rapidly adopt the format," Schlichting said. "The convenience of VOD is what consumers want."

Bob Martin, vice president of Universal McCann, disagreed slightly, saying that VOD needed to set itself apart from the pack by offering consumers something they can only get on VOD.

"There needs to be a unique, incremental value for VOD to succeed," Martin said, adding that selling VOD ads in addition to traditional TV buys is a better way to push the format with advertisers.

"The way you get in the door with VOD is to think about ads the way brands are buying and selling ads for TV now," he said. "You have that conversation about a traditional TV buy and you add in VOD."

George Ehinger, vice president of Revision3, said creating ad-supported programming presents a unique problem for VOD because the format differs from print, TV and internet.

"VOD audiences just won't accept interruption of content, whereas internet built itself on the print model of ads placed adjacent to content," Ehinger said.

Aaron Radin, vice president of business development at CBS, said one nagging problem for VOD is that the format lacks a standardized way to sponsor programming efficiently.

Martin seconded that sentiment, adding that improved metrics for VOD will need to be developed to make the format more viable for advertisers.
"Demographic data is way behind for VOD," he said.


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