Free Samples

I used to work for a couple of broadcasters when the Internet became a big thing (you’ve heard of it, right?) When we used to talk about putting content on the web we’d always say video would not be among it. At first it was because the quality would be so terrible that no one would watch it. Then the pipes got fatter, processors got faster, and the discussion changed to shredding the ratings. The fear was that if we gave users control over what they watched and when they watched it we’d destroy our audiences and revenue. Turns out not so much.
There’s a report out today about a new study conducted by the Magid folks for Avail-TVN.  Simply put:

nearly two-thirds of consumers (63 percent)  say that availability of television program episodes on-demand make them more likely to watch those television shows on a regular basis. The data shows that availability of free television programs on demand increases loyalty, helps consumers discover new shows, and actually increases viewing when shows air live.

Imagine that.  Now, the study was conducted about VOD (generally something that the distributors – cable and satellite guys – control) but I think like most other things this is a channel-agnostic conclusion.   The fears we had were groundless and they extended to DVR‘s as well as to other time- and channel-shifted distribution.

Customers – users, viewers – call them what you will – are incredibly time-challenged.  Turns out, by the way, they’re just like those of us making these decisions.  Not many folks are able to invest the time in discovering a new show or series unless they can do so on their own time.  If it’s worth their while, they make time.  After all, why do you think they give out food samples at the entrance to the food court (you’ve all been to the mall lately, I’m sure)?  The competition is high, and if you’re not a brand name you’re liable to get passed over unless you go to the users.  Expecting them to come to you is no longer a realistic thing.

What are you sampling these days?  Discover anything new that we might have missed?

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Filed under digital media, Reality checks

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