Tension filled the room -- commercials would soon be upon us.
What would happen the very first time we tried to hit the fast-forward button? What we expected: a message from DirecTV essentially waving a Dikembe Mutombo finger at us: “Program can’t be fast-forwarded.”
“No big deal,” said my wife.
The first commercial during the USA Network sitcom “Playing House”? A promo for the new USA drama “Satisfaction,” which felt like a digital pre-roll. Then we cruised through the program. The next commercial break? One promo for the USA show “Graceland.” Then back to the action, until the episode ended.
“That’s it?” I asked.
We tried another episode, which featured much of the same, this time promos for USA’s “Royal Pains” and “Suits.” Then we moved on to NBC – the bigger network of USA’s mothership NBCUniversal -- for a new comedy “Welcome to Sweden.” No real commercials ran during that either, just one or two promos and a public service announcement.
Overall, it was a great experience. Some interruptions occurred, but certainly not the heavy-duty kind.
These VOD services are supposed to be the big savior of traditional television, so why aren’t more marketers using them to sell Acuras, car insurance, or mobile services? While pay VOD services are growing, the content and big-time marketing messaging are uneven.
A recent survey by the Leichtman Research Group showed that 61% of all cable subscribers have used VOD services, which are now in around 65% of U.S. TV homes.
This isn’t enough of a footprint for many national advertisers. But you can see the opportunity in lots of premium TV inventory where messaging cannot be overlooked.
However, many national advertisers have headed to premium show content on Hulu or other Internet-delivered ad-supported video platforms.
To do this column, I went back to some of the VOD programs and breaks my wife and I had previously watched. Then I got frustrated. Why? I tried to fast-forward through the shows to get to the commercial breaks.
C’mon, networks and marketers. I’m here for you.