For TV consumers, there are more digital options for entertainment than ever before. Those options are often confused, though; figuring them out often requires detective work. Is a lack of
entertainment marketing to blame?
Last week, for example, cable operators Comcast and Cox Communications said they will make the hit vampire movie "Twilight" available on their video-on-demand on Saturday, Mar. 21, the same day the movie is released on DVD.
Meanwhile, the previously physical DVD rental companies -- Netflix and Blockbuster Video, for example -- have already moved in the other direction, beginning to allow consumers electronic access to their libraries of DVDs.
There's still haziness here. Not everyone can get Netflix electronically -- you need TiVo, an Xbox, or a Blu-ray DVD. With Blockbuster Video, you need a special digital video player unit. Then again, not everyone has Comcast's or Cox's VOD services.
You can't blame media players -- including content owners -- for wanting their share of the retail business. The industry used to talk about "windows," as in cable or syndication TV windows. But, as we all know, these panes are cracking all the time.
Now, more than ever, we hear about a blue-sky future where consumers can get entertainment on an anytime, anywhere basis, using whatever device they want. But in truth, we aren't exactly there yet.
How easy is it for viewers who might want to see a rerun -- on traditional TV, the Internet, or other places -- of a fishing program on The Outdoor Channel, or a wedding show on Oxygen, or an ultimate fighting match on Versus? TV viewer/users are most times left to their own devices, so to speak, in hunting down that special program.
For marketers it can be challenging as well. Want to get a 360-degree campaign around one piece of
content? Content owners can get you that -- but will they bring all potential customers with them?
New digital technology is delivering a "wow" factor. But until we get to a real one-step, easy electronic future, there is definitely more entertainment marketing to be done.