TV Shifts To Playback Model, VOD Offers Ad Potential

Modern-Family-CBS has seen a surge in recent video-on-demand viewing, according to the network's chief research officer David Poltrack.

Speaking at the UBS Global Media and Communications Conference, Poltrack says CBS got 70 million VOD views this fall  -- a 19% rise -- versus the same period a year before.  Because VOD is primarily a TV experience, and consumers accept advertising on VOD, Poltrack believes "VOD remains a advertising medium of great potential."

Today, he says all of TV has shifted to a playback mode -- where total playback exceeds the live airing of TV programs. But overall, the pace is slowing down. While DVR technology is now in 44% of TV homes, overall time-shifting was up 8% in TV homes and 6% for younger viewers. This is down from a double-digit pace at the same time a year ago.

Looking a specific time shifting, Poltrack says "



" now gets more than half of its viewers from time-shifting versus its live airing. "Family" gets 8 million time-shifting viewers, while its live airing is around 10 million. CBS' "NCIS" gets 5 million total viewers and around 17 million viewers overall.

Poltrack says CBS got 7.5 million full program views on and the CBS Audience Network during the first premiere week. Its unique viewers during that period were up 50%.

CBS now places 10 to 14 commercials in its online programs -- much higher than when it started years ago, due to consumer acceptance of more advertising. For all its online video content, CBS gets a 96% completion rate, which Poltrack says is easily the highest among its competitors.

As result of this and higher online cost-per -thousand viewers, Poltrack says "the online viewer is surpassing the value of a live viewer. This is a significant tipping point."

Overall, Poltrack estimates advertising revenue for broadcast networks will see a decent rise in 2012 -- not entirely due to the typical spikes from expected from Olympic and big political hikes that occur every two years. Broadcast sales would be up 5%, he says, partly due to a pickup in the economy.

There has been slowing and/or erosion of some top cable networks, which he believes means that broadcasters will begin to win back some of the $1.6 billion in ad dollars he estimates have migrated to cable.

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