On-Demand Video Data Reveals Online, Cable Users Go To It Differently

A fledgling video-on-demand service showcased this week during a meeting of the Carat Digital Exchange shed new light on the differing video consumption patterns between conventional TV platforms and online.

Because the service, Gotuit, simultaneously offers the same ad-supported content via cable TV and broadband, the usage data serves as a real-world laboratory for advertisers, agencies and media content owners attempting to understand the impact media platforms have on video usage. But the initial results may raise more questions than they answer.

"Wouldn't it be interesting to find out how people view content on one platform, and do they view that content on the other platform?" Mitch Oscar, executive vice president of Carat Digital and organizer of the Exchange meetings, said--noting that Gotuit's simultaneous reach online and in 600,000 digital cable TV homes on Comcast and Time Warner systems in the Northeast enables that rare glimpse.

But the findings are perplexing. In some cases, Gotuit finds little or no differences in video consumption patterns where executives might otherwise expect them to be. In other cases, Gotuit reveals significant differences across its four on-demand content channels featuring music, news, sports and entertainment.

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For music, for example, there was remarkably little difference in the type of content consumed. Hip Hop music videos were the No. 1 source for both platforms, accounting for 45% of the usage among cable TV users, and 47% among broadband users.

But when it comes to entertainment industry content, patterns are reversed. Two-thirds of the content used by broadband households was movie trailers, with one-third comprised of entertainment industry news. In cable TV households, only a quarter of the content was movie trailers, versus three-quarters for entertainment news.

And while various genres of news content exhibit similar usage patterns between the two platforms, there were some marked differences among sports programming genres. Football coverage was the dominant source in broadband households, accounting for 45% of the sports content consumed by online users. "Cheerleader" content was far and away the most popular source of sports content in cable TV homes, accounting for 76% of all sports content among TV users.

Sports Programming Usage Shares

Football
Broadband 45%
Cable TV 4%


Cheerleaders
Broadband 31%
Cable TV 76%


Extreme Sports
Broadband 10%
Cable TV 7%


Sports News
Broadband 8%
Cable TV 10%


Basketball
Broadband 7%
Cable TV 1%


Lacrosse
Broadband 0%
Cable TV 1%


Source: Gotuit.

Programming genres aside, significant differences could be found in terms of when online and TV users were most likely to access Gotuit's content. The peak day of the week for cable usage was Tuesday (18%), Wednesday (18%) and Saturday (17%). The peak broadband usage was on Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday (16% each).

Not surprisingly, the peak daypart for broadband usage was daytime, when many users are accessing the Internet from work, school or other out-of-home locations. But surprisingly, cable TV usage was high during late night, possibly accounting to the lack of choice from conventional TV channels during the wee hours.

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