Reaction To NBC & CBS VOD Deals

For one, I was interviewed on two NPR shows today: Marketplace (for the business angle) and All Things Considered (for the consumer angle). The news of CBS and NBC making deals on the VOD side is creating a stir in the industry, if not yet on the consumer side. Some reaction:

Josh Bernoff and Jim Nail, Forrester: Ad-supported on-demand programs are next…Just as advertising supports live TV, we also expect it to support on-demand programs–perhaps with a single sponsor per program, especially once consumers can click on ads to see more. Within 12 months, look for free on-demand programs to debut on Comcast, with ads sold by both Comcast and its network suppliers.

– Craig Moffett, analyst, Sanford C. Bernstein: Time and channel grids will increasingly be replaced by Google-like searches. The paradigm for the TV interface will shift from “browse” to “search.” VOD is the foundation of this transition from browse to search. VOD has been touted for years, but is now gaining traction, with Comcast taking the most aggressive posture. Two key stumbling blocks to the transition are new user interfaces, and new VOD advertising technologies. Rapid progress is being made on both fronts.

Les Moonves, BCS: Moonves thinks some affiliates will get the need to shake things up with VOD, while others will no doubt be opposed. He predicted the CBS arrangement with Comcast will eventually expand to other markets, with many affiliates coming on board. “This is still an experiment,” he said. “What you decide at first is not what you might decide a year from now.”

Jeff Zucker, NBC: He said NBC informed its affiliate board of the deal, and that while the relationship with affiliates is still “incredibly important,” broadcasters risk being “left behind” if they “stick our head in the sand and don’t acknowledge the way people are watching TV is changing.”

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