All VOD all the time?

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In All VOD, All the Time, Tom Steinert-Threlkeld writes about Jeff Bewkes’ desire to forestall the DVR by offering everything via VOD, making the cable system a virtual DVR.

But Bewkes wants to control viewers through his method, which won’t work well. His primary concern is to preserve the existing ad based economic model, and he believes cable can build these systems easily and leave satellite out of the running for customers, while having several years advantage waiting for Telco buildout nationwide. I agree with the latter.

Bewkes is wrong to want to cripple FF; people want that feature to save time watching content so they can watch more content. Offering commercials that are dynamically targeted temporally and individually to viewers can enhance the commercial based business model, even without changing the existing contractual relationships. People will want to see these ads and even when FF’ing they will pick up the gist.

There is a better way:

Combine the DVR and VOD. All Download on Demand (DOD) all the time. Much better end user functionality; less burden on the network to transmit content (content is transmitted only once over network – trick play occurs on DVR.) Ads can be dynamically replaced depending on original download time and updated depending on viewing time; ads can be targeted to household, not neighborhood.

All digital HD DVRs could be made relatively cheaply in the next couple of years. They wouldn’t need two tuners to avoid recording conflicts in a DOD world. They would  just need to write a stream of bits off one tuner to the hard drive as content is released (ala TiVo Season Pass) or the viewer requests it. Eventually, IP based HD DVRs could eliminate even the tuner and act like a DOCSIS 3.0 modem, and solid state memory based DVRs could reduce manufacturing costs as well.

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