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xOD Capsule Februrary 13, 2008

Tue, 02/12/2008 - 7:00pm
Michael Robuck, Senior Editor, CED
   February 13, 2008

Peer 2 Peer

Comcast VOD comes of age
I can unequivocally write that video on-demand (VOD) has improved my quality of life.

Living in a rural area of Colorado, I'm no doubt late to the VOD bandwagon; and while we've had the service in our home for several years now, it's only lately that I have begun to truly appreciate VOD's life-changing qualities.

We have a 2-year-old daughter who our 6-year-old son has, with malice, nicknamed "Godzilla" for her ability to wreak havoc throughout the entire house. Young Rachel isn't content to play with dolls or other pastoral activities. Instead, she must open every drawer, dump every container, tear apart every sticky note and excavate the litter box with a serving spoon.

But the one thing that can slow down the destroyer of worlds is "Barney and Friends" on VOD. (And before you rush to judgment on the merits of the purple dinosaur, sit down and watch an episode of "Boohbah." (http://www.boohbah.com) Barney is the methadone to the crack that was Boohbah in our household.)

When Rachel sits in front of the TV to drink up Barney in on-demand mode, I have time to find my car keys, eat breakfast and brush my teeth before taking her to daycare. Anyone who has kids knows that the above truly represent quality of life improvements when compared with chasing a kid throughout the house. (By the time one thing is cleaned up, the next mess is in full-swing.)

But I'm relieved to find out that I'm not alone when it comes to using VOD as a babysitter.

Derek Harrar, Comcast's SVP and GM of video services, told me that his wife does the same thing with their two young daughters, and that they enjoy watching children's yoga on VOD.

In fact, free children's programming trails only free movies and music videos in terms of usage among Comcast's VOD users.

"We have about 1,000 children's shows on in any given month," Harrar said. "It's the No. 3 usage category, so to me that's a clear indicator that we're well beyond the early adopter phase."

Comcast passed the six million view mark in November with its VOD service, which was launched in 2003. Currently, there are about 275 million views per month across the various categories in Comcast's VOD tier, with customers hitting the play button 100 times per second.

Comcast CEO Brian Roberts outlined the company's VOD vision, which is called Project Infinity, last month at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas (story here). In a nutshell, Comcast is betting that the future of TV is on-demand viewing, and to that end, it expects to have 6,000 movie titles per month in its movie library within the next 12 to 18 months, with half of those in high-definition (HD).

Comcast plans to offer more than 1,000 HD movies, TV shows and other viewing choices monthly by the end of the year, along with making more television network programming available in HD.

Currently, Comcast has more than 10,000 titles available for on-demand viewing each month, with 90 percent of those titles available for free. Harrar said that between 90 percent and 95 percent of the 10,000 titles are viewed each month.

"Our customers are diving deep into the menu system and discovering some relatively obscure content that is pretty deep in the (long) tail of usage," he said. "Frankly, what's most interesting to me is the children's programming. My wife and I have two young daughters, and whenever my wife wants peace and quiet, she starts a show."

Who says you can't buy peace of mind?

  — Michael Robuck, Senior Editor, CED


 Harmonic Proven Technology 

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Cablevision shrinks VOD window for movies
By Mike Robuck

Cablevision has struck a deal that will allow the MSO to deliver some VOD movies on the same day that the movies are available on DVD. Continue

Comcast adds more choices, quicker availability to VOD platform
By Mike Robuck

Following the announcement by Cablevision that it will start offering some movies in its VOD tier on the same day the DVDs hit retail stores, Comcast said it is following suit. Continue

U.S. Internet TV viewers on the rise
By Traci Patterson

About 43 percent of the U.S. online population - nearly 80 million people - has watched a television show on the Internet, according to a Solutions Research Group tracking study. Continue

Cisco showing off mobile apps at Mobile World Congress
By Traci Patterson

Cisco is teaming with a number of companies to showcase applications and services, including the DVB-H Mobile TV solution; also being shown is Three-Screen Video. Continue

Moto debuts mobile TV device at Mobile World Congress
By Traci Patterson

Motorola's pocket-sized Mobile TV DH01n combines a personal media player with advanced navigation capabilities. Continue

NDS has host of demos for Mobile World Congress
By Mike Robuck

NDS has a full slate of mobile TV-related offerings to present at the conference in Barcelona, Spain. Continue

NDS integrates with Quantum for secure mobile viewing
By Mike Robuck

NDS and Quantum announced the integration of NDS' VideoGuard Mobile content protection system for DVB-H with Quantum's Pocket TV portable media player. Continue


 CED Webcast Series Thursday, February 28, 2008 

Push it

DirecTV, TNS join forces on audience measurement service
By Mike Robuck

DirecTV has hooked up with TNS Media Research to develop an audience measurement tool, which DirecTV said will be the largest national audience measurement panel ever. Continue

CBS signs up for TiVo's data service
By Brian Santo

CBS has signed up for TiVo's Stop||Watch service, which taps the TiVo DVR's ability to measure program and commercial ratings for both live and time-shifted viewing. Continue

Yahoo snatches Maven for $160M
By Brian Santo

Yahoo has acquired Maven Networks, a specialist in video-based advertising on the Web, for approximately $160 million. Continue

OpenTV's EclipsePlus ad platform ready for beta testing
By Mike Robuck

OpenTV's new advertising campaign platform is now available for testing by cable, satellite and telco operators. Continue

Coalition backs NAB mobile study
By Mike Robuck

The Open Mobile Video Coalition has endorsed the results of a study conducted by the National Association of Broadcasters that identified potential advertising revenues that would be generated by mobile digital TV services. Continue

AOL acquires widget-maker Goowy Media
By Traci Patterson

AOL has acquired Goowy Media, a widget development and analytics tools company based in San Diego. Continue

Heard on the 'Net

• Chinese government clarifies online video rules, reported by the Bangkok Post.

• New Mobile Advertising Alliance launched, reported by EFYtimes.com.

Company: Rentrak Corp. 
Headquarters: Portland, Ore.
CEO: Paul A. Rosenbaum
URL: www.rentrak.com

Claim to fame: Rentrak is an information management company, and its advanced technology allows industry decision-makers to gather, interpret and use their performance and consumption data to create results.

Recent news of note: Eight MSOs have signed on the dotted line to use Rentrak's VOD platform measurement system: BendBroadband, Blue Ridge Cable, Buckeye Cablevision, Eatel, Entouch Communications, GVTC, Massillon Cable and Metrocast. Rentrak has now signed up all but four of the NCTA's Top 25 operators with VOD offerings.


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