Blogged by Sanjay D’Humieres.
The VOD Inquiry was an opportunity for the audience to scrutinise the experts and learn some valuable insights on the VOD market and how it may affect children’s viewing habits in the future. Marc Goodchild led the debate with panellists Farooq Ansari, Cross Platform Executive at Zodiak Active, Andrew Baker MD at Rights TV, Sarah Aspinall from BT Vision, Derren Lawford Head of Programming and Scheduling for the BBC’s Global iPlayer and Russell Miller MD at The Center for International Media.
The BT Vision offer has demonstrated that it can be a credible alternative and competitor to the likes of Netflix, LoveFilm, Sky and Virgin Media. In the later half of 2011, BT Vision was the fastest growing platform and has now over 700,000 customers. Out of 24 million views per month that are requested by viewers, just over 25% are programmes for children who are thought to be watching an average of 60 assets per months which is way more than any adult demographic.
Derren took to the podium to explain the functioning of the Global iPlayer and how his team selects programmes for the BBC’s international public. Instead of using algorithms based on past selections and pre-set preferences, the iPlayer homepage is manually curated providing an even more tailored choice and putting an emphasis on valuable assets that the BBC thinks its audience should be watching. Despite not having being launched in all territories the Global iPlayer already boasts 20 hours of programming available for a small monthly fee on portable devices such as tablets and smartphones.
One of the key questions raised was over IP and how deals should be done with VOD services in the future. Sarah Aspinall is keen to see more partnerships between such platforms and broadcasters as she feels that working together will generate more revenues for all parties in the long-term. Other panellists agreed but also raised the issue that broadcasters were also developing their own services and that partnering with competitors may be increasingly difficult.
Despite the increase in content for children on VOD platforms, linear broadcasting will still remain the main method of consumption in the foreseeable future.