Cable VOD leads user uptake

Michelle Clancy | 01-10-2012

When it comes to transactional video on demand (VOD), cord-cutting traditional pay-TV in favor of cheaper, online alternatives has become an ever-present hot topic of conversation. But according to new research from the NPD Group, cable companies are U.S. consumers' first choice when they order on-demand movies on a per-use basis.

In fact, the firm found that renting movies a la carte through Internet video on demand (iVOD) is making inroads with only a small (albeit growing) group of consumers.

Led by Comcast in the first half of 2012, 48% of all paid video-on-demand (VOD) movie rentals were generated from cable VOD, NPD said. But other pay-TV segments are getting lucky with VOD too: telco IPTV services, with a 24% rental-order growth rate year-over-year is the fastest growing segment of the VOD market, outpacing even the online transactional VOD growth rate of 15%.

"When it comes to paying for on-demand movies on an a-la-carte basis, cable companies are by far the primary conduit, due in large part to their widespread penetration and usage in Americans' homes," said Russ Crupnick, senior vice president of industry analysis for NPD. "Even as iVOD, and VOD from satellite-media companies and telcos grow in popularity, cable companies continue to dominate the VOD movie rental market."

In the first half of 2012, paid- VOD movie rentals from No. 1 pay-TV provider Comcast represented 23% of the VOD rental market in the United States, followed by satellite TV provider DirectTV at 14%, and Time-Warner Cable at 9%. Apple iTunes's iVOD service comprised 8% of paid video rental transactions, followed by telco company Verizon and satellite TV provider Dish Network at 7% each. AT&T received the best customer ratings across a number of criteria, including site organization, navigation and title availability.

Consumer audience demographics for iVOD movie rentals skew toward tech-savvy early adopters, primarily men (70%). In fact 44% of IVOD movie rental orders were made by men aged 25 to 44, compared to only 21% of cable VOD rental orders.