The future of Video on Demand? More variety in ads, and having to sit through them no matter what

the future of video on demand more variety in ads and having to sit through them no matter what comcastExpect the way that ads appear in Video On Demand content to evolve dramatically over the next few months. Shifts in technology from “dynamically inserting” ads to ensuring that viewers don’t have the ability to fast-forward through advertisements will change the way that ads and VoD content mix, according to Comcast executives, leading to what they’re calling a “hockey stick jump” in ad revenue from the service.

“We have 400 million monthly VoD views on Comcast. I’d love to have a dollar for every view,” said Comcast Spotlight’s West regional vice president of integrated media sales Chip Meehan during an appearance on a panel at the Multichannel News/Broadcasting & Cable fourth annual On Demand Summit yesterday. Meehan predicts a “tenfold” uptick in ad impressions on VoD content for Comcast over the next twelve months, adding that the carrier is already working on deals with content providers to increase the amount of free and paid programming Comcast offers on the service (The carrier has already signed a deal with Disney, and is working on additional partnerships already. “Once the first couple of them are figured out you can assume the rest will follow. If Comcast and Disney can figure it out you can assume we’ll figure it out with others,” he reportedly said).

Part of the way VoD is growing is through the ability to switch up which ads are shown to viewers; using “dynamically inserted ads,” VoD users won’t have to see the same one commercial every single time an ad break appears, which – according to Scott Criley, director of new media at Harris’s Broadcast Communications division – changes things greatly. Whereas earlier VoD ad attempts were, in his words, “a painful experience, because you would see the same ad over and over again,” causing viewers to “abandon halfway through,” offering DAI through VoD creates a more familiar, less repetitive experience. “Now the ad mix you see are more like linear TV,” he said.

That’s something that’ll appeal to viewers, advertisers and content providers, but it’s not enough to ensure the uptick in ad revenue for Comcast; that’s why they’ve also disabled the “trick-play” (fast-forward) capability for a lot of their VoD content. Somewhat surprisingly, says Meehan, “we’re not seeing a decrease in views for VOD with trick-play disabled.”

Making VoD ads work financially is a big deal for Comcast, and with good reason. As Meehan explained during the panel, around 80 percent of Comcast’s current 400 million monthly VoD views belong to free content. If even just half of those views come from cable programmers, then that’s still 160 million views each month – managing to monetize ad sales for those types of numbers (especially with the ability to promise that viewers will have to sit through the ads) could be a very welcome additional revenue stream for the company. Or, as Meehan said, citing the 160 million monthly viewer figure, “That times 40 bucks starts to be a pretty big business.”

Mobile

5G your old phone: HTC’s 5G Hub is now available for pre-order from Sprint

HTC almost made a phone. The HTC 5G Hub runs Android 9 Pie, has a Qualcomm 855 processor with the X50 modem, 4GB of RAM, and an HD touchscreen -- but it's a hot spot designed to connect to 5G networks.
Smart Home

Sale at Microsoft Store knocks 20% off Samsung SmartThings devices

Looking to make your home even smarter? Samsung SmartThings is the electronics manufacturer's smart home hub, sensor, and most recently a decent mesh Wi-Fi router system, and everything's on sale for 20% off at the Microsoft Store at the…
Smart Home

Amazon drops price of Panasonic’s Beard and Body Trimmer by a whopping 40%

Amazon is offering a 40% off deal on Panasonic's ER-GB80-S beard and body trimmer, which boasts stainless steel blades -- perfect for those with allergies -- set at a 45-degree angle to ensure the best cut.
Deals

The best Amazon Prime Day 2019 deals: Everything you need to know

Amazon Prime Day 2019 is still a few months off, but it's never too early to start preparing. We've been taking a look at the best discounts from previous Prime Days to give you our predictions of what to expect this year.
Smart Home

Nest Hello vs. Ring Video Doorbell Pro: Which is better for you?

Video doorbells provide added peace of mind. You can catch porch pirates in the act, your kids throwing a party, or a prowler roaming around your driveway. We compare two video doorbells: The Nest Hello vs. The Ring Video Doorbell Pro.
News

Kwikset’s second-generation deadbolts get smarter and safer

Kwikset introduced the second generation of its Signature Series Deadbolt with Home Connect locks, which feature a more compact design and an improved chipset that offers over-the-air security updates.
Smart Home

Cleanyst imagines a new mix-at-home paradigm for cleaning products

Cleanyst is a home-mixing system that combines pre-manufactured pouches with your at-home water to create all kinds of cleaning products via an eco-friendly home device that eventually pays for itself.
Music

B&H bundles Bose SoundTouch 10 and Amazon Echo Dot in smart speaker deal

The Amazon Echo Dot and the Bose SoundTouch 10 Wireless Music System are some of the best smart speakers in the game. Save $50 at B&H when you bundle both together, and upgrade your audio experience today.
Deals

Looking for a smart speaker? Grab the first-generation Echo Show for only $90

Looking for a video-enabled Alexa device, but those high price tags scare you? If you don't mind the less sleek look of the first generation Echo Show, then Woot's latest electronics deal is one you don't want to miss: they're brand new…
Smart Home

Grab a free upright vac to go with your Shark Ion robot vacuum

For those who haven't started spring cleaning, Shark's latest vacuum deal lets shoppers get hands on an ION Robot Vacuum and a regular vacuum too.
Smart Home

Cool a room, not the whole house, with these portable air conditioners

Portable air conditioners are perfect for cooling down enclosed spaces or dealing with high-humidity situations. Here are the best portable air conditioners and coolers around for dealing with uncomfortable heat quickly.
Smart Home

No handyman skills? No problem. Learn how to install a Ring Doorbell here

While removing your old doorbell and installing a new one may seem intimidating. Don't be concerned about your handyman skills. The Ring Video Doorbell 2 has a streamlined installation process that anyone can do in under 30 minutes.
Smart Home

Walmart vs. Amazon: Which has better prices, shipping, and customer service?

Both Walmart and Amazon have their good points and bad, and we compare the two online retailers side-by-side. Where's the better place to shop online, Amazon or Walmart? Let's find out.
Smart Home

It’s time for you to stop using dryer sheets. Here’s why

Dryer sheets might make your clothes feel softer and smell nicer, but there's a downside to using them. They reduce the absorbency of your towels, disable the wicking capabilities of activewear, and cause lint buildup.