State Of VOD: 6.9 Percent Of UK TV Viewing, Nascent Monetisation

Today’s Thinkbox Q1 report showing increasing TV viewing must be paused over for two reasons (first, results are skewed by changes in the data collection method; second, it’s compiled by TV’s own metrics agency for a body that exists to pump up TV’s credentials to advertisers).

But, beneath the top line (that weekly telly viewing has increased from 2 hours 29 minutes to 3 hours 4 minutes since last year), the research at least begins to quantify the scale of UK VOD views for us…

6.9 percent of UK TV viewing is now time-shifted.

— In homes with PVRs (eg. Sky+, Freeview+, V+), that rises to 13.7 percent.

(Methodology for the research by BARB is not detailed in the announcement, but it accounts for viewing only on proper TVs, not other devices, so total VOD viewing is likely higher).

Thinkbox wastes no time saying that commercial TV viewing has risen by over an hour a week since last year to 18 hours 29 minutes. But it overlooks one problem – while more people may be watching commercial TV on-demand, they can then skip the commercials contained within.

Also today, Virgin Media (NSDQ: VMED) released the latest in its continuing line of stats trumpeting its VOD success. Its cable TV services – which, unlike Sky’s Sky+ PVR, give viewers a full, readymade selection of VOD without having to schedule their own recordings – clocked 200 million views during Q1, not including its own V+ PVR.

Virgin likes putting out the stats, which show genuine growing UK VOD appetite, to woo advertisers. So how’s it faring on monetising on-demand? So far, it’s only selling ads against its own, VMtv channels – Living, Bravo and Virgin1 – and only to one agency, Aegis, on an exclusive basis.

Virgin Media won’t tell paidContent:UK how much money it’s making this way, citing commercial sensitivity. But consumption is going great guns – 50 million Q1 iPlayer views, 19 million for 4oD and 6 million for ITV (LSE: ITV) Player’s Coronation Street. Some 58 percent of Virgin Media TV customers are now using its VOD services.