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Tweaking the Message Of Video on Demand

1/27/2008 7:00 PM Eastern

TVN Entertainment will launch a new application within its video-on-demand asset-management suite that will let affiliates update messaging to strengthen the call-to-buy for a pay-per-view title, or perhaps experiment with price points during a title's PPV window.

The interactive tool, iPRI, will allow content rights holders to negotiate business rules for a piece of content with cable and satellite operators. For instance, if a PPV title among an operator's current offerings is nominated for an award such as the Golden Globes or Academy Awards, the operator could alter the consumer-facing information to reflect that nomination.

An operator could choose to create an “awards folder” on the main PPV menu on the day of the nominations, for instance. Currently, changes can take more than a month.

RECHARGES TITLES

The tool could also be used for pricing experiments or to attempt to boost sales rates on a flagging title by altering its marketing information.

“Historically, it's been hard to get marketing executives outside the studios to get engaged. They couldn't try tactics,” said TVN senior vice president of strategy and business development Matthew Cohen. “With this tool, [local executives] can move from being a planner to being a programmer and marketer.”

Chief operating officer Douglas Sylvester added that TVN has been experimenting with the tool, and sharing results with affiliates.

For example, iPRI enabled TVN partners to move content nearing the end of its window of availability into a “last chance” folder. That reminded consumers they had a short time to buy the movie and resulted in a “boon to sales,” he said.

Operators, with the consent of rights holders, could experiment with price points to try to reverse the “decay curve” of a title, Cohen suggested, perhaps by offering a more attractive price point at the end of a title's availability to get resisters to buy before it disappears. Changes in metadata could be made throughout an operator's system, or system by system, giving a provider the opportunity to employ different marketing tactics for the same title.

TVN can track buys and give operators weekly feedback, so if changes in metadata do not achieve the desired results, operators have the time to alter messaging again during the window.

RESULTS AT BEND

The tool includes an intuitive Web-based dashboard interface, and is available without extra charge to users of the provider's Adoniss2 asset-management and distribution platform.

Initial adopters of the tool include operators Mediacom Communications and Bend Broadband, as well as and Lionsgate Entertainment, distributor of such titles as 3:10 to Yuma and Tyler Perry's Daddy's Little Girls.

Bend Broadband has already used the tool to test free on-demand content to determine the most effective menu categories for various programs, and to see how menu mapping relates to better viewership.

John Farwell, vice president of operations for Bend Broadband, noted in a statement that systems are very sensitive to changes in VOD delivery that might impact usage. But the trial increased the use of VOD with no negative effects on the platform. Because of that, he said, Bend will expand its use of the tool this year.

 

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April