The Power of the Throne Reigns (VOD Trend Spotter)May 09, 2011

The Power of the Throne Reigns (VOD Trend Spotter)

VOD Trend Spotter is a new weekly column where Kendra Anderson explores the most watched TV Series On Demand on Comcast / Xfinity On Demand (The US largest cable on demand provider). Sometimes the trends are obvious; other times, she adds her own spin to the psyche of the time-shifting audience.


The Power of the Throne Reigns (VOD Trend Spotter)
By Kendra Anderson


This Week In TV On Demand
1. Game of Thrones – HBO
2. Survivor: Redemption Island – CBS
3. Bad Girls Club – Oxygen
4. CSI: Crime Scene Investigation – CBS
5. The Office – NBC
6. Blue Bloods – CBS
8. Nurse Jackie – Showtime
9. The Borgias – Showtime
10. Hawaii Five-0 – CBS
Comcast Xfinity and Rentrak On Demand Essentials (Week Ending May 1st, 2011)

·         For the 2nd week in a row, HBO’s “Game of Thrones” rules in first place in On Demand viewing for both HD and SD. The series premiered on April 17th, and since then has claimed sovereignty of #1.
o    Ok, enough with the monarchy metaphors, but, surprisingly, the success of “Game of Thrones” was the only vestige of Royal Wedding Mania to be had this week.  What happened to Middleton Madness? Did everyone just DVR the wedding? – KA
·         For the first time since this column began, Comedy Central fell completely out of the week’s On Demand standings, with neither “Tosh.0” or “South Park,” the network’s go to series, making it into the top 10.
o    Truthfully, I’ve been surprised that both shows have appeared in the Top 10 at all – each has a substantial online following: full, current episodes (South Park Studios) of South Park are available to stream for free, and Comedy Central’s Tosh.0 blog (Link) has tons of extras for fans. Also, the core college dude audience isn’t exactly the type to pay for cable. Still, I’m sorry to see the joy leave America’s TV screens this week. Maybe instead we got our comedic kicks from the White House Correspondents Dinner (Huffington Post). – KA
·         Premium cable had a top shelf week in On Demand series, with HBO and Showtime collecting a total of 40% most watched spots in HD, and 30% in SD. Winning shows were Showtime’s “Nurse Jackie” and “The Borgias,” and, as previously mentioned, HBO’s “Game of Thrones.”
o    This lends credit to recent moves by premium cable to enter the On Demand space, in which they’re playing by their own rules. HBO Go, being called “the Netflix of HBO,” (CinemaBlend) gives subscribing customers access to content on any device, and ostensibly makes the network’s value proposition more attractive to potential customers. Remember, part of the digital arms race is providing audiences with the most premium content, and the best access. HBO has long been known to hold themselves to the highest standards in that department, suggesting “it’s not the other networks, it’s HBO” (Wikipedia). – KA
·         Contrary to what I predicted last week, no other MSOs announced plans to round out On Demand offerings by including content from all four major broadcast networks. So Fox and ABC are still on the sidelines. The two nets did not see any traction in On Demand series viewing, despite the fact that many of their shows are newly available to this audience.
o    Though the initial announcement may have boosted live ratings (TV By the Numbers) for ABC and Fox, many of their most popular shows are not available On Demand, so if we’re measuring popularity, maybe there is nothing to measure.
Why not make these shows available? A recent NY Times article points out that some popular series are not offered On Demand because networks never negotiated these rights with production studios, likely out of concern for a potential loss in ad revenue…and underscoring the fact that cable companies are pretty much freaking out right now as they face fierce competition from all things broadband and the dreaded Cord Cutters (GigaOM).  – KA
·         And in professional fighting news, WWE released its first quarter results (WWE Press Release) this week, showing revenues in the Classics On Demand category are down to $1.1 million, compared with $1.3 million during the same quarter last year. The decline is attributed to fewer domestic subscribers.
o    First of all, wow. Do that many people really watch bulging, muscled pros duke it out whilst vegging on the couch with a bowl of popcorn? Every quarter? Research shows: “WWE is committed to family-friendly, PG content across all of its platforms,” (WWE Corporate) so maybe the answer to my question is YES.

- Kendra Anderson


Kenda Anderson
Kendra T. Anderson is a digital strategist specializing in social media and marketing, with an emphasis on independent film and branded content. She has worked with Cinetic Media, Magnolia Pictures and Focus Features, and now helps brands build digital and social communication strategies. Read more from Kendra on her blog and tweet Kendra @ktwanderson


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