5Qs with Matthew Strauss, svp, new media, Comcast Cable
VOD seems like old cable news, but you obviously feel the platform has legs and should continue to modernize. Why? We’re just scratching the surface with the potential of this platform. Our goal with Project Infinity is to, over time, make every movie, TV show and video available on demand. No genre is too niche. What genres are most popular on the platform? Traditionally movies, music and kids programming tend to be popular genres on VOD. We’ve also had real success with our Select On Demand package of original content that we developed. Last year, Select programming generated over 225 million on demand views. How are advertisers embracing the VOD space? Advertisers are recognizing the opportunities that this relatively uncluttered environment provides. Several major sponsors have already started placing a wide range of ads, including traditional pre/post rolls, as well as graphic overlays and original content with product placement. Our Spotlight ad sales division has also been successful in deploying Searchlight, which includes local on demand classifieds and real estate listings. As we test and deploy dynamic ad insertion, the opportunities for targeted ads and metrics will only grow. How is Comcast engendering VOD interactivity? We are trialing various interactive applications, including voting, polling, playlists. As we continue to integrate our video, voice and data products, our goal is to have all the platforms work together in a cohesive and seamless way that truly enhances the viewing experience. For example, a customer should be able to watch their favorite show on a linear channel, then trigger a menu to choose last week’s episode from VOD, or pull trivia clips or cast information from their favorite network’s Website. How is Comcast preparing for increasing online video usage? Fancast [is] the first online destination where users can view an expanding library of free full episodes and clips from top networks and movie partners, find the content they are looking for across multiple platforms and create a personalized entertainment experience. Fancast will evolve to become the portal for a Comcast subscriber to control their cross-platform viewing and search experience. From linear, VOD, DVR to portable devices and online content—if you’re a Comcast customer, we’re going to give you what you want to watch, when and where you want to watch it.