VOD is new enough that when usage numbers are released we listen intently. The latest: Comcast chief Brian Roberts says the MSO is seeing an avg of 50mln on-demand downloads/month, 60% accessed via SVOD, with 10% racked up on an individual transactional basis. Those numbers are expected to get even better next year, but " ’06 is where the fun is going to come," vp for product and biz dev Steve Heeb told the assembled at IRG Research’s TV On-Demand Summit. His boss’ prediction of 1bln VOD downloads for ’06 sounds like a veritable barrel of monkeys for Comcast shareholders. — Still, in a panel on VOD’s profitability, CNBC market analyst Jim Cramer called on-demand a fabulous story that doesn’t "add up to anything." But Arroyo pres/CEO Kim Kelly shot back, saying the Street has bought the DBS/telco hype. "Look, every 2nd comer is going to get 30% of the marketplace, no matter how inferior the product." And while Comcast vp, digital TV Mark Hess said the VOD business model still needs tinkering, offering a 30% split of free on- demand —a tactic also embraced by Time Warner Cable—seems to be "priming the pump" for consumers. "This is not a science project," Hess said. "The platform’s there … let’s take advantage of it." — Fit to Print: While Cramer played devil’s advocate, he ended the session with a tepid endorsement, saying he felt "much better" about VOD’s potential for profitability after moderating the panel. He reiterated that cable stocks are seriously undervalued.

The Daily


FCC Expands Purview of Diversity Committee

The FCC is expanding the focus of its Advisory Committee for Diversity and Digital Empowerment, charging it with reviewing critical diversity and

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