Video-on-demand, as offered by cable and satellite providers, is now available in 60% of US households, according to Nielsen’s latest cross-platform report, released widely on Monday. That’s up from just 37% in 2008.

While on-demand technology long has been available, it hasn’t always been in demand, the report states.

“Consumers initially found the interface difficult to use, and program distributors were wary of delivering content when the audience couldn’t be measured, and therefore outside of their window of monetization. Because of these issues, VOD options for the consumer were often limited to old shows or past seasons of shows,” the report said.

VOD is mostly used to watch movies, with 52% of VOD usage attributable to that (see infographic above, with data provided by Nielsen). Nearly 30% of VOD usage allows people to catch up on their favorite dramas. From there, VOD usage drops off quite a bit when it comes to all other TV genres.

Meanwhile, digital video recorders (DVRs) are now in 50% of homes, meaning that they are not in the other 50% of homes, according to Nielsen. That’s why cable- and satellite-delivered VOD services may be becoming more popular: in many homes without DVRs, it’s another way to catch up on missed episodes of shows. Moreover, with catch-up viewing increasingly the norm, TV networks are far more willing to make popular series available on VOD services.

Nielsen also is able to measure and include ratings for shows included on on-demand platforms as long as they are watched within three days of the original broadcast, and include the same commercial load as the network version.

Brief Take: VOD is another way for viewers to catch up on shows that they missed, and networks are increasingly finding that allowing fans to do that means bigger overall audiences for shows.

Read More: Los Angeles Times


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