CNN.com to Start VOD Strategy June 20

May 16, 2005  •  Post A Comment

CNN.com’s long-awaited new video-on-demand strategy will start June 20, when the Web site joins its competitors in offering free advertiser-supported video-on-demand. The second stage of the strategy, which is scheduled for fall, will involve an array of new subscription services and options that CNN News Services Executive VP Susan Grant is not ready to discuss.

The all-news network set a precedent by offering free video on its Web site in 1995, but it 2002, CNN began charging for all video.

However, “the cost of distributing video had prevented it from being a business” until now, when the cost of bandwidth, the biggest item in the VOD budget, “has markedly decreased” and CNN has become “more cost-efficient in how we service it,” Ms. Grant said.

The free video service will be advertiser-supported with lead-in and lead-out spots for sale.

“I hope our timing is good,” Ms. Grant said.

A Fox News Channel spokesman said the amount of video offered on Foxnews.com, all for free with multiple spots for advertising, has tripled in the past year. Now, he said, there are about 60 pieces of video rotating on the Web site each day. In addition, users by the hundreds of thousands have availed themselves of live streaming video coverage of events such as the announcement of the choice of Pope Benedictine to succeed Pope John Paul II last month.

MSNBC.com also offers all its video for free. A spokeswoman said MSNBC.com was the first, in 1998, to stream live news events and breaking news.

In addition to the free video to become available this summer, the revamped CNN.com intends to offer Web-site-exclusive two-minute newscasts every hour to deliver updates and breaking news.