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Cox Communications Rolls Out My Primetime

Apr 5, 2009  •  Post A Comment

Cable operator Cox Communications has begun a yearlong campaign to roll out its primetime video-on-demand programming to the rest of its 18 markets. Also, the cabler now is offering shows on VOD from cable networks such as TNT and TBS and primetime programs in high-definition.
Known as My Primetime, the service lets Cox digital customers watch primetime shows from ABC, NBC, TNT, TBS, Cartoon Network and FX on-demand about 12 hours after they air on linear TV.
Cox introduced the service two years ago and has rolled it out in eight markets. Now the operator plans to blanket the additional 10 markets in its footprint with the service this year.
Cox would not disclose the number of views for the service, but My Primetime is one of the most-used VOD options and is a critical component in the cable operator’s overall marketing of VOD because of the popularity of network shows.
“The grand vision for this is to be the destination for day-after watching of programs,” said Denise Myers, director of on-demand marketing at Cox.
The most direct way to reach customers remains through cross-channel spots, she said. “We will collaborate with the networks and create co-branded spots so customers understand we are leveraging the brand they are getting on the linear network.”
For instance, in late January Cox ran cross-channel spots for the return of ABC’s “Lost,” promoting its availability the next day on VOD. The operator also can target by demographic, so if a show appeals to young men it will market the VOD offering on cable channels that reach young men.
The cross-channel spots for VOD promotion aren’t just unsold inventory, said Steve Necessary, VP of strategy and product development at Cox. They’re often strategically placed spots and they drive VOD views, he said. Cross-channel spots and e-mail blasts promoting VOD titles usually lead to a bump in views, he said.
Time Warner said it relies primarily on cross-channel ads as well as out-of-home marketing to promote its VOD service. The operator also set up the Web site www.twondemand.com to enable consumers to see what’s popular in their ZIP code as well as everything that’s offered on VOD.
Over at Cablevision, marketing tactics for its branded VOD channels include interactive banner ads on the program guide, 30-second cross-channel spots that jump to the VOD site, addressable ads and crawls on the Weather Channel.
In general, cable operators are focusing their marketing on the triple play of voice, video and data, with VOD an important element, said Paul Rule, president of VOD research firm Marquest Media & Research.
“Folks in the advanced-services households [we] survey are likely to be the seekers of new technology at good prices. The package deals I see being advertised usually stress digital cable,” he said.
Those efforts appear to be paying off. Consumers rate cable operators as the most likely to offer the best technology, services and prices for the triple play. While their lead on telcos dropped off in 2006 and 2007, they reversed the decline in 2008, Mr. Rule said. “I suspect that constant cable operator promotion and sales efforts for triple play, combined with a somewhat slow takeoff for telco IPTV, may be swinging the dynamic back in cable’s favor.”
Growth in on-demand household penetration also is coming from cable operator efforts to convert analog subscribers to digital services. “Our 2007 survey found digital cable in 45% of the surveyed advanced-services households. In 2008 this jumped to 66%. In our 2007 survey, 31% of our advanced-services people had ever viewed cable VOD; the 2008 figure was 48%. Again, a nice bounce for a single year.”

24 Comments

  1. How do I access the Prime Time on my Cox cable TV so I can watch TV programs an hour after they air?

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