Broadcasters Turning to On-Demand Viewing to Get Viewers Off DVRs

Sep 24, 2014  •  Post A Comment

Broadcasters including CBS and Fox are making more shows available through on-demand services as they seek to wean viewers away from digital video recorders and their ad-skipping technology, reports Bloomberg.

“More ads mean more revenue for the TV industry. Comcast Corp. (CMCSA), owner of NBC and the largest U.S. pay-TV service, is offering the 100 most popular shows on demand in the new TV season that’s just begun,” the story notes.

The article adds: “As many as a third of viewers today watch shows after their original air date, and each one who hits the fast-forward button on the TiVo player represents a loss for the TV industry, which generates about $70 billion in annual ad sales. Video-on-demand libraries, which free consumers from the task of setting up recordings in advance, are available in about 60 percent of households, according to Nielsen.”

tivo roamio ota-2014


  1. TiVo is not like a VCR. Set up a season pass and you don’t have to worry about recording the season. I watch mostly everything on TiVo for all the reasons listed.

  2. I don’t have a TiVo and refuse to get one… much as I like the basic idea. What I don’t like is the idea of programing subscription fees for devices that ought to work without them.

    I didn’t need any fee for my last VCR, which used free over-the-air broadcast info (usually sent out via PBS station signals) for program info. That VCR could be programmed for up to two weeks in advance. Why should I pay TiVo (or anyone) a few hundred dollars a year for what would (should) otherwise be free?

    I do have an iMac set up as a Home Theater PC… primarily for time shifting. It uses a third-party peripheral to receive and convert OTA TV broadcasts and software that records them. I pay an annual $20 fee (the most I am willing to pay for this sort of thing, btw) for a TV Guide subscription for the device. It can work without the TV Guide sub, but it can’t be programmed in advance and would require recording to be start and stopped manually.

    On-demand doesn’t interest me for several reasons.

    1) No single source for content. I’m not searching a plethora of sources for content. Give me a single source I can go to that has everything… and I do mean everything, not just what’s currently available. Nobody comes even remotely close. If it’s been on a DVD, it exists in digital form and ought to be somewhere. Tried to find Gary Cooper’s “the Cowboy and The Lady” the other night and got nada. Online a second-hand DVD could be had for $80+ … that’s not happening.

    2) Content can not “disappear/be unavailable” sometime down the road. I don’t care about your contracts and other legal entanglements. Get content up… and keep it there.

    3) I want a pristine, non-glitchy image on my HD TV. My ISP is your problem because they control the “last mile”. Making “deals” with telcos for internet fast lanes isn’t going to do you any good if they are throttling my bandwidth… for any reason.

    4) This related to number 4. Until affordable, high speed, unlimited internet service is available to make it work everywhere, broadcaster are whistling in the dark.

    Call me when you guys have this all worked out. Meanwhile I’ll be doing the best I can with what I’ve got, and I won’t be taking you up on any on-demand viewing option you might run up the flagpole ion the meantime.

  3. My biggest complaint about on demand services is that they take a few days before they are available, are often only available in SD, and have a limited number of episodes and they go away. Sometimes I will have 8 or 10 episodes of a show on my DVR which I then binge watch over Christmas or summertime when there isn’t anything else on.

    If the TV networks would do like HBO Go in which they put their shows up as soon as they air and leave complete seasons on there (even past seasons) I would worry a lot less about DVRing shows and would definitely catch up on more previous seasons, especially when a show becomes more interesting to me now. I might be tempted to watch Marvel’s Agents of Shield now with Adrienne Palicki doing an arc, but having never watched the show, I likely won’t since I have no idea what happened in the past.

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