Fragmented VOD pushes viewers to illegal downloads

A study into the state of Video-on-Demand (VOD) in the UK, from the perspective of the viewer, has revealed that fragmented delivery technologies, confusing rights restrictions and expensive download charges risk driving viewers away from legitimate VOD services. Many viewers are keeping their use of VOD to a minimum, while others are turning to illegal download sites. But the study: VOD State of Play, developed by Essential Research, found that there is strong consumer demand for a TV-based VOD service and that viewers are willing to accept advertising to help make this a reality.

The report, which combines research from hundreds of VOD users, predicts that once barriers to VOD are resolved, a shift in the way TV is consumed will take place. Currently 80 per cent of PC VOD users only use the services occasionally, however 24 per cent of VOD users claim that they now watch more TV then they did before.

Twenty six per cent of PC VOD users admit to using peer-to-peer or torrents to download video content, with 42 per cent of illegal VOD users saying that "watching programmes that are not scheduled in the UK" is a key driver. Price is also a factor with 75 per cent of VOD users saying that on-demand services should cost less than the equivalent DVD.

Stuart Knapman, Partner at Essential Research and Director of the Study comments: "There is a growing realisation among audiences that they can control what they watch and when they watch it and this has huge appeal. But most are not doing it regularly as they feel that the industry is not keeping up with their expectations. Viewers want a hassle-free, cinematic TV experience with the right content and the right commercial model. When this happens, TV is going to change forever. But for most people the current reality is a computer screen with confusing rights restrictions and lots of proprietary software."

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