How VOD is changing me and my house

I am a walking example of what many already know: On-Demand content and viewing is really, really important. This is nothing new, (Variety, April 2015) and in fact I’m late to the shift. (FT December 2015) But here’s how it goes:

A few months ago I started using Netflix more, and I’m way behind the curve on that. I was there mostly to get kids shows on for my son, but it led to me finding stuff I watched too.(Mostly binging Breaking Bad and Narcos. Not much since that)

With those lessons learned, I made more use of HBOgo and dove into past shows I never saw back when I didn’t have HBO. (I binged Curb Your Enthusiasm in a couple weeks.) Then I finally changed my old Comcast cable box to the new X1 platform.

I used to turn on the TV and start scanning channels to see what’s on. Now I pretty much go straight to the on-demand menu to choose what I want to watch. 

That’s a massive switch. How do TV programmers react to that? How do you market shows when the message “Tuesday’s at 8” or “Thursday’s at 9” isn’t the most important message to drive home? How do you make sure your shows get listed on the On-Demand “Homepage”? How do you generate word of mouth for your shows? How do programmers make money?

Hey TV folks, welcome to podcasting. Where someone else’s UI (iTunes) determines whether or not your show gets a spike in attention. And where the quality of your program determines if you can keep and grow an audience.

That’s what Fast Company means when they say “The Future of Media is Podcasting.” 

“Podcasting is built on the very assumptions that older media have been forced into making, due to technological advances that have ruined their historic pursuit of a mass audience gathered at a single, scheduled time.”

What about generations that will never have to wait for a TV show? My son gets to watch a little bit of TV, and it’s all right there for his choosing when he wants it. Daniel Tiger? Paw Patrol? Peanuts? Comcast On-Demand or Netflix.

Mr Rogers
Image from

I did stumble on another new-world problem when it comes to TV recently. He wanted to watch Mr. Roger’s Neigborhood. (the classic one) No problem, that’s over on Netflix. Jump into Netflix… but it’s gone. Uh oh.

Jump to Comcast. He’s not there.

Amazon? Whew. There it is. It’s still a beautiful day in the neighborhood. I just need some kind of app and remote and interface that will search all of these services at once.




It turns out, living in an Atlanta neighborhood scheduled to get Google Fiber any day now (?) I’m in a Comcast vs. Google battleground. We get ads from Comcast telling us not to “fall for the hype.” You can read The Motley Fool’s take here.

And without taking sides, hype feels like the right word. Folks in my neighborhood are REALLY excited about being able to get rid of Comcast and switch to Google Fiber. I’m not convinced. I’m sure some things might be better and other things will be worse. Meet the new boss, same as the old boss.

I was originally going to write a post about how I don’t expect Google Fiber to be the “be all end all” for TV & internet. I sat down to write something about how Google doesn’t have the NHL Network (that’s important to me) and I’m not convinced their on-demand offerings will be as good, or easy to navigate. Also, for everyone that complains about Comcast’s customer service… how is Google’s customer service?

On the other hand, they do seem to basically have the same channels and premium add-ons. And when I saw the download speeds Google advertises, with no data caps, and DVR functions, price, etc. hmmm… maybe there is something here.

I took some speed tests on my Comcast service. I took a closer look at my Comcast usage and data caps. I’m nowhere near them now…. but as my household’s streaming is bound to only grow that could become an issue.

So, I think when Google Fiber is up and running I will switch. I’ll just have to subscribe to the NHL directly to get my games. Even if Google isn’t the panacea my neighborhood Facebook page seems to think it will be (which I still doubt) I do hope this all brings about some more competition in the space that benefits consumers.

Services competing for customers with price, content and convenience. Programmers trying to reach audiences with better quality, and everybody trying to make money. It’s fun, right?

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