UPC Brings On Demand TV to Ireland

Last week UPC launched its groundbreaking new TV experience to its customers.

For the first time, this unique service offers customers the benefit of seven day catch-up TV from the RTÉ Player and 3player and over 1,300 hours of the best box sets and series for free. Additionally, Movies On-Demand is also available at the touch of a button.

Over one third of Dublin homes have instantly received the on demand service and it will roll out to the rest of the country throughout the summer to eventually reach 600,000 homes in Ireland.

Access to ITV, BBC and US box sets as well as the On Demand content from MGM, True Movies, Food Network, History and Discovery Channel will be available with further new programmes and content being added in the weeks ahead. Additionally, there are complete box sets of award winning US TV, such as Blue Bloods, The Good Wife and Dexter among others – available free of charge to UPC Select and Max customers through their UPC digital remote.

UPC has negotiated with the top Hollywood studios to allow customers to rent from hundreds of movies, including the latest box office hits, directly through their TV at the touch of a button. UPC will provide the latest release movies at the same time as they are available on DVD.

The on demand movies are very likely to pose yet further problems for Xtravision’s already struggling business model. We would anticipate an increased push behind their postal subscription service, although this still has nowhere near the ease of functionality that UPC is offering and does not provide a substantial cost saving.

The greater issue from a media planning point of view is the catch up TV service will most likely further fragment the viewing of TV as viewers also avail of online broadcast programme options.

Any viewers watching a programme on the catch up service rather than the TV broadcast (including anyone who recorded the programme and watched it later) will no longer be picked up by Nielsen as a TV viewer.

This will inevitably lead to a reduction in Nielsen monitored TV viewing – when fully rolled out the on demand service will be available in almost 40% of all homes.  Any reduction in monitored ad impressions will mean reduced supply for RTÉ and TV3 and may lead to price inflation (assuming demand does not reduce further than supply).

However, the viewers will not be lost; they will simply be watching the programme on a different feed. They will even be watching it on the same television set – as far as the viewer is concerned they are just watching the programme they want to watch on their TV, they will have no concept of which “feed” has supplied it.

Currently the catch up service does not carry advertising but the intention is that it will in the same manner as the online and mobile versions. The increased inventory the catch up service will provide for RTÉ and TV3 should also lead to deflation for “player” advertising be it either through straight reduction in cost per thousands or through the development of more optimized packages.

What we know for sure is that once the service is carrying advertising it will become even more important to ensure “player” advertising is incorporated into broadcast media plans since it will further blur the lines for the viewer about where they watch their TV and make it more about what they watch.

Chris Nolan – Director

As always, if you have any opinions- supporting or conflicting- on this post or related matters we’d love to hear from you, so please feel free to post replies below