Catch-up “dwarfs” even Netflix consumption: Dickens

Rachael Micallef
By Rachael Micallef | 23 September 2015
Clive Dickens, chief digital officer for Seven West Media

While industry attention might be tuned to streaming video on demand (SVOD) services like Netflix, Seven West Media chief digital officer Clive Dickens says catch-up service use is the bigger form of video on demand in Australia.

Dickens, who joined Seven West Media nine months ago, is an advocate of the use of internet and mobile enabled television, noting that he sees all avenues of accessing screen content as “television.”

“Television describes how screen entrainment makes you feel, it's not the distribution or platform,” Dickens said.

However, he said while attention may be squarely on SVOD services, including Seven's joint venture SVOD service with Foxtel, Presto, he believes usages of AVOD services – which includes catch-up and IPTV- far outweighs it.

“When people talk about VOD there is probably too many column inches about one form of VOD only, which is 'SVOD',” Dickens said. “The bigger form of VOD in this country by far is AVOD: iView, Plus7, 9Jumpin and TenPlay.

“The consumption of VOD in those brands dwarfs even the consumption of Netflix but unfortunately we don’t yet release that data and so it's invisible.”

Dickens said the reason why AVOD would be more appealing than some over the top services is because they don't cost anything to watch and “free is always better than paid”.

But he said that with the behaviour around television use shifting, catch-up TV is becoming more significant in the landscape.

“When you miss a program the FOMO (fear of missing out) gene is still very much there but you know you don't have to miss out,” Dickens said. "That means that this idea of sitting down and making an appointment is something we need to think very carefully about.

“But it's all television. I think we can do a better job as an industry explaining to our advertisers that actually consolidated numbers – either IP TV or catchup – are all TV.”

OzTam is currently looking to develop a metric which would take into account viewers watching shows on catch up services.

Nielsen is also developing a cross-platform measurement service under a contract by the IAB, with Perry confirming it is “weeks away”.

OzTam CEO Doug Peiffer recently said he doesn't believe the advent of cross-device measurement will be the “game-changer” the industry thinks it is in terms of audience numbers.

“It's not as big as what we think - it's a few percent of the audience so it's not dramatically shifting,” Peiffer said. “Over time that may change but we haven’t seen it drop that quick.”

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