Viewers playing catch-up as 'on demand' catches on
TELEPRINTER:VIEWERS ACCESSING recently aired programmes on RTÉ and TV3’s catch-up players account for half the streams on UPC’s on-demand service.
Soaps and live events such as Coronation Street and the X Factor, both of which are on TV3’s 3 Player, are the most popular streams, mirroring the most popular shows watched online.
In August, more than 10 per cent of the RTÉ Player’s total views across all devices came from UPC On Demand, highlighting the appeal for many viewers of watching catch-up via traditional television sets.
There have been 7.25 million video streams on the service since its launch in May, according to UPC. “We launched with high hopes and I’m glad to say we’re pleased with the customer take-up,” says its head of content, Simon Kelehan.
Some 77 per cent of the UPC On Demand customer base has used the service at least once since it began, while in September, 52 per cent used it at least once.
This compares to a 65 per cent monthly user rate on a similar Virgin Media service in the UK. “We’ve got a bit to go, but we’re absolutely going in the right direction,” says Kelehan.
Box sets of series available via the on-demand button account for 30 per cent of the streams on UPC, with dramas from the US such as the Good Wife, starring Julianna Margulies (above), Dexter and Blue Bloods proving the most popular with viewers. Kelehan says a technical issue which meant these series disappeared from the service for a few days earlier this month was a one-off.
Although pay-to-download movies represent less than 10 per cent of streams, the movies side of the service is still performing ahead of expectations and proving particularly popular with teenagers, says Kelehan.
UPC has signed new content deals with Fox and Warner Brothers, meaning their titles – including new releases such as Prometheus and the Best Exotic Marigold Hotel – will shortly be added to the catalogue.
The top three movies downloaded via UPC to date have been 21 Jump Street, the Muppets and Marvel’s Avengers Assemble.
The UPC service is now available to 247,000 homes, out of its total digital TV customer base of 333,200. All UPC digital cable customers outside Dublin have access, with pockets of the capital due to be upgraded over the coming months.
Meanwhile, UPC’s great rival, Sky, has just made on-demand movie, sport and some series content available to its customers. “The rivalry between Sky and UPC is benefiting Irish TV customers,” says Kelehan. “I think our statistics really bear out that catch-up players are core to the on-demand service.”