Introduction to BVOD

BVOD or broadcaster video on demand refers to all on demand services offered by one of the UK’s main broadcasters and includes ITV Hub, All 4, Sky Go, UKTV play, My5, i-player among others. 


BVOD provides a fantastic opportunity for audiences to watch their favourite shows at a time, on a device and in a place which best suits them - be that on the train, in bed, in the office or on the loo… or increasingly, sitting on the sofa, watching on a television with their family (some would call this the ‘traditional’ way to watch TV). In fact, of all BVOD, 77% is watched on the TV set although some viewing takes place on all devices.


83.4% of homes have a TV connected to the internet so access to BVOD is pretty universal.

BVOD viewing accounts for 10% of all viewing for individuals, but 26% of all 16 to 34 year olds viewing and so for younger audiences, BVOD is a significant chunk of their TV viewing time. 


Being able to watch your favourite show when you want is a huge draw for BVOD - a point detailed in Thinkbox’ s ‘The Age of TV’ research, which observed there are eight need states which define our video viewing habits. The escape need state is when audiences are most engaged and looking to lose themselves in content and BVOD plays a significant role in servicing this need.


This connection between convenience and content is perhaps no more obvious than in the relationship between BVOD and boxsets, specifically those available pre-broadcast. Content that’s released on a BVOD platform as a boxset before being shown on broadcaster TV, often attracts high levels of pre-broadcast viewing, particularly if the content appeals to younger viewers. In this example, an episode of It’s A Sin on Channel 4, received 66% of the total audience to the pre-broadcast BVOD release.


Whilst BVOD is funded by advertising and so is free to the viewer, there is another form of on demand content which is funded by subscription fees – services such as Netflix, Prime Video and Disney+ - collectively known as SVOD or Subscription Video on demand.

Viewers who are heavy viewers of BVOD also tend to be heavy viewers of SVOD. This is evident from the below chart where we can see that Netflix viewers are heavier BVOD viewers than non-Netflix viewers.


There are, of course, some genres of programming to which BVOD does not lend itself to. 

News is usually watched at the time of broadcast, as is live sport as these programmes are time sensitive. Looking at the chart below, we can see that in the Euros semi-final match between England and Denmark, 89% of viewing was live.


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