What is BVOD?

What is BVOD?

BVOD stands for Broadcaster Video On Demand. It refers to video on demand services offered by major television broadcasters that allow users to stream and watch TV shows and movies online whenever they want.

Unlike general video streaming services like Netflix or Stan, BVOD services feature content from the broadcasters’ own television channels and programming. The services give viewers access to a wide library of the broadcasters’ past and current shows to watch on-demand via the internet on smart TVs, media streaming devices, computers, smartphones, and tablets.

BVOD services provide networks a way to monetize and extend the life of their television content beyond the original linear broadcast. Viewers can catch up or watch programs they missed on TV through the on-demand services. Key broadcasters in Australia like the ABC, Seven, Nine, and Ten all have their own BVOD offerings.

The major benefit of BVOD services for viewers is the ability to watch shows on their own schedule at their convenience. The availability of the broadcaster’s content libraries on-demand gives more choice and control over viewing habits.


History and Growth of BVOD in Australia

Broadcaster video-on-demand (BVOD) services started emerging in Australia in the late 2000s as broadcasters began making their content available online. Some key developments include:

  • ABC launched its ABC iView BVOD service in 2008, allowing viewers to stream ABC programs online for free.
  • The Seven Network introduced PLUS7 in 2010, later rebranding it to 7plus in 2016.
  • Nine Network rolled out its 9Now BVOD service in 2013.
  • Network Ten rebranded its Tenplay service to 10 play in 2016.

BVOD services have seen tremendous growth in viewership and revenue over the past decade. According to Screen Australia, the total hours watched on BVOD platforms increased from 506 million hours in 2015 to over 1 billion hours in 2019 – representing a doubling in viewership in just 4 years.

Revenues from BVOD services have also grown substantially. PwC estimates that BVOD revenue increased at a compound annual growth rate of around 20% between 2015 and 2020, reaching over $400 million in 2020. This growth is expected to continue as more viewers shift to streaming and on-demand viewing.

BVOD has become an increasingly important part of the broadcasters’ business models and digital strategies. The convenience and on-demand nature of BVOD allows broadcasters to better engage viewers, build loyalty, gather data, and diversify revenue through online ads. As internet speeds improve and content libraries expand, BVOD is likely to continue growing in popularity among Australian viewers.


Major BVOD Services in Australia

Broadcasters and streaming services have launched numerous BVOD platforms in Australia to allow viewers to stream programs online. The major free services include:

  • ABC iView – The Australian Broadcasting Corporation’s service provides catch-up and live streaming access to ABC TV channels, exclusive web series, films, and radio programs.
  • SBS On Demand – Special Broadcasting Service delivers free streaming of SBS shows, documentaries, and world movies across web, mobile, and connected TVs.
  • 7plus – Seven Network’s platform offers live streaming and on-demand shows from Channel 7, 7TWO, 7mate, 7flix, and racing coverage.
  • 9Now – Nine Network’s 9Now service provides streaming access to Channel 9, 9Gem, 9Go! and 9Life including news, sports, reality shows, and comedies.
  • 10 Play – Network 10’s 10 Play platform offers past and live episodes of Network 10, 10 Bold, 10 Peach shows, and exclusive web content.

Niche services also exist like Stan offering original content and shows from partnerships, along with Foxtel Now and Kayo Sports for sports streaming. Some reality TV programs have their own streaming apps too, like Married at First Sight and The Bachelor. Overall, Australians have an enormous selection of local and international BVOD entertainment to enjoy.

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Content Offerings on BVOD

Broadcaster video on demand (BVOD) services in Australia offer a wide range of content to viewers. The shows and movies available cover many genres, from dramas and comedies to documentaries and movies.

Key content offerings on major BVOD services include:

  • ABC iView – ABC’s BVOD service provides access to a vast library of ABC programming. This includes acclaimed Australian dramas like Mystery Road, comedy shows like Rosehaven, and iconic programs like Four Corners. ABC iView also offers select movies.
  • SBS On Demand – SBS’s BVOD platform delivers acclaimed world movies and documentaries. It features a range of Australian dramas and comedies, and provides access to SBS shows on topics like news, arts, food, and Indigenous affairs.
  • 9Now – 9Now allows viewers to stream Channel 9 programs on demand, soon after they air. This consists of Australian reality shows like Married at First Sight and The Block, comedies like Lego Masters, and dramas like Doctor Doctor.
  • 10 Play – 10 Play offers shows from Channel 10, including Australian soap operas like Neighbours, reality programs like I’m A Celebrity…Get Me Out of Here!, and dramas like Five Bedrooms.
  • 7plus – 7plus provides access to Channel 7’s lineup of shows. Dramas like Home and Away, reality competitions like Big Brother, and Australian documentaries are included.

The content offered on each BVOD service can vary over time as licenses change. But overall, they provide a rich source of Australian programming covering news, entertainment, lifestyle, arts, and more. The wide range of shows and movies available makes BVOD an attractive option for TV viewers in Australia.


Benefits of BVOD for Viewers

BVOD offers a number of compelling benefits for Australian viewers that explain its rising popularity:

  • Convenience – BVOD allows you to watch shows on your own schedule, without needing to conform to broadcast times or run home to catch a program. You can stream programs on demand 24/7 on the device of your choice.
  • Ability to watch anytime, anywhere – Related to convenience, BVOD gives you the freedom to watch your favorite shows on the go, during your commute, while traveling, or anytime it suits you. Content is available across devices like smart TVs, smartphones, tablets, game consoles, and computers.
  • Expanded content libraries – Whereas broadcast television has limited space, BVOD allows you access to thousands of programs on demand from an extensive back catalog. This includes complete series, older seasons, specials.
  • Often free – Most BVOD services in Australia are offered free to viewers alongside a broadcast subscription, or free with ads. Unlike paid streaming services, BVOD gives you access to content at no extra charge.
  • Bonus content – Many BVOD services provide exclusive behind-the-scenes footage, bloopers, interviews, and extras you can’t get through broadcast alone.
  • Enhanced viewing – Options like closed captions, multiple audio tracks, and languages allow you to customize your viewing experience. You can also pause, rewind, and replay content at your leisure.
  • Improved image quality – Streaming in HD and 4K resolutions with 5.1 surround sound provides a superior viewing experience from broadcast for internet-connected TVs.

So in summary, the convenience, expanded content, and enhanced viewing of BVOD make it an appealing option for TV viewers looking to take control of their experience. The anytime, anywhere access allows you to watch your favorite shows on your terms.

Challenges and Limitations of BVOD

Although BVOD services offer many benefits, they also come with some challenges and limitations that users should be aware of:

  • Internet requirements: To stream content on BVOD services, you need a fast and reliable broadband internet connection. The video quality you get depends on your internet speed and data allowance. This can be an issue for people with slower connections or data caps.
  • Only select shows available: While BVOD services are improving their content libraries, they still don’t have every show that airs on broadcast television. Some popular shows may only have the most recent few episodes available.
  • Ads: Most BVOD services include advertising before and during shows. While it helps pay for the free content, ads can interrupt the viewing experience. Some services offer ad-free options for an extra fee.
  • Outdated interfaces: Some broadcaster BVOD services have interfaces that feel outdated compared to slick streaming platforms like Netflix. Navigating the content catalogues can sometimes be clunky or confusing.
  • Device limitations: There can be limitations around what devices you can access BVOD services on. Some have apps for smartphones, tablets, smart TVs, and game consoles, while others are more restricted.

So while BVOD offers great on-demand content, it’s good to be aware of some of the potential drawbacks. With the right internet plan and set-up, most viewers can take advantage of the benefits with minimal issues.

BVOD Viewing Trends and Habits in Australia

Broadcaster video on demand (BVOD) viewing has rapidly grown in popularity among Australian audiences in recent years. Studies show distinct trends in how, when, and why Australians are embracing these streaming services.

  • Age – BVOD usage is highest among Australians aged 25-54, who account for over 60% of total viewing. Usage drops off among older demographics aged 55 and above.

Usage among younger viewers aged 16-24 is also substantial at 20% of the total. As younger generations grow up as digital natives, their BVOD usage is expected to increase steadily.

  • Time of Day – Weekday evening between 6-10pm is the peak viewing period for BVOD, aligning with prime time TV hours after work. Weekend viewing is more steady throughout the afternoon and evening.

Usage during late night and early morning hours is significantly lower but steadily increasing as more viewers shift to on-demand consumption.

  • Devices – The television screen remains dominant, with over 50% of viewing done through smart TVs. Laptops, smartphones, and tablets account for 30% of viewing.

As mobile devices become more ubiquitous, their share of BVOD consumption is forecasted to grow.

  • Motivations – Convenience, portability, and ability to watch shows on their own schedule are the top reasons Australians use BVOD. Live sports, news, and major events still drive real-time TV viewing.
  • Genres – Drama, comedy, reality TV, and kids programming are among the most viewed categories on BVOD. Their on-demand nature makes it easy to binge-watch episodic shows.

Future of BVOD in Australia

The future looks bright for BVOD services in Australia. Here are some key trends and predictions:

  • Expected growth – BVOD will likely continue its growth trajectory as more content becomes available and internet speeds improve. It provides a flexible and affordable option compared to pay TV or streaming services. With Australia’s high broadband and smartphone penetration rates, the potential audience is massive.
  • Integration with streaming services – We may see more partnerships or bundled offerings between BVOD and streaming services like Netflix and Stan. This will help grow audiences and provide more integrated viewing options.
  • Personalization – BVOD apps and platforms will leverage user data to provide personalized recommendations and viewing experiences. This includes promoted/suggested content as well as features like “resume watching”.
  • Address piracy concerns – Offering the latest shows on BVOD quickly after airing will help deter piracy by providing affordable, timely access. Strict release windows that delay BVOD availability encourage illegal downloading.
  • New business models – We might see different monetization models beyond ads emerge, like freemium subscription tiers or pay-per-view new release movies. There are opportunities to innovate in BVOD business models.
  • Improved content discovery – With more content scattered across different BVOD apps, better search, recommendations, and aggregation will help connect viewers. This helps provide a “content-first” user experience.
  • Personal devices – BVOD will seek greater penetration across mobiles, tablets, smart TVs and other personal devices. Offline viewing and streaming quality/reliability will be key.

The growth, innovation and integration in the BVOD landscape will provide more choice and value for Australian viewers. Piracy suppression and partnerships with streaming players will be pivotal to its success. BVOD has a bright future as a flexible and affordable viewing option.


Tips for Using BVOD Services

Getting the most out of BVOD services requires understanding their features and settings. Here are some tips:

Set Up Accounts

– Create accounts with your preferred BVOD services to access their full content libraries. This also allows you to save favorites, get recommendations, etc.

– Link channel subscriptions you already have to unlock additional content. For example, link your Foxtel account to Foxtel Now.

Find Content

– Use the search and browse functions to discover new shows and movies to watch. Filter by genre, release date, etc.

– Follow recommendations and curated sections like “Trending Now” to see buzzworthy titles.

– Check back often as new content is added regularly.

Optimize Streaming Quality 

– For the best video quality, stream in HD on a fast broadband connection using ethernet if possible.

– Adjust streaming quality settings to maximize resolution and minimize buffering.

– Close unused apps and devices using your home network to preserve bandwidth.

Download for Offline Viewing

– Download movies, shows, and episodes to watch offline when you don’t have an internet connection.

– Manage your downloaded content so it doesn’t take up too much device storage space.

Cast to Your TV 

– Use Google Chromecast, Apple Airplay, or screen mirroring to cast BVOD from your device to your TV.

– Alternatively, use BVOD apps on smart TVs for a seamless viewing experience.

Following these tips will help you take full advantage of the convenience and extensive libraries of BVOD services.

Summary

BVOD (Broadcast Video on Demand) has undergone significant growth in Australia over the past decade, emerging as a popular way for viewers to watch free-to-air TV content online. Major broadcasters like Seven, Nine and Ten offer their own BVOD services, providing on-demand access to programs after they air on traditional TV.

Some key benefits of BVOD highlighted in this article include:

– Convenience – viewers can watch shows on their own schedule, on devices of their choice. No longer constrained by linear TV schedules.

– Flexibility – ability to pause, rewind, fast-forward content. Can pick up where you left off.

– Extra content – BVOD services offer exclusive content not available on broadcast TV.

– Personalization – services can recommend content based on viewing history and preferences.

– Cost – BVOD access is free for most services once you have a TV license. No ongoing subscription fees.

The growth of BVOD has accelerated during the pandemic, with more Australians streaming from home. However, some challenges remain around content rights and exclusivity windows between broadcast and BVOD availability.

Looking ahead, BVOD services will likely continue evolving to meet changing viewer habits. Key trends to watch include extended content libraries, integration with third-party services like Netflix, and upgrades to improve streaming quality/reliability.

Overall, BVOD offers a flexible and cost-effective way for Australians to complement their traditional TV viewing. The services are only expected to grow in popularity and scope in coming years.

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