Rogers beefs up online on-demand

The broadcaster has taken its online VOD out of beta and into the mainstream and announces a cross-platform content deal with the CBC. An On Demand Mobile product is in the works.

It launched quietly last fall, with 17 channels and a launch partnership with Starcom-handled brands, and now Rogers is taking its online VOD service to market with an expanded palette of content and a soon-to-launch marketing campaign.

‘Throughout our beta period we were really quiet about this service while we took customer feedback and really enhanced the content and the features and the video quality. But now we are launched and we’re going to be working aggressively to promote this service,’ Jeremy Butteriss, senior director, broadband entertainment, Rogers Communications, told MiC at a launch event for the service last night.

The ‘new’ Rogers Online On Demand features over 1,500 hours of programming and over 35 TV channels providing content to the service. Today, the company announced that it had signed a deal with CBC to further beef up its content, giving users access to CBC news, kids shows, primetime series and sports. Butteriss also indicated there would be more content announcements forthcoming, but kept mum on the details.

The content at is available in three tiers to users: a variety of full-length shows for free to anyone who signs up to use the service on the site, ‘exclusive content’ for all Rogers customers and Rogers cable customers can access the speciality channel programming in their cable packages for free online. Currently, there are 100,000 users registered with the site.

Advertising opportunities available on the website include traditional display advertising, such as leaderbox and big-box ad units, as well as sponsorship opportunities for themed channels (such as March Break or Valentine’s Day) that include channel takeovers (display and video). Video advertising opps include pre-roll and mid-roll – the videos play straight through and users can’t fast-forward through the mid-roll ads. Ad sales are handled in three ways, Butteriss explained.

‘The motto we have is definitely a partnership advertising model with our content partners. So in some cases they sell advertising on our site, and in some cases we sell advertising and in some cases we jointly sell it.’

A mass-media campaign to promote online On Demand will start soon, Butteriss said, and will ‘really ramp up’ over the coming weeks and months. The campaign will be in line with Rogers’ standard media strategies, he said, including a mix of traditional (TV, OOH, radio) and online media.

A new Rogers On Demand Mobile product is also set to launch soon, a release on the CBC announcement said, and ‘will feature a selection of entertainment programming available to Rogers subscribers on their mobile devices.’