Josh Bernoff, an analyst at Forrester Research, a technology and market research company based in Cambridge, Mass., predicts TV shows available by video-on-demand will eventually be free, and that new interactive business models for advertising on demand will help pay the freight. For instance, he believes broadcasters will adopt "click though" pricing models similar to the fast-growing Internet advertising on portals like Google and Yahoo. Under that scenario, the network would be paid each time a viewer clicked on an ad or perhaps an icon super-imposed on the screen that paused the show they were watching and took them to a longer commercial.
StartOver offers digital cable subscribers a free restart button if they join a program in progress, with about 60 broadcast and cable networks participating in the venture. While the utility of the service is initially quite limited, Mr. Bewkes and Time Warner hope over time to be able to persuade the networks and their nervous affiliates to continue to extend the window when people could restart programs they have missed by hours and possibly days.
While this may sound exactly like video-on-demand, the difference is that StartOver viewers can pause a show, but not fast-forward past the advertising.