The opinions expressed in this editorial are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Decima Reports. Unless video-on-demand (VOD) is given a better window and more enticing product than pay-per-view, it's doubtful the new technology will have much of an effect on the bottom lines of cable operators in the early years. While the U.S. experience has shown that VOD can reduce digital cable churn, it will take a few years for VOD to turn a profit for cablecos. Operators have touted VOD as the killer app that will give them an edge over satellite TV distributors, who are unable to offer the service for technological reasons at this time. With digital infrastructure largely in place, big Canadian cablecos have high hopes for VOD and are beginning to roll it out. Rogers Cable announced its launch in Toronto this March (CCR, March 01/02), and Shaw Cablesystems disclosed last month that it would begin deploying VOD in September (see story in this issue). Vidéotron and Cogeco Cable are planning launches for this year as well. At the moment, however, VOD comes with more hype than promise. Blockbuster movies are already available on dozens of pay-per-view channels on digital cable with start times as frequent as every 15 minutes. If viewers don't get their timing precisely right, they might have time to make some popcorn before the show begins. It's not a big inconvenience. Sure, VOD promises on-demand choice of hundreds of titles, but unless the Hollywood studios make their product available and other compelling programming is offered, the value proposition is suspect. Some experts predict that VOD's revenue potential will become interesting to Hollywood studios only after the DVD market becomes more mature. Lately, companies such as Disney are seeing their profits rise from sales of DVDs. That's where their focus will be in the immediate future. As a result of all of these issues, VOD is likely to grow slowly. As such, Canada's cablecos looking for a more immediate boost to their bottom lines may want to look elsewhere.