Given the government’s announcement last night of a UK-wide lockdown, and the escalating response to the coronavirus pandemic, we’ve decided to postpone the judging of 50 VOD Professionals until further notice. We’ll keep you updated on this but rest assured, any nominations you’ve already made will still be valid.

Thanks and stay safe.


The OTT world was a very different place in 2012 when we published the results of our first 50 VOD Professionals survey – a list of the most influential people working in the UK’s video-on-demand industry.

BBC iPlayer, although only four years old, was already the country’s most popular VOD service and had served 1.94 billion programme requests in 2011 (compared to 4.4bn in 2019). ITV Player, the common ancestor of ITV Hub and Hub+, was our biggest commercial AVOD product with 376 million long form video requests. Amazon Prime Video had yet to be born as a brand albeit that the retail behemoth had recently taken full control of Lovefilm, the DVD rental and early SVOD provider. Sky, which had rolled Sky Player and Sky Mobile TV into Sky Go the previous year, launched its first pay-as-you-go SVOD offering in NOW TV in July. And Blinkbox (TVOD), BT Vision and YouView were respectively still to be acquired, renamed or co-opted.

There was no Apple TV+, no Disney+. No Chromecast or Amazon Fire sticks. No Alexa, no “Hey, Google”. Not yet.  

But there was Netflix. Arriving in January 2012, and still with only just over 3 million international subscribers at the time, Netflix quickly became a consumer and industry smash hit.

For viewers, it raised expectations about the amount and quality of content that they could watch, on multiple devices, for an affordable monthly cost, and without having to commit to a long-term contract.  

For broadcasters, Netflix (in competition with Amazon / Lovefilm), by buying their content, helped cover the costs of digitising their back catalogues, introduced advanced OTT content discovery and recommendation techniques and almost single-handedly settled the question of what OTT products should look like with its familiar grid design.

Netflix seemed to be everywhere!

This then was the backdrop for our inaugural 50 VOD Professionals which we produced to celebrate the people who brought these OTT services to our screens. We wanted to know not just about the leaders of those companies but the technology suppliers, the designers, developers, analysts, programmers, marketers and visionaries who imagined, delivered and maintained the future of TV.

And today, I’m delighted to open nominations for 50 VOD Professionals 2020.

Tell us about the people who you think should make it on to our list this year – whether they work for broadcasters, content owners, content producers, film studios, operators, service-providers or vendors from any part of the supply chain. We’d like names, job titles and a few words about their jobs and achievements please. You can send these to us publicly on LinkedIn or here on the VOD Professional website.

Nominations will be open until 5pm on Wednesday the 25th of March. Our panel of judges (senior industry execs themselves) will meet that evening to debate the merits of the nominees and we’ll publish the results the following week.

Look forward to hearing from you.


Kauser Kanji has been working in online video for 19 years, formerly at Virgin Media, ITN and NBC Universal, and founded VOD Professional in 2011. He has since completed major OTT projects for, amongst others, A+E Networks, the BBC, BBC Studios, Channel 4, DR (Denmark), Liberty Global, Netflix, Sony Pictures, the Swiss Broadcasting Corporation and UKTV. He now writes industry analyses, hosts an online debate show, OTT Question Time, as well as its in-person sister event, OTT Question Time Live

Get OTT Briefings Every Week!

Sign up for my newsletter to stay up to date with stories, analysis, events and reports from VOD Pro.