Updated Every Monday, Wednesday and Friday

Wednesday, March 04, 2009

So you say you want a Revolution

It's not easy bein' cheesy - I know. I get it.

The masses aren't parking their butts in front of their TVs anymore - the true family experiences of the past are gone. Hell, I used to sit around with my family and watch Little HOUSE on the Prairie (man, what a show that'd be if you mixed the current equivalent... House works at a Mosque?? Hrrmmm.) Alas, those days are over.

What's left of the gravy on the train has long ago cracked with age and blown away in the winds of change.

So what do you do?

Well, pick up your pad of paper - take some notes, I'm feeling in a giving mood today and all it's going to cost you is actually getting down to fixing the problems. Seriously, I'm happy to watch content with commercials online - as long as what's there is worth my time.

Okay folks, we're going on a field trip. Ready?

Open a new Tab (and yes, if your browser doesn't have TABS then that may be a bit of a litmus test for your/your company's approach to the Web...) and browse your way over to watch.ctv.ca

Open another Tab and browse your way over to www.globaltv.com/globaltv/video/index.html

Take a moment, explore around a bit. Get a good idea in your head of what each site is about. What they're trying to DO.

What does each one do right, what does each do wrong? Flip back and forth between them, play around, which one FEELS right. Watch the video, experiment with the player, how easy is it to understand? Go full screen - can you find where the option to go full-screen is? Is the video the kind of quality that you'd be willing to watch for 30 - 60 minutes?

Take a moment, think about it. Think about how you watch video online.

Want to know how I watch video on the web?

During the week, it's primarily my lunch break. That's when you've (potentially) got me for a full hour - it's also the time when I'm not feeling pressured to watch all the stuff I've got crammed into my PVR. I'm looking to relax, I'm looking for something interesting to occupy my time.

I'm looking for a new show. Maybe.

If you can grab my attention and make me want to check it out.

See, the era of just throwing shit up on the web - and hoping someone will trip over it and watch it - is over. People just don't have the time or inclination anymore. Hell, I can't even count how many days I've spent surfing Youtube for an hour 'cause there's nothing on online. Because no one told me what I could be watching if I just popped on over to their site.

Let me tell you what I like about Global's approach: Very little. What they get right is that you click on a show, click on a segment and get to it. It's barebones, the video quality is pure 2002 and there's nothing else to do. Watch the show and go away. That's what their setup tells me. Not to mention that I utterly despise their 'sharing' routine. It's assinine and it actually makes me kind of angry that that's what passes for sharing content in 2009 -- we're knee deep in the information age here people. At least have the clip's direct link load in the address bar so that I can copy and paste from there.

Of course this'd work better if your links weren't close to 100 characters long: http://canwest.a.mms.mavenapps.net/mms/rt/1/site/canwest-canwestglobal-pub01-live/current/launch.html?maven_playerId=globalvideocenter&maven_referralParentPlaylistId=9cc6b450a623dac392329a6ffd58c236d3cec38a&maven_referralPlaylistId=7e38250007c9a8fc4170553c693f556c3c790f0f&maven_referralObject=3732987 (BTW, that's the link to Da Kink In My Hair Episode 2-03). Personally, Global, I think you owe the 'Da Kink In My Hair' people an apology 'cause you're certainly not doing them a whole lot of favours having it up there like that.

Hell, you're not doing yourself any favours - you're pissing in your revenue stream. This (and other shows) should be something promoted, used to drive traffic to your site instead of shunted off to the kitchen while everyone's partying in the dining room. It's potential money that you're squandering and hey, even pennies are pennies.

CTV does things a tad better all around. They're still lacking in some serious areas - mostly in direction. Again, offering little to no reason for me to actually kick around on the site after I've gotten my fix. But what do they do right? First, let's go see a show... say... Flashpoint. Here's the direct link to Episode 2-05: http://watch.ctv.ca/#clip143697

Now, my point here isn't that I'm going to type out each link by hand - far from it - my point is that it goes to the mentality of those working behind the scenes. Those who throw shit up and leave it to rot versus those who encourage everything to be as simple and streamlined as possible - those commited to making viewing video on the web EASIER than watching it on TV.

Videos on CTV.ca are easy to find and there's a host of 'featured' items designed to try and pull me in - Personally I have no interest in watching Paris Hilton's Best Friend, or why it's considered a 'Feature' but hey, points for trying.

What CTV does very well is allow you to create and save your own playlist ala YouTube. It's a simple feature but important. I'm not always able to watch everything in one go. I can load up my shows for the week, pop on, watch what I can, put it aside, come back tomorrow and pick up almost exactly where I left off. I don't have to hunt for videos, I don't have to waste precious lunch time. Good on them. There's thought involved there, THAT's what I'm looking for. Commercials are short and sparse and don't bother me all too much. Fine. Good.

So, how can you make it better? Pens to paper people: Live content. I'm not talking new video - I'm talking live promotions on the side - optional chat windows where people can interact as shows are being watched. Watch an episode of Heroes live, streaming on the site and share in the bashing of a once great show with friends.

And before you start complaining about time and cost - it's a goddamn chat applet. That's easy. Your guys/grrls can do that in a heartbeat with one crooked, carpal-tunnelled hand tied behind their back.

All it takes is want. And a bit of thought.

Hell man, this is just the tip of the iceberg -- and if I can come up with a list of 23 different things you can do to make yourselves competitive and flourishing (on my spare time between planning a wedding and writing a CFC application) then you should be able to do it in a heartbeat.

Bring your A game and people will show up. And if you can't figure out how to make money from having more people show up to your website then... well, then you need to get out onto the web more.

In closing: Global, seriously man, get with the end of the 1st decade of the new millennium.

Cheers,
Brandon

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