TelevisionWeek contributing writer Daisy Whitney is blogging about the pinnacles and pitfalls facing viewers who want to consume television in new ways. Check in frequently as Daisy kicks the tires on the new media juggernaut and dishes on which services do -- and don’t -- make the cut.


Trial and Error

I want the TV in MTV.com!

March 12, 2007 2:53 PM

Been to MTV.com recently? Well everyone else has. Or at least that’s what Viacom wants us to think.

The network has been touting its recent Web traffic highs, especially following Viacom’s removal of 100,000 clips from YouTube on Feb. 2.

Today, MTV said that it delivered more than 84 million video streams in January and 85.1 million streams in February, both records for the site.

So let’s visit MTV.com and see just how easy it is to find videos. Here’s the first thing I notice—there are video and jpegs covering nearly every square inch of the Web site.

Now, that’s a good thing for a site that wants to be an important online video destination. I do notice that a video is already playing in the embedded player on the upper left hand side of the page. That’s what we call a non-user initiated stream, which means the visitor doesn’t hit “play” to start the stream; the video simply starts as soon as you land on the site.

I wonder how many of those streams that viewers don’t actually choose to start are counted into MTV’s new video streams total. How many of those 85 million streams are ones we don’t select?

I tool around the site some more and click on random videos to see how they play. I watch an ad for a video game, a short clip on Hillary Duff’s new clothing line, and a few brief snippets of music videos. And the video player works great—the videos play smoothly, the site looks fantastic.

But, I’m having a hard time finding actual TV content on the site. TV shows are supposed to be important components of MTV.com. I click on various video tabs and even stumble across a list of content from “Date my Mom.” But when I hit “Play All” thinking that the show clips will launch, the video player serves up Mastodon’s “Colony of Birchmen” video. I know this is a big shock—but I’m not really a Mastodon fan. So I try again and the same thing happens. And 20 minutes after I enter MTV.com, I’m not any closer to finding TV content on the site or buying a Mastodon record.


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