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

July 2007 Archives

Pearl is Back…Sorta

July 31, 2007 7:58 AM

The Landlord it is not.

But I still laughed. Then again, I am a sucker for musical theater spoofs.

Here’s a deliciously self-referential spoof. (Is the world getting bigger or smaller when online video shamelessly borrows from itself?)

The video is the brainchild of My Damn Channel, which launched today. It’s the latest entrant (are you having trouble keeping track of ‘em too?) in the new “online studio” business. What that means is My Damn Channel aims to be a haven on the Internet for professionally produced and actually entertaining content. What a concept.

“My Damn Channel is an entertainment studio and new media platform created to empower artists to co-produce, distribute and monetize original, episodic video content. Programming is created by artists for the My Damn Channel site and for syndication on today’s most heavily-trafficked online communities and social networks,” the site says.

At any rate, the Landlord spoof is funny and the site’s layout is original. Yes, I just wrote that. Original. That’s damn near impossible in today’s me-too Web video era.

But don’t just listen to me. Check it out for yourself and go to www.mydamnchannel.com.

Lindsay Lohan’s Nose Dive

July 30, 2007 12:37 PM

What do you do when a Lindsay Lohan film opens in 9th place with $3.4 million?

If you’re an emerging online video site, you make a spoof. That’s what iKlipz, a video site dedicated to independent filmmaking, did last Wednesday when it posted this spoof of Ms. Lohan’s tanker, “I Know Who Killed My Career.”

The video is a take-off on Ms. Lohan’s “I Know Who Killed Me” flick that opened on Friday with a whimper, just a few days after Ms. Lohan was arrested last week.

The video quickly gained steam and has now garnered 363,000 views on the site, the second-most popular video in iKlipz’ history after the trailer for “Spider-Man 3.” IKlipz says it plans to create more original videos and trailer spoofs.

McDreaming in Hi-Def

July 25, 2007 10:02 AM

Dr. McDreamy’s baby blues look even better in hi-def.

‘Course, I’ve been watching in hi-def on my real TV all season long. You know, the one in the living room that gives you that good old-fashioned 10-foot experience?

Nevertheless, ABC.com launched its beta test today of its full-episode player in hi-def, marking the first time a network has offered hi-def episodes of its shows online. Now mind you, the shows already looked pretty good in standard-def online, as ABC.com does a bang-up job with its player. Still, more pixels is more pixels, so I check it out.

The hi-def episodes won’t work for everyone. I won’t get into the boring technical details, but you’ll need to have a newer computer that can handle hi-def. How will you know if yours does? Simple. Go to ABC.com, click on full episodes, and then click on the hi-def option. If it lets you select an episode in hi-def, your computer can handle it. If it won’t, time to ask your boss to pony up for a better machine.


My one beef about the navigation of the player is that you have to specifically click on the button for hi-def, which means you can’t just select the series you want to see. I originally tried clicking on the show icon until I figured this trick out.

Only four episodes are in hi-def now anyway, one each from “Lost,” “Desperate Housewives,” “Grey’s Anatomy” and “Ugly Betty.” ABC will add more in the fall.

But once I found the hi-def button, the experience was smooth sailing. The season finale of “Grey’s Anatomy” loaded immediately. I must confess, the screen looked a little blurry at first and I was ready to pronounce the experiment dead on arrival! But after 20 seconds, the blurriness resolved into that crisp clarity only hi-def brings—you can see the blemishes on the Chief’s face, the sharpness of the scalpels, the crystal-clear pools of blue in Patrick Dempsey’s eyes. ...

The YouTube Debates

July 24, 2007 9:04 AM

YouTube remembered to update its Web page ad for last night’s YouTube CNN presidential candidate debates this morning. While the banner ad on the YouTube home page still urges viewers to submit questions for the July 23 debates (um, that was last night folks), when you click through you’ll find a new button to submit questions for the Sept. 17 Republican candidates debate.

The debate page is now a recap and features videos of both the questions users submitted and some of the answers, canned though they might be.

I think it’s unbelievably cool and completely emblematic of the times to actually watch Internet-submitted videos of voters’ questions. It helps you to envision the panoply of different voters and concerns and issues, and is a wonderful blend of old and new media.

So, did you watch on CNN, on YouTube? Did you submit videos? What did you think of the questions and of the answers?

I’ll Have a Mint Julep, Please

July 23, 2007 9:45 AM

On weeks like this when it seems no one is even in the office and when those of us who are dreaming of hammocks swaying in a cool summer breeze, I like to offer up escapist videos.

So check out this new video series from Food Network at on 12 delicious summer cocktails with a Latin twist.

Then, take a long lunch and gather up lemons, limes, ice and other essentials. Once it’s time, turn the computer off, dust off the blender and fire up that pineapple mojito gelatin shot, melontini, coconut lemonade, and so on.

Babes for Hillary

July 20, 2007 8:36 AM

This presidential campaign of 2008 is officially the campaign of the underwear.

You might have thought it was the YouTube season, the user-generated primaries, the Internet debates.

But the consumer is definitely in control and the consumer is wearing very little but underwear.

Take for instance the well-known videos of Obama Girl strutting in short skirts and panties, then facing off against another barely-clad gal in the Giuliani camp:

Now, Hillary Clinton has earned her lingerie support in a video dubbed “Hott 4 Hill” that’s been viewed more than 600,000 times. It features rising online star and television host Taryn Southern who croons about how she “likes [Hillary’s] hair and the shape of her derriere.”

She continues, wearing apparently the requisite costume of bra and panties, with lines like: “Let’s put a hot chick in the oval office” and “I know you’re not gay, but I’m hoping for bi.”

Cookie Wars in Los Angeles

July 19, 2007 8:09 AM

I wish there was a universal video player. Because there are SOOOO many online video sites these days that my head is spinning.

I’m checking out a new video Web site that NBC-owned station KNBC-TV in Los Angeles just launched. The site is supposed to be your “state-of-the-art” video guide to what’s hot in LA and you can find it online at www.yourla.tv.

I love the concept because a local guide is a smart way for a TV station to play in the online video world. The videos are fresh and peppy and the hosts seem knowledgeable. And the cookies sure look good in the “CookieWar” video. (Note to KNBC: Feel free to ship some chocolate chip cookies to me!)

But when I skip around and try to check out other videos, I experience a moment of hesitation. I have a fleeting sense of uncertainty – which arrow button do I press, do I scroll through the playlist, or do I hit fast-forward?

And that’s when I think, wouldn’t it be great if we all just got along and used the same design?

In my dreams…

Catfight! Obama Girl vs. Giuliani Girl

July 18, 2007 7:51 AM

I’m not sure if any of the political candidates have included in their television commercial budgets props such as midriff-baring tops, stiletto heels and skirts the size of postage stamps.

But maybe they should. After just one day on YouTube the pillow fight--er, I mean political debate--between the Giuliani groupies and the Obama backers rocketed to more than 280,000 views. (Yes, they really do have a pillow fight in their underwear.)

Visit them online at BarelyPolitical.com or YouTube.

Stop! There Are Too Many Web 2.0 Companies!

July 17, 2007 9:29 AM

Today I have officially decided there are too many new startups. There are too many we-do-online-video-with-social-networking-but-it’s-premium-content-and-not-what-your-younger-brother-shoots-in-the-garage companies.

You may be wondering how I got to this point. Well, I’ll tell you.

It happened this morning when I received two emails—one from Mesmo.TV and one from For Your Imagination. Mesmo.TV lets you “discover, collect, watch and share shows” and videos with friends, while For Your Imagination produces Web shows.

OK, let me just say that I could be totally wrong. I could be eating crow in a month or a year when these companies are the two hottest gets on the Web. But right now, my head is stuffed full of what feels like hundreds of companies already that do this stuff.

I can’t tell them apart anymore. Can you?

Snap, Crackle and Pop!

July 16, 2007 9:45 AM

How can I not think of that little cereal jingle when I hear the name of Grouper’s new service?

So Grouper officially relaunched today at Crackle.com with a new design, a declaration that user-generated content is dead and a seven-figure slice of funding from parent company Sony to back the new generation of online video producers. We’re talking premium talent, baby. Or so they say.

I’m strolling over to Crackle and the site is sharp, crisp and stuffed with video channels and playlists. About two nanoseconds after I land on the site, the centerpiece video in the home page starts playing. It’s called “Mr. Deity and the Really Big Favor-Episode 2.”

And it is absolutely hilarious. It’s like loud guffaw hilarious. Like major belly laugh hilarious. I don’t even care what’s on the rest of the site. This video actually makes Web video worth watching. So go check it out today.

Oh, and the site is easy to navigate and all that jazz. But really, check out this video.

About Those Videos You Wanted to See

July 13, 2007 8:50 AM

Who takes care of you?

Ask and it shall be given. (But really, you guys have eyes too!)

Here is the playmate of the year video:

And then here’s a little booty smacking for those of you:

How to Beat YouTube

July 12, 2007 9:32 AM

Apparently you need to use big breasts rather than soft fluffy kittens.

Go to YouTube and click on most viewed videos for the week. Up until a few minutes ago, you would have found a thumbnail image of a darling little ginger kitten, who was merely the front for a 1:30 video full of instructions on how to download videos from YouTube.

His big sweet eyes and oh-so-pettable coat managed to lure about 180,000 views on the site before YouTube pulled it down due to violations of terms of use.

Don’t worry though. You can always find gobs of videos of girls with nice racks on the most-viewed list.

In Honor of Harry Potter Day Tomorrow

July 10, 2007 10:23 AM

So, as you may know, tomorrow marks the beginning of a two-week observance of Harry Potter. And in honor of the boy wizard and the fifth cinematic installment of his adventures—culminating on July 21 with the release of the final book in the series—I decide to visit Veoh’s beta TV service today.

How do Veoh and Harry Potter intersect, you may ask?

Quite simply. They intersect because I want them to.

I have already checked out Veoh’s “channels” that feature videos from CBS, Fox and NBC. Now I am going to test the search functionality by inputting what else but “Harry Potter” into the search bar.

The results produce the trailer for “Harry Potter and The Order of the Phoenix” and then a quite crude and dirty mock-up video—a sort of “Brokeback Mountain” meets “Harry Potter,” envisioning Harry having a crush on Draco. There are several other videos too.

In any case, my review of Veoh is that the service remains incredibly easy to navigate and use. My only quibble is there is no back button when you are watching the videos—you can only go backwards by hitting the search button. Fortunately, it took me back to the video results page.

iPhone: The Music Video

July 9, 2007 8:40 AM

David Pogue might be the funniest technology reporter out there.

The New York Times' tech guru produced a video called "iPhone: The Music Video" with newly minted lyrics to the tune of Frank Sinatra's "My Way."

My favorite lyrics from the ditty are: "I want my friends to look and drool, I want to say, “Look, now I’m cool!”

But the best part is the finale as Pogue, outside the new Apple store on Fifth Avenue and 58th Street in New York, belts out with a crowd of Apple devotees:

"I took a stand, paid half a grand…And got an iPhone!"

Here's the video on YouTube:

It's already logged more than 145,000 views since last Thursday.

And if you want the words, check out Pogue's blog here: http://pogue.blogs.nytimes.com/

Go to School

July 6, 2007 9:33 AM

Think all you need to shoot a decent Web video is a cheap camera and YouTube?

Not anymore.

Web video is becoming ubiquitous (translation: overexposed and glutted), so that also means producers and creators are needing to get more serious about their craft to stand out.

Ah, the old-cream-rises-to-the-top lesson.

So if you’ve got a hankering to make your mark in Web video, head over to Metacafe and click on the “Studio” tab on the home page. Then go to “production school” and you’ll find loads of short video clips on shooting, lighting, directing and more.

I watched a few and while I’m no video auteur, there seem to be some good tips in there.

NPR Tackles Carbon In Love

July 5, 2007 9:34 AM

I didn’t know NPR was in the video business these days. But, like everyone else, the radio giant has to be. NPR is expanding into video in a number of ways, I’m told, and that includes a combination live action and animated video series, “Global Warming: It's All About Carbon.” The series aims to deconstruct the big culprit in global warming—carbon. Noted science correspondent Robert Krulwich reports how carbon works in a fun, but smart, way.

I couldn’t find the video easily on the home page, so here’s the link: http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=11662978&ps=bb1

Get Up and Vote and Then Watch Some Playmates!

July 3, 2007 10:01 AM

What do you get when you combine the “Reno 911!” creators and a non-profit youth voter initiative?

A revamped Web site, launched yesterday, at www.declareyourself.com that’s really funny to those well past 18 too.

The site and the new video shorts are designed to encourage 18-year-olds to vote and register to vote. So I may not be the demo the site is targeting. Then again, maybe I am. Because at 34, I think the videos are, dare I say, laugh out loud funny.

I can’t vouch for their appeal to someone 16 years younger, but the sarcasm alone makes these shorts worth watching for any of you old folks like me who read this blog.

And finally for all 700,000 or so of you who declared your loyalty to the iPhone, Playboy wants to make your life better with a collection of multimedia features for the new phone. You know, non-nude wallpapers, a photo album with presumably nude pictures and the Playboy Cyber Girl video.

Where’s the Video on CNN.com?

July 2, 2007 9:25 AM

CNN.com took the curtains off its re-launch today, going live with a new online look. The site has now folded the former CNN Pipeline service into CNN.com, which means all video is available for free rather than on a subscription basis.

I kicked the tires a few weeks ago on the beta version of the site. There are some cool new interactive features on stories, but I still think video needs to be front and center. If you’re going to bother bringing in video from Pipeline, then you should give it a bold new home, make it the centerpiece.

Because the videos are phenomenally easy to use—they’ve got big play buttons and all.

And you can easily click from one video to the next. I watch a clip from Isaiah Washington’s appearance on “Larry King Live” and a short bit on airport security. But CNN still seems to have tucked them away on the home page in a little corner off to the side, as if they’ve been naughty. As if they don’t deserve the spotlight.

But they do. So bring them to the front. Make that main photo actually be a link to video.