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

August 2007 Archives

NBC Online Can't Keep Pace With Conan

August 31, 2007 12:24 PM

NBC began streaming “Late Night With Conan O’Brien” this week.

The first late-night talk show to stream online, it posts the morning after each episode on NBC.com.

Now, as you may recall, I had some trouble with NBC.com’s online video way back in the day—oh, say, eight long months ago. But the site has steadily improved its technology and usability.

So I was eager to learn if NBC could pull off the Conan offering. For starters, the show is relatively easy to find, via a button on the home page promoting the online episodes.

The site had no trouble whatsoever playing the pre-roll ad. But the video stopped after that, so I had to start over to load the episode. It did play this go-round, but the first minute of the show—the introduction—was marred by stuttering, a la Web video 1999, literally every two to three seconds. The video smoothed out at the start of the monologue for about a minute.

But the buffering kicked in again, stalling the video for three to four seconds every three to four seconds.

Great concept, great idea, needs work.

You Are What You Search For…

August 30, 2007 10:55 AM

Online production shop On Networks has launched a new Web show called “Searchin’ USA.” It’s a super-short countdown show that lists the top 10 most searched-for terms in the United States.

It’s a fun little peek into the minds of Web surfers. And who isn’t a voyeur, after all? So go check it out and see if your fellow Americans are perverts, Harry Potter fans or MySpace Googlers.

Here’s the show.

Hulu, Hula?

August 29, 2007 10:06 AM

Does anyone else think of Hula when they hear the name of the Fox-NBC Web venture?

Or is it just me…?

Internet Video Heads to High School Locker Room

August 29, 2007 7:33 AM

Daisy Whitney's Trial and ErrorHave you heard? Did you get the memo?

If not, I’ll let you in on the news. The next big thing in Internet video is high school sports. Yup, it’s true. Hearst-Argyle recently launched highschoolplaybook.com, dedicated to high school sports, which I’ll check out tomorrow.

And earlier this week, Fox-owned WNYW-TV unveiled myfoxlocker.com, a new high school sports Web site. The site features school-produced and user-generated content about high school sports teams in New York, New Jersey and Connecticut.

I have about, um, zero interest in high school sports, but I will say this: The site is neat and clean, the videos are easy to find, and the video player on the home page includes a scrolling playlist of the latest videos.

I did test out the link to search for your school. Because, now I will confess, I actually attended high school for two years in Shelton, Conn. And yep, I found one set of results for Shelton High School.

But not, of course, from when I attended. I don’t even think they had video cameras way back then, much less the Internet.

Shooting Green: Current TV Seeks Eco-Friendly Videos

August 27, 2007 10:45 AM

Last week, I visited my parents in Austin, Texas.

Yes, it was Texas and all that the name of the state implies, but it’s Austin, which is not like the rest of Texas. So I was shocked to learn that their town recycles only glass bottles. Not cardboard, not aluminum, not envelopes or white paper, not the plastic containers blueberries or strawberries come in and certainly not plastic bags, as we do here in San Francisco.

OK, so I live in California and it’s a little bit of La La Land. Still, the lack of recycling there and in other notable places, like Las Vegas and to some degree New York City, reminds me how far we have to go.

So that’s why I want to give props today to Current TV, which recently introduced an online video contest in partnership with the Alliance for Climate Protection at www.current.tv/ecospotcontest.

The purpose is to create “very short video messages that will drive your friends, community or government to get involved in solving the climate crisis....”

So all you video auteurs out there should take a look at the guidelines for “Ecospot” and start shooting. Flood Current TV with entries! You’ll get something out of it—the grand prize is a Toyota Hybrid Highlander.

Credit given where credit’s due: I first learned of this contest on NewTeevee.com.

No Butt Double for Richard Gere

August 24, 2007 12:30 PM

So I’m hanging around Comcast’s The Fan, sort of wondering what the point is. Not of The Fan per se, but just vaguely contemplating the purpose of Internet video. Like why would I go to a portal and just sort of browse for video? Do people get a hankering to watch video on the computer? I mean, are the hankerings that unformed?

I didn’t know the answers to these deep philosophical questions as I tinkered around on The Fan this morning, the portion of Comcast.net devoted to Web video. I just went there because the site recently revamped the video section for better organization and customization, such as playlists and search suggestion, Comcast told me.

So I wandered around, not really in the mood for anything in particular, watching a minute here of Fergie (boring), a minute there of Avril (almost as boring), then a promo for one of the Olsen twigs, I mean twins, on “Weeds” (not as boring), until I saw a headline that was too hard to resist.

Gere Nude Scene.

No, I’m not a raging Richard Gere fan, but it sounded more interesting than the preview for “Scary Movie 4” (really, really boring).

It turns out Gere will be baring his behind in the upcoming movie “The Hunting Party.”

They had a butt double on standby but didn’t need him.

So there you go. Apparently tidbits such as these are what Internet video is all about.

YouTube Overlay, Overlay, Wherefore Art Thou YouTube Overlay?

August 23, 2007 11:54 AM

Here’s the funny thing about ads. For them to work, YOU HAVE TO BE ABLE TO SEE THEM!

Oh, sorry. Those all caps were directed at Google and YouTube.

YouTube introduced video ads earlier this week, overlays that appear on the bottom fifth of the video screen.

So I thought – well, let’s look around and see who’s pimping what. I went to the most viewed videos section, both for today and this week, and clicked on about 10 different videos.

Not one had an ad.

So I looked up some of the blog posts about the video ads. Lost Remote pointed out that the ads only run on videos in YouTube’s partner program.

I went to the Partner page on YouTube and watched videos from partners including Universal Music Group, Ford Model TV and No Good TV.

Nary a commercial there either.

What’s a girl gotta do to get marketed to???

On Vacation Again

August 17, 2007 1:44 AM

Sorry readers, I'm going on another vacation. I'll be back posting again on Thursday Aug. 23.

Bill in a Box

August 16, 2007 9:27 AM

So, 30,000 text messages in one month breaks down to 1,000 a day. Let’s say you sleep eight hours a day (one can dream!). That means to pound out 1,000 messages in the remaining 16 hours you need to send 62.5 an hour, or roughly one a minute.

Those are some seriously nimble fingers, folks.

Check out this video from hot geek Justine who just received her first iPhone bill. In a box. A 300-page iPhone bill in a box. She’s apparently an avid text messager.

The video has already generated more than 200,000 views on Revver and another 100,000 on YouTube.

As Justine points out at the end, there’s nothing like a 300-page bill as an advertisement for paperless billing.

The Latest Prez Contender

August 15, 2007 10:19 AM

The 2008 presidential election has already become known as the campaign that will be waged on the Internet, with online video a key weapon.

So it’s no surprise to find software mogul Ray Hopewood’s extensive online repertoire at rayhopewood.com, blog.rayhopewood.com, facebook (search for him), http://www.myspace.com/rayhopewood and flickr.com/people/rayhopewood/.

To get a better sense of his platform, check out some of the short video clips on his page at www.bigfix.com/rayhopewood. (You’ll find the clips under “top stories” and while some are repeats, click through on all the links and you’ll find about four videos)

Here’s a summary:

On unemployment: “When I’m president if you’re not working, you’re fired.”

On the environment: “I’m all for the ecology aspect of everyone’s concerns.”

On Taxes: “Last year I made $117 million and had to pay over $24,000 in taxes, so I’m feeling it just like the rest of you.”

OK, you want the truth? The Ray Hopewood campaign was actually concocted for Big Fix technology company by online advertising agency Rassak Experience in San Francisco.

Pretty clever example of viral marketing, isn’t it?

On Vacation

August 3, 2007 1:40 AM

Daisy Whitney is on vacation and will return to her blog on August 15.

CNN Relies on Viewers for Reports on Bridge Collapse

August 2, 2007 9:02 AM

Exactly one year after launching its user-generated service, CNN I-Report, the news network learned just how much consumers crave these capabilities.

The network had already received 96 “I-Reports” approved for air by mid-morning Thursday on the Minneapolis bridge collapse the night before.

In fact, an eyewitness account from an “I-Reporter” was one of the network’s main sources before other images became available.

The viewer, Mark LaCroix, took still photos and then was interviewed by Wolf Blitzer about what he saw here in this interview.

The Web site also ran a short story about the I-reports it has received.