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

February 2008 Archives

Getting Deep Into Rock

February 29, 2008 11:39 AM

Here’s your Friday fun video, but with a little twist.

Rather than give you a video, I want to tell you about something you can watch today at 7 p.m. Pacific.

It’s www.deeprockdrive.com. The site produces live interactive concerts featuring up-and-coming musicians. You might remember the name because I mentioned it in an episode of the New Media Minute, or you might recall the site because it was integrated in several episodes of Web series “Quarterlife.” (Can we even call it a TV series anymore?)

At any rate, I am digging DeepRockDrive and I think it represents the future of the music industry. The concerts are interactive and viewers can vote—in real time—on the set list and the order of the songs for the musicians to play.

So if you want to check out a show, tonight at 7 p.m. Pacific, you can watch the band Lydia Vance, billed for fans of Thin Lizzy, Elvis Costello, Squeeze or the Living End.

Check it out here:


You can also see the schedule for other upcoming interactive shows:


And here are highlights from previous shows:

First Sarah and Matt, Then Ben and Jimmy, Now Elizabeth Banks and Seth Rogen

February 28, 2008 10:50 AM

It’s sort of like that episode of “Seinfeld” where George has to learn to exit on a high note.

Well, that hasn’t quite happened with the “I’m f—king” series of videos, has it?

Now, we have the latest entrant, and this one is from filmmaker Kevin Smith (Can you say definition of jumped the shark?). It stars Elizabeth Banks and Seth Rogen.

It’ll bring maybe a chuckle or two, but it doesn’t hold up to the original. So why do I share it? Because I hate the thought of you being out of the loop about what’s happening on the Internet.

Warning: There are no “bleeps” in here, so only watch this if you can handle adult language and dirty talk.

Do Overlay Ads Bug You?

February 27, 2008 10:40 AM

Lately I’ve been moonlighting as a contributor to the podcast “This Week in Media.” When we recorded the show last night one of the topics was Google’s Video AdSense product and whether the new product would translate into ads, ads, ads galore all over online video.

I said, “I don’t mind overlays. I don’t mind the type of lower-thirds that appear in an ‘Abigail’s X-Rated Teen Diary,’ for instance.”

But I was alone in that viewpoint. All the other hosts felt ads, even overlay ads, were completely, 100% annoying.

So I was checking out a new online show this morning, www.breakaleg.tv (that’s a new Web sitcom from For Your Imagination), and I noticed that overlay ads run all through the show.

And, again, the ads didn’t bug me in the least.

How do YOU feel about overlay ads?

MobiTV Viewers Like Obama

February 26, 2008 1:00 PM

Mobile TV provide MobiTV has taken on a new role—it’s polling users on their political preferences.

For the week of Feb. 18-22, Mobi polled users who access the mobile service through AT&T, and here’s what it found:

Who is the best Democratic candidate?
Clinton: 42%
Obama 58%

Who is the best Republican candidate?
Huckabee: 14%
McCain: 86%

Whose endorsement is more important?
Arnold Schwarzenegger: 25%
Oprah Winfrey: 75%

Which issue is more important?
Iraq: 28%
Economy: 72%

Which issue is more important?
Economy: 55%
Health Care: 45%

Which issue is more important?
Iraq: 42%
Health Care: 58%

Oscars in 60 Seconds

February 26, 2008 9:40 AM

First it was Steve Jobs’ MacWorld keynote, then George Bush’s State of the Union. Now Mahalo Daily has compressed the Oscars into 60 seconds. Here you go.

How Do You Like Them Apples?

February 25, 2008 8:54 AM

In case you turned off the tube before the Jimmy Kimmel post-Oscars show last night, here’s what you missed.

I could walk you through it or tell you what I thought was funny, but instead let’s let Jimmy Kimmel, Ben Affleck, Cameron Diaz, Harrison Ford and Robin Williams say it all.

'Kimbo' a Big Draw at Break

February 22, 2008 8:17 AM

Break is pretty happy about its original series “What Would Kimbo Do?” The show, which launched earlier this week, features mixed martial artist Kimbo Slice. (How many times as a reporter will I be able to use the term "mixed martial artist"? Probably only once, so I had to write this item.)

Already in its first week the show has generated more than 900,000 views. “This demonstrates our strength in being able to launch original content series, and also the value of a demographically targeted audience in selecting and distributing original content online,” said Keith Richman, CEO of Break Media.

What Would Kimbo Do? Episode 2

FIT to Be Tried

February 21, 2008 6:00 AM

Want to know how to get your advertisers to renew their online video buys?

Do what Crackle.com did.

Crackle says aspiring filmmaker John Kramer, who won $15,000 in a Crackle.com short-film contest, was intrigued by the Honda FIT car he saw advertised on the site's Shorts Channel on the site.

So he took the car for a test drive and used his winnings to purchase one. Then, he went on to make a testimonial video about buying the car:

From Crackle: A FIT PRIZE

Good for John, right?

There’s more. When Honda saw the testimonial video, it extended its ad commitment to the site, Crackle said.

So the way I see it is either John was a “plant,” designed to help the video site snag ad dollars, or the he's greatest example of the power of consumer love for brands.

Crackle.com said it has some of the highest click-through rates on the Web, averaging 1.55% for video advertising.

Wannabe Musicians Woozy Over Site

February 20, 2008 10:40 AM

In my New Media Minute this week, I talked about new developments in music and live online concerts.

But I forgot to tell you about a site called WoozyFly, which, besides having the coolest name, is another venue for emerging artists to showcase their videos and perform live online, in studio and in concert.

WoozyFly also produces original music shows, including “The Set at JSM” and “Live at the Loft.” You can find links to those on the left-hand side of the page.

On the FAQ page, here’s what the site says about bands that want to get on those original shows: “Sign up, log in and submit a video to us and we will have our A&R group evaluate the video and help connect fans to your band.”

Maybe I’ll dust off my old six-string later today, load up Garage Band and submit some tunes to WoozyFly. Now, if the site would just STOP playing videos automatically when you land there. I just don’t want my boss to know I’m trying to be a rock star…

You Scratch My Back, Rhett, Link, iJustine, Gary and Andy Will Scratch Yours

February 19, 2008 10:20 AM

The video blogging world has been built on love—link love. You embed my video, I’ll embed yours. You comment on my site, I’ll comment on yours.

But lately we’re seeing the love go deeper. A number of video bloggers are “appearing” in other video blogs. One of the first examples of this was an appearance by technology blogger extraordinaire iJustine in a Black20 video. Now she’s got a starring role in the latest music video from online comedy duo Rhett and Link. (Yes, by now you all know I love their work!)

Also, wine expert Gary Vaynerchuk of www.winelibrary.tv has appeared on Andy Plesser’s www.Beet.tv in recent days.

I love these loose cross-promotions because they embrace what the video blogging world is all about—word of mouth, viral marketing and the power of the people to push up a video’s views.

Plus, the latest Rhett and Link video also recognizes the power of the viewers. The idea for the video originated from a fan. That’s right: Under the pair’s “Submit a song idea” program on their site www.rhettandlink.com, a fan from Canada urged the two to produce a video on what to do with a dead iPod.

So they wrote a music video. And, since video blogging is their job after all, they decided to see if they could find a sponsor for the video to underwrite their costs of production. They quickly did: a company called www.iResq.com that services iPods.

“They covered some of our upfront costs, and will also pay us based on how successful the video becomes (CPM),” Link told TVWeek via email. “And it was actually their idea to send us a box full of iPods to use in the video.”

So here is the video.

And here’s one of my favorite video bloggers, Andy Plesser, swishing wine like mouthwash with Gary Vaynerchuk.

All you need is love, a sponsor, an iPod, some wine, some embed code…

Monogamy with Network Web Sites, Playing The Field with User-Gen

February 15, 2008 10:19 AM

As you head off into the long weekend to ski or ponder the meaning of the presidency or just to curl up with a bowl of popcorn and an iPod three nights in a row, here are some online video numbers to chew on.

Nielsen Online is now measuring actual video streams across the Internet with its VideoCensus product and found that viewers are often exclusive when it comes to network Web sites, but they like to play the field with their user-generated sites.

Take a look at this chart, which shows the percent of viewer overlap with network Web sites. For example, only 24% of viewers at NBC.com also viewed content on ABC.com.

Network TV Site ABC.com NBC.com CBS Television FOX Broadcasting
ABC.com NA 16% 5% 4%
NBC.com 24% NA 7% 8%
CBS Television 21% 17% NA 10%
FOX Broadcasting 18% 20% 10% NA

But now look at the cross-over viewership of popular user-generated sites with YouTube.

CGM Web Site Viewer Overlap with YouTube
MySpace.com 84%
Veoh 93%
Break.com 87%

Nielsen also found that 116.7 million unique viewers, or 73 percent of active Web users, watched about 6.2 billion video streams in December 2007.

This is Not a Valentine’s Day Blog

February 14, 2008 9:42 AM

I can’t do it. I just can’t do it.

I thought I would bring you some quirky, cute, sweet little selection of online videos related to Valentine’s Day. Maybe a collection of romantic videos from networks and whatnot.

But to do so would just be wrong. It would be a violation of all my principles. And heck, every now and then you have to stand by your principles, right?

And one of those is just pretty much an absolute disdain for Valentine’s Day.

So I am hereby ignoring the day and will instead share with you a Friday Fun Video a day early.

The video is “Jason’s Sweater.” I like this video and think it’s quite “Flight of the Conchordian” funny. It was created by San Francisco advertising agency Hub Strategy to give clients a sense of the agency’s personality. “The idea behind it is to give a feel for the personality of the place without trying to state it outright with words,” the agency’s spokeswoman said in an e-mail.

So here is “Jason’s Sweater:”

I’m McDreamin’ of You

February 13, 2008 6:00 AM

I really am McDreamin’ now that I can, now that I can actually lay my eyes on my McDreamy again. Well, sometime in the next few weeks I hope, once “Grey’s Anatomy” is back up and running.

Along those lines, if you want McDreamy or Izzie, or characters from “Lost” or “Ugly Betty,” to deliver your Valentine’s message tomorrow, then click here for ABC.com’s greeting cards from its characters.

As for me, I’m going for the McSteamy “Let’s Play Doctor” greeting.

Oops, I Forgot Fox News…

February 12, 2008 10:50 AM

God forbid anyone should think I am a leftist, biased journalist. So in an effort to be “fair and balanced” you can check out election news on the Potomac Primary today at www.foxnews.com as well as those other sites I mentioned below.

Potomac Primary Coverage and a Green Valentine's Day

February 12, 2008 8:15 AM

The news networks and their Web sites will be busy again today when Washington, D.C., Virginia and Maryland tee up for the so-called “Potomac Primary.”

You can check out the usual suspects at http://www.cnn.com/ELECTION/2008/ or ABCnews.go.com, for instance.

Or you can set your clock for appointment viewing for 7 p.m. ET, when the Washington Post offers live online video coverage of the day of voting at www.washingtonpost.com/postpoliticstv. The coverage will include Washington-based journalists as well as continuously updated election and poll results. The live video will run from 7 to 10 p.m. ET.

And when you’re done with that, or during a break, you should check out this green guide to Valentine’s Day. I, for one, am usually a humbug on Valentine’s Day, but if I were to actually observe the day, I’d definitely go green with it. You should, too!

Money Pours Into How-to Sites

February 11, 2008 11:09 AM

Today I wrote about the rising popularity of how-to video sites on the Web, a story you can find here.

It turns out great minds think alike. Will Richmond of VideoNuze also wrote about the growth in this area of Web video.

His story includes a nice roll call of who’s backing who and how much money they have poured in. You can check it out at his site, and here’s a recap. Thanks, Will!

VideoJug: $30 million
HowCast: $8 million from Tudor
5Min.com: $5 million from Spark Capital
WonderHowTo.com: undisclosed amount from General Catalyst

Your Friday Fun Video: Cocktails and Kudos

February 8, 2008 9:29 AM

Internet TV production shop ON Networks said four of its shows have been named Best New Video Podcasts of 2007 by Apple iTunes. They join 21 other best new podcast winners.

The ON Networks shows getting props are: “Beautiful Places” on outdoor adventures, “Cocktails on the Fly” on cocktail-making tips, “Food Science” on the mysteries of food and cooking, and “Golf Tips” on improving your golf game.

And since it’s Friday, I’m going to give you a Cocktails on the Fly video right here for a Playboy Bourbon Cooler so you can get the weekend started

Wailing on Winehouse at Lifetime.com

February 7, 2008 10:23 AM

Look, it’s not like I have aspirations to own a hair salon. I don’t. I’m notoriously bad at styling my own hair.

Still, when Lifetime announced Wednesday that its online game “Sally’s Salon” was one of the top-selling games on RealGames last year, especially because Lifetime delivered more than 300,000 downloads of that game on the first month it was posted at www.mylifetime.com, I decided to check it out.

But I couldn’t find the game on the site. (Maybe that’s karma telling me to stay away from even virtual hair-cutting.)

However, I did stumble across a little game to rate the Grammy nominees. I had some fun, as did others evidently, giving several big thumbs-down to Amy Winehouse. You can try it here:


CNN.com Had a Good Super Tuesday

February 6, 2008 4:42 PM

The cable news channel's Web site generated 97 million page views on Tuesday, Feb. 5, the most since its July 1 relaunch.

The news site also lured 11.9 million unique visitors, again the most since its relaunch.

In addition, the site served 2.7 million video streams, including 600,000 live video streams.

Election News Hunt Turns Into Online Shopping Excursion

February 6, 2008 7:52 AM

I went to ABCNews.com this morning to read some follow-up stories on Super Tuesday. I clicked on the video in the right-hand corner, a recap of the Election Day results.

An interesting thing happened. I paid attention to an ad. In fact, I paid attention to two ads. In fact, I paid attention to both the pre-roll and the post-roll.

Because they were so strange, so odd, so seemingly out of place. The pre-roll ad was for the Vermont Teddy Bear and the post-roll spot for a PajamaGram. Both were pitched as Valentine’s gifts for “her.”

Now, I’m used to seeing brand-name advertisers, like Honda or eTrade, on big news Web sites. But an online teddy bear company? A pajama seller?

But still I looked up both Web sites. And now I know that PajamaGram is owned by the Vermont Teddy Bear Company. Because I went to both Web sites after I saw the spots, simply out of sheer curiosity, simply because the products were so different from what I expected to see hawked on a major news site.

(And just in case my husband is reading this: No, this is not a subtle hint for Valentine’s Day.)

What I want to know is what was the last ad you remember seeing online, did you go to the company’s Web site afterwards, and will you get your honey a teddy bear or some jammies now for Valentine’s Day?

News Web Sites Offer Live Super Tuesday Video Coverage

February 5, 2008 10:36 AM

I’m watching live coverage of Super Tuesday right now. And I’m not using my TV.

Shockers, I know. But still, this is pretty cool.

Right now I’m watching CNN’s coverage live online. That’s right—not just video clips, but the actual live coverage. You can go to www.cnn.com/live to see it, too.

The Wall Street Journal plans to offer live video online for the first time ever this evening as part of its extensive coverage of the elections today. Alan Murray, executive editor of www.WSJ.com, and Jerry Seib, Capital Journal columnist and assistant managing editor for the Wall Street Journal, will anchor the site’s hourlong video coverage beginning tonight at 8 p.m. EST. The video coverage will be free and available on the www.wsj.com home page.

ABC News Now is offering live video streaming coverage starting tonight at 7 pm. EST and continuing until at least 12:15 a.m. EST. ABC's Sam Donaldson and Laura Marquez will co-host the coverage. To watch the live streaming tonight, go to http://abcnews.go.com/politics.

In the meantime, you can watch real-time results here: http://abcnews.go.com/politics/elections/map?ref=ipb. Be sure to click on “interactive map.”

Silverman's Surprise Secret Boyfriend

February 4, 2008 12:00 PM

For those of you who haven’t heard by now, I don’t want you to be in the dark a moment longer.

Sarah Silverman dropped a bomb on longtime boyfriend Jimmy Kimmel in this video, and it's the hottest news to hit the celebrity gossip world in a while: She and Matt Damon are involved. And the video proclaiming their bedroom escapades has become one of the fastest-spreading viral videos in recent memory.

I received the video from a network executive on Friday afternoon, back when the video was at 50,000 views. As of Sunday night, it had passed the 2 million view mark. Now that’s viral.

If you haven’t seen it yet, this is the real water-cooler conversation.

Do Web Creators Sell Out When They Partner With Advertisers?

February 4, 2008 8:03 AM

One of the hottest topics in the video blogging world these days is whether a creator should integrate an advertiser into a video.

Some critics call it selling out. Some fans are irritated by mentions of products.

Here’s my take: It’s called making a living. Creators are making a living so fans can be entertained, can laugh, can listen to music. Late last month, Cadillac hired comedy duo Rhett and Link to cover the Sundance Film Festival and to interview stars like William H. Macy and Matthew Perry at the show. Sure, Rhett and Link mentioned Cadillac a lot. They feature the Cadillac Lounge a lot in their videos. But without Cadillac, they wouldn’t have been able to cover the event at all.

Here’s what they had to say in their blog about product integration.

“Obviously, the idea was to integrate the Cadillac brand into genuinely interesting content. We understand that there's a fine line with this whole brand-integration approach, but it's a line we're going to have to walk if we want to continue to bring you regular content online. Since no one is willing to pay for access to web content (I'll bet you a dollar that you wouldn't pay a dollar to access RhettandLink.com), this is how Web personalities like us are going to make a living for the foreseeable future.”

I’m all for supporting them. If you are too, check out their latest video here:

Online Video Guide for Striking Writers

February 1, 2008 12:01 PM

Here’s a great primer for striking writers on video sites and how to make money on online video:


Who Can Predict What Will Happen on 'Lost'?

February 1, 2008 12:06 AM

Now we can see if the Fine Brothers were right.

The duo of online video creators crafted a super-short Web video predicting what would happen in the season opener of ABC’s “Lost” last night. Of course, their parody video, which featured “Lost” action figures as well as cameos from famous bad guys, rocketed up the viral charts this week and had logged more than 380,000 views on YouTube Thursday afternoon, prior to the show’s premiere.

You can view it here:

The video was created by Benny and Rafi Fine. They are in the YouTube partner program and also have been featured on Break, Heavy, Metacafe, Dailymotion, CollegeHumor, IFilm, Crackle, FunnyOrDie, SuperDeluxe and other sites.