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

March 2008 Archives

171 Starbucks ... in One Day

March 31, 2008 6:00 AM

Did you know there are 171 Starbucks stores in Manhattan?

Comedian-filmmaker Mark Malkoff decided to see if it would be possible to visit every Starbucks in the city in a day: That’s one store every seven minutes for at least 20 consecutive hours. The rules were to make a purchase in every store and consume at least part of the product.

Check out this video as Malkoff bicycles through Manhattan getting more and more jacked up on caffeine throughout the day. The best part is about seven minutes into the video, when he hits a couple of snags late at night and has to bribe or try to bribe several Starbucks employees when he hits stores past closing time.

Friday Fun Video: When Harry Potter Meets ‘Lost’

March 27, 2008 11:55 PM

Kudos to online video creators the Fine Bros. for finding a way to mix Harry Potter with “Lost.”

You might recall the Fine Bros. for their previous YouTube hits that are also “Lost” parodies: one mixed “Star Wars” and another “Pirates of the Caribbean” with the TV series. The video below is the third installment in the “Lost” series.

Vaynerchuk Adds Book to Credits

March 27, 2008 8:26 AM

Wine Library TV host Gary Vaynerchuk is the latest Web video star to pen a book.

In May, Rodale Press will release his book “Gary Vaynerchuk: 101 Wines Guaranteed to Inspire, Delight and Bring Thunder to Your World.” The book will include his wine picks for 2008.

You can pre-order it here.

The creators of the Web series “Ask a Ninja” also are working on a book—a ninja handbook—to be released in August.

Young Adult Authors Pioneer YouTube Promos

March 26, 2008 6:00 AM

I’ve got this theory that publishing—book publishing—is going to be one of the next big areas of Web video. I also think it might not be the publishers who lead this “gold rush.” I think it’s going to be the writers.

I know this is a wild and wacky thought, but remember the screenwriter Tim Robbins’ character offed in “The Player?” Well, he said it best with his line: “I can write, what can you do?” (Man, I have been waiting years to work that quote into a blog or a story. I can retire now.) Anyway, the point is, writers can write. Which means they might actually be able to write compelling pieces of Web video.

We’re already seeing this start to happen in the Young Adult genre, which is no surprise since the readers are Web-savvy. For instance, novelist Mandy Morgan started a cute and quirky video blog just last week about the writing process.

What I like about the videoblog is that it’s tongue-in-cheek and not sales-y or self-promotional. “Video blogging is an extremely important—and largely untapped—method of book promotion,” Morgan told me by e-mail. “Young adults are an especially tech-savvy group, so vlogging through YouTube is an excellent marketing tool. Not only that, as many writers spend a lot of time on the Internet, it's a useful networking tool as well.”

(Um, yeah, we do spend a lot of time on the Internet. The truth comes out about writers’ habits.)

Then there’s Jackson Pearce, a HarperCollins author, who is producing clever Web shorts on topics such as connecting with readers and finding the time to write.

Other authors are finding audiences on YouTube, too. Best-selling writer Meg Cabot has logged thousands of views for her humorous videos on writing and on, well, just life.

If you want more info on how some authors and publishers are latching onto Web video, check out our report at WebVideoReport.com.

Lego Indy

March 25, 2008 9:43 AM

Just a quick video today as I am on the road. This one is courtesy of my art director and it’s Indiana Jones with Legos. (Which you know means it’s a preview of the Lego video game.)


MobiTV Asks Whose Cheating Is Worse

March 24, 2008 12:06 AM

Mobile video viewers don’t think too much of a shared Democratic ticket, according to the latest poll from MobiTV. What’s more, they think former New York Gov. Eliot Spitzer’s marital infidelity was more reprehensible than President Bill Clinton’s.

On its “Decision '08” channel on its mobile video service, the carrier asked users if the Democrats should form a “dream ticket” of Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama. Turns out 67% of MobiTV users think that’s a bad idea.

MobiTV also asked whether Mr. Clinton or Mr. Spitzer’s infidelity was worse. And a resounding 83% said Spitzer’s “indiscretion” was the seedier one.

The ongoing survey also reported that 80% of respondents believe the U.S. economy is in a recession.

A Viral Classic Hops Back Into View

March 21, 2008 11:10 AM

Remember the nunchuk-wielding Easter Bunny?

It’s one of the all-time classic viral videos.

So in honor of the holiday, let’s go back in time, get a little retro and relive one of the great moments in the pantheon of viral videos.

Keeping Track of Traffic

March 20, 2008 2:00 PM

By now you probably know that YouTube accounts for one-third of all online videos viewed. That’s according to a comScore report analyzing January Internet traffic.

Here’s the chart showing how the top 10 properties stacked up.

Top U.S. Online Video Properties* by Videos Viewed, January 2008
Total U.S. – Home/Work/University Locations

Property Videos

Share (%) of
Total Internet 9,814,010 100.0%
Google Sites 3,363,335 34.3%
Fox Interactive Media 584,132 6.0%
Yahoo! Sites 315,001 3.2%
Microsoft Sites 199,288 2.0%
Viacom Digital 197,737 2.0%
AOL 118,033 1.2%
Disney Online 95,041 1.0%
Time Warner (excluding AOL) 85,467 0.9%
ESPN 81,402 0.8%
ABC.com 49,017 0.5%

Source: comScore Video Metrix

French Maid Magic

March 19, 2008 10:27 AM

The French Maids are doing magic tricks now.

FrenchmaidTV now carries a new Web show, sort of a companion piece, a spinoff, if you will, of the original French Maid Web series.

The new show is “French Maid Magic” and it’s got lots of, ahem, close-ups.

The show’s executive producer, Tim Street, also tells me the site recently relaunched with a new design, a new ad server to deliver CPA and CPM banner and text ads, and a new gift shop where you can make your own French Maid TV T-shirts.

So check it out for the ad server and the T-shirts and the design. Yeah, right. Just go check it out for the, ahem, close-ups.

End of a Ninja Era?

March 18, 2008 10:26 AM

You can find out pretty much anything from blogs these days. All you have to do is RSS those little suckers and you are in the know.

So here’s what I learned thanks to my RSS for Kent Nichols this morning.

As you know, or as you should know, Nichols is one of the co-creators of the hit Web series “Ask a Ninja” and has been tapped to direct a remake of cult favorite “Attack of the Killer Tomatoes.”

He said in a recent blog post that he and co-creator Doug Sarine may take a break from “Ask a Ninja” after their current contract to produce the Web show runs out.

Check out the post. In addition to their possible Ze Frank/Quit While You’re Ahead suggestion, the post offers great insight into the aspirational path of new media.

On a related note, if you want to follow Kent and Doug’s path and get into feature filmmaking, you may want to check out www.hungryflix.com. It’s a self-service site for filmmakers and producers to upload their flicks.

Richard Lewis Has a Crush on Abigail

March 17, 2008 8:40 AM

Ever wonder what Richard Lewis is up to these days?

Well, besides occasionally playing his unfiltered self on “Curb Your Enthusiasm?”

Well, I can tell you. He’s also giving the love to some of our very own Web video stars.

Mr. Lewis made an appearance on today’s edition of popular Web series “Abigail’s X-Rated Teen Diary.”

Evidently, if Mr. Lewis were to go the other way, he’d want to get it on with Ms. Abi.

Hat’s off to Abigail star and creator Hayden Black for landing a well-known face for an independently produced online comedy.

How the Sausage Gets Made: The Full Interview With Steve Garfield and Me

March 14, 2008 10:11 AM

Some of you may have seen the edited on-camera interview with video blogger Steve Garfield at TVWeek.com earlier this week. And some of you may have seen my New Media Minute from South by Southwest this week that referenced that interview. You can find both here:


Now, I am going to pull back the curtain even more and show you how the sausage got made. That’s because Garfield streamed the entire interview on his Web site. If you want the full, raw, unedited version, here it is:

I Have a Secret: It’s Called ‘Internet Superstar’

March 13, 2008 11:20 AM

So I was flying down to SXSW in Austin on Sunday, enjoying my “smart rite” snack pack, or something like that on United. You know, it’s the one with the can of tuna and a baby-size jar of hummus. Anyway, as much as I wanted to watch “Becoming Jane,” the film the flight was showing, I decided to be a good girl and exercise restraint. Because, really, don’t you think my husband will want to watch James McAvoy with me?

Anyway, I broke out my iPod, which I had pre-loaded with episodes of Revision3’s new show “Internet Superstar.” I hadn’t watched it before, but I liked the idea—it’s all about who’s making it on the Net. So I fired up that bad boy and watched both the 30-minute version of the talk show and also several of the mini three-minute versions of the show.

I was digging it. I like Martin Sargent. He’s pretty bleeping funny. I kind of felt like I had a little secret there on the plane, like I knew something the others didn’t.

Then I realized I don’t want this to be a secret! I want other people on airplanes to watch this show, too. So share my secret:


Vote For Your Favorite Web Comedy

March 12, 2008 1:36 PM

Yahoo Video recently opened voting for its “best series” award, honoring ongoing Web series that helped viewers make it through the writers strike.

The contenders are “The Guild,” “Abigail’s X-Rated Teen Diary,” “WAF: Punchy,” “STBD: Pittsburgh” and “Break a Leg.”

You can vote here:


All Hail the Ninja

March 11, 2008 3:07 PM

The Kent Nichols-Doug Sarine remake of “Attack of the Killer Tomatoes” won’t be a Ninja vehicle. But if you want to know how to be a Ninja when it comes to Web video, look no further than this duo. The co-creators of hit Web show “Ask a Ninja” have snagged a major Hollywood deal.

They’re going to write and direct a remake of the 1970s cult classic for producer M. Dal Walton III. He has brought Emmett/Furla Films, a wholly owned subsidiary of Family Room Entertainment, on board to co-produce

I Don’t Have an Apple

March 11, 2008 10:58 AM

Everyone here has an Apple.

Everyone here has an iPhone.

Everyone here has a tiny little camera.

I am here at the South by Southwest Interactive Conference with my PC, with my Blackberry and a big old-school camera for shooting. Shhh…

But, ha, I have my own cameraman! And he doesn’t even wear fingerless gloves.

I am kicking it old school at SXSW.

I am wearing a hoodie and Chuck Taylors today, though. So they all think I fit in, you know.

Hey SXSW: Ever Hear of an Overflow Room?

March 11, 2008 10:46 AM

So at 11:30 a.m. Central time I headed over to Room 12 at the Austin Convention Center to catch Michael Eisner’s “fireside chat” with Mark Cuban. Like many attendees at South by Southwest, I’ve had a busy schedule. At 11 a.m. I was interviewing Jamison Tilsner, a co-founder of the Web site www.Tilzy.tv.

After I finished that interview, I headed to Room 12. But the room volunteer told me the room was already at capacity. Even for press, I asked? Even for press, she said. “Fire marshal rules,” she added.

I get fire marshal rules. I don’t aim to shirk them. I am totally cool with respecting them.

But hey, SXSW—ever heard of an overflow room?

It’s an extra room where you put all the people who couldn’t fit due to fire rules in the first room. Then you pipe a video feed of the session into that room.

That would have been helpful.

Blogging Is Gateway to Internet

March 10, 2008 3:32 PM

Blog is the word.

Audience measurement firm comScore reported that heavy users of blog sites are significantly more likely than the average Internet user to consume news and entertainment content online.

The study found that the most active 20% of blog visitors (the folks who account for 84% of all time spent on blog sites) are more likely than the average Internet user to consume news and entertainment on the Web. That includes content at politics and general news sites as well as entertainment news, humor and movie sites.

If You’re Not on Twitter, You Are Unspeakably Lame

March 10, 2008 2:53 PM

I am in the epicenter of Twitter. And yet I am not Twittering.

Shame on me. I am embarrassed at my lack of early adopter-ness, at my absence of with-it-ness.

I am at the South by Southwest Interactive Festival in Austin, Texas, right now—this is the epicenter of indie Web hipness. Everyone here is Twittering. They Twittered during the keynote Sunday with Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerburg, expressing their displeasure with how the interview was conducted. And they Twitter during the day to tell their “followers” that they’ve added a new video, updated their blog or are now streaming live. That’s how the Twitter-ers get the word out about their online video world.

So here’s the thing. I am on Twitter. But I don’t make such extensive use of it. Should I? Do you want my Twitter updates? Or do you prefer this blog to be unspeakably lame?

How to Quit Your Day Job to Video Blog

March 10, 2008 11:53 AM

Tim Shey of Next New Networks hosted a panel Saturday at South by Southwest on how to make a job out of videoblogging. His panelists included successful video bloggers and Web stars Lindsay Campbell, Zadi Diaz, Bre Pettis and Lisa Donovan (LisaNova).

Here’s the video from the panel:

MobiTV Poll Shows Youth Favors Obama

March 10, 2008 8:38 AM

MobiTV viewers are still digging Barack Obama more than Hillary Clinton, according to the latest MobiTV poll. But the poll results run from Feb. 13 to March 6, concluding just two days after the big Texas and Ohio primaries that Clinton won, so results may shift if she picks up more momentum.

MobiTV is a mobile video carrier, so its users skew young. And they favor Obama quite a bit.

The poll results said 64% of MobiTV viewers think Obama is the best Democratic candidate while 36% think Clinton is. That’s a change from late February, when 58% favored Obama and 42% favored Clinton.

Here are the rest of the results from the Feb. 13-March 6 MobiTV Decision '08 channel.

Who is the best Republican candidate? Huckabee 13%, McCain 87%.  

Whose endorsement is more important? Arnold Schwarzenegger 48%, Oprah Winfrey 52%.  

Which issue is more important? Iraq 50%, Economy 50%.  

Which issue is more important? Economy  80%, Health Care 20%.  

Which issue is more important? Iraq 38%, Health Care 62%.

BlogTalkRadio on Books and Such

March 7, 2008 6:00 AM

Since I’ve been writing and talking about books and the Web in recent days, I thought I’d end the week on a final book note. Or perhaps that should be footnote.

Yesterday we talked about new Web shows featuring authors, while this week’s New Media Minute took an in-depth look at publishers’ efforts to embrace Web video.

There’s also BlogTalkRadio, a Web service that operates as a sort of call-in radio show for the Web and frequently features author interviews. The site is a radio platform for now, but BTR tells me it’s experimenting with live video, so we may see the site move into Web video down the road.

The site attracted 2.3 million listeners in January, up 35% since it came out of beta in November. You might have heard of the service because a number of current and former presidential candidates have appeared on BlogTalkRadio, including John McCain, Mike Huckabee, Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama.

The site also has hosted a number of authors and celebrities: www.blogtalkradio.com/bestofbtr.aspx.

BTR also tells me it’s having discussions with publishers who would set up “stations” on BTR to promote new books coming out via author interviews.

If you want a sampling of what BTR is right now, check out this interview with my current favorite author, who wrote the amazing book “The Opposite of Love.”

Her name is Julie Buxbaum and here is the interview:


TitlePage and Mania on Books and Bock

March 6, 2008 11:01 AM

Publishing has never been the fastest business.

Nor has it been the quickest industry to adapt to Web video. But we’re starting to see publishers try their hand at using online video to market their books. And we’re also seeing online TV shows—not connected to publishing houses—crop up about books.

The newest example is Titlepage.tv, which launched this week.

The centerpiece of the site is this week’s roundtable interview with authors Richard Price, Charles Bock, Susan Choi and Colin Harrison. Former Random House Editor Daniel Menaker hosts the show, which is sort of PBS meets C-SPAN meets the Web.

It’s nearly an hour, which is WAY long for online. But what I like about Titlepage is that if you can’t sit through the full show, you can easily skip to different sections with different authors, courtesy of Viddler’s technology.

New episodes will post every other week. Titlepage expects to run six episodes and then likely will resume in the fall, Mr. Menaker said.

“We feel with all the potential for exchange online, and interactivity with downloading and podcasting a book, that a good interesting conversation show about books works especially because it can be chapterized,” he said. “There are about 1 million really serious active readers. It’s those kinds of passionate readers who want to see the writers they read, see what their personalities are like.”

ManiaTV.com also covers books from time to time. ManiaTV host Dave Navarro also recently interviewed Mr. Bock, right here.

Here’s the Titlepage episode.

Getting the Lowdown on Online Video Contests

March 5, 2008 12:09 PM

All you video creators out there might want to check out the site http://www.onlinevideocontests.com.

It’s a one-stop shop for information on online video contests, from the stuff marketers offer to contests on video-sharing sites.

There are contests with financial awards, prizes and honors, including one prize valued at $900,000. You can produce PSAs for “Debt Disease,” the next great horror flick or a video for Tracfone, for instance.

Thanks to Tilzy.tv for the heads up.

I Am Officially a Geek

March 4, 2008 11:55 AM

I crossed the line today.

I officially became an Internet video geek.

Here’s how it happened.

I was scheduled to interview Irina Slutsky, the frontwoman for Web show Geek Entertainment TV this morning for a story on women in online video.

At the start of the call, she said, “Hey, want to watch my new episode with me?”

I shook the phone a couple of times in case I’d heard her wrong. I’ve never watched a movie or TV show while on the phone with someone, and I’d certainly never watched an Internet show that way. “What?”

She repeated herself.

I responded, “I don’t think I’ve quite crossed that geek line yet.”

She added, “How about we just watch a minute?”

Then I thought, “What the heck?”

So we actually counted down—3, 2, 1—on the phone and then hit play on the Web video at the same time.

Of course, the episode was so funny we watched the full show together. On the phone. Yep. I am that person now.

So here’s the episode.

Keeping Current With Music

March 4, 2008 11:50 AM

Hey, it’s a double blog day!

I have to mention this new Current TV show on music that debuts tonight at 7 p.m. Pacific. It’s called “The Fix Extended Play” and you can see a preview here:

The show focuses on emerging musical talent and is designed to give viewers a look at up-and-coming performers. Tonight’s episode will showcase Portland, Ore.-based punk rock band the Thermals, U.K. electro-pop band Hot Chip and Celtic punk band Dropkick Murphys.

The show will run on the Current cable channel and also on Current’s Web site at www.current.com.

Oscar on Interactive TV

March 3, 2008 8:59 AM

What good is a blog if you can’t pimp your friends’ projects?

So allow me to pimp Mitch Oscar right now. He’s the executive VP of digital at Carat and one of the leading new-media and interactive TV advertising experts in the world. Yes, the whole wide world!

He’s written a book on interactive TV, "Trials and Defibrillations: Interactive Television in the U.S." (Well, more like a report you have to buy.) If you want some good intel on the ITV market, go here to get the book:

Here's the description you will find there:

Need to know how to address addressable TV advertising?

Demand more about video-on-demand?

Need a guide to interactive program guides?

Want to set the record straight on digital video recording?

If you answered yes to any of the above questions, then you need a copy of “Trials & Defibrillations: Interactive Television in the U.S.,” the definitive resource for understanding the burgeoning interactive TV marketplace. Authored by interactive television guru Mitch Oscar, “Trial & Defibrillations” is the ultimate reference manual on everything you need to know from addressable advertising to interactive program guides, plus case studies, best practices and practical applications that are transforming TV from a “lay-back” to a “lean-forward” medium.

A comprehensive vivisection of each of the dominant categories in the United States—addressable television advertising, video-on-demand, the interactive program guide and the digital video recorder—“Trials & Defibrillations provides a detailed overview for any interactive TV strategy, including:

  * Analysis of the major players within each realm

  * Reviews of their advertising propositions

  * Direction learning from specific trial developments