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

April 2008 Archives

Let’s Meet Our Contestants

April 30, 2008 6:00 AM

And now, ladies and gentlemen, fair voters around the nation, let’s meet our contestants.

First up, we have Jeff Macpherson, star and creator of one of the first podcasts ever, “Tiki Bar TV,” going up against Tom Merritt, the host and resident tech geek of CNET TV’s “Buzz Out Loud.”

Next, average-Joe wine guy and social media sommelier Gary Vaynerchuk squares off against the square but adorable Adam Roberts, star of FoodNetwork.com’s “The Amateur Gourmet.”

Then there’s “Internet Superstar’s” Martin Sargent, who takes viewers through the wildest Web sites and Web stars around, duking it out with Josh Huck of “Searchin’ USA” as he checks out interesting searches on the Web.

After that, you’ll find the two hosts of “Diggnation” battling each other. “Diggnation” is one of the granddaddies of Web shows and features Alex Albrecht and Kevin Rose sitting on a couch, drinking beer and reviewing the week’s most “dugg” stories.

Next comes Michael Somerville, Glamour magazine’s former “Ask Jake,” fighting against “DadLabs” co-star Troy Lanier. Somerville’s “Love, Somerville” Web show features relationship advice, while Lanier dispenses child-rearing tips for new dads on his show.

Then there are the tech gurus, Leo LaPorte and Merlin Mann. LaPorte is one of the first podcasters ever and the creator of the popular “TWiT” audio podcasts; he also fronts several video shows. Mann is on “The Merlin Show” and “MacBreak.”

We also have Chris Leavins of the show “Cute With Chris” a show about cute kittens and puppies. Awww. He’s clashing with “Philip DeFranco,” the Web’s current incarnation of Ze Frank and the star of his own “The Philip DeFranco Show,” an edgy look at pop culture.

Finally, “Indy Mogul’s” Erik Beck faces “Green House TV’s” Eric Gunnar Rochow, in a skirmish that pits the MacGyver of special effects against the male Martha Stewart, but with a green consciousness.

Read More »

Hot Male Web Hosts Gone Wild!

April 29, 2008 9:11 AM

Due to the supreme level of audience demand, I have opened a wild-card slot in the New Media Minute-TVWeek Tournament for the Hottest Male Web Host.

That’s right, folks. ONE wild-card slot for a write-in candidate.

To refresh you on how the rules work, we currently have 16 contestants divided into eight pairings of head-to-head battles in this first round. By Friday, the eight winners will move on to the second round. We will add one more contestant in the wild-card slot to make nine in the final round.

So far, David Price of Black20 is leading for the wild-card spot. His benefactors at Black20 submitted his name as a write-in candidate on Monday morning. I promptly responded that if I received at least 25 comments right here on this blog that I would strongly consider him as a write-in/wild-card candidate. And you know what? Those scrappy dudes at Black20 posted a note in their forum, rallied the troops and provided the aforementioned 25 comments.

After I watched this video of David Price in his Speedo, I can see why he would qualify. (And remember, folks, I am an expert on objectifying male Web hosts.)

But in the interest of fairness, we’ll need to open this wild-card slot to the whole wide world. So here are the rules. The write-in candidate with the most comments on his behalf on this blog post will be added to the final round of voting.

The other candidates are listed below, so please keep voting. And remember, I’m not the only one doing this. Here’s a contest for sexiest weather girls.

Hot or Not: Who Is the Sexiest Male Web Host?

April 25, 2008 1:12 PM

I have always believed in equal opportunity objectification of the sexes, so I am hosting the first annual New Media Minute-TVWeek.com tournament for the Hottest Male Web Host. This tournament is Sweet 16 style, with head-to-head competition in eight initial pairings. Vote now in the first round, which ends Friday May 2. After that we'll start the next round of battles as we march forward to crowning the first ever New Media Minute-TVWeek Hottest Male Web Host! Here are the categories:

Cho’s Open Secret

April 25, 2008 10:07 AM

Want to know how to have an open marriage?

Listen to Margaret Cho talk about how she does it during her appearance on Dave Navarro’s popular Web talk show “Spread Entertainment” on ManiaTV.

Here’s your Friday Fun Video, as the former Jane’s Addiction guitarist shares lunch and open marriage tips with the comedian.

Dave Navarro's Spread TV: Margaret Cho's Open Marriage

Powered by maniaTV.com

And you can watch the show segment here.

Helping PopSiren Girls Beat the Digg Boys

April 24, 2008 10:26 AM

I’m big into girl power. So when the hosts of Revision3’s “popSiren” asked me—yes, me, I know they were talking to me—last night on a recent episode to go to Adagio Teas and buy their blends so they could beat the “Diggnation” boys in tea sales, I was all over that.

So I bought some Dr. Kiki’s blend called “Tea-Pothesis.”

Look, you can all give me a hard time and say I’m a victim of marketing, since Adagio Teas is a sponsor of “popSiren,” but I already drink tea. Like 10 cups a day! So there…

Anyway, here’s the link if you’re similarly inclined to boost the tea sales for the popSiren gals: http://www.adagio.com/popsiren/

(See that 30-sale marker? It was 29 for Dr. Kiki before my purchase. Man, am I making a difference in the world!)

Oh, and here’s their cool show.

Tracking TV’s Top Web Sites

April 23, 2008 10:32 AM

Want to know the most popular TV show Web sites?

Well, I will tell you. Just last week, the most popular TV show site—no surprise—was “American Idol” with a whopping 29% of Internet visits to TV show sites for the week ending April 19, according to online audience measurement firm Hitwise.

“Big Brother 9” came in second with a little more than 7% of the market share of visits to TV sites for the week, while “Dancing With the Stars” was third with just about 7%.

As for the networks, Fox took the top spot that week with 26% of the visits to broadcast network sites, followed by CBS with 23%; ABC with nearly 23%; and NBC with 22%.

Keeping It Green

April 22, 2008 10:26 AM

It’s Earth Day, so don’t feel guilty about watching online videos, especially since watching them doesn’t contribute much to your carbon footprint.

But do check out YouTube’s home page today—the featured videos are dedicated to green-friendly content, with videos on eating locally, solar power, veggie-fueled cars and eco-friendly shopping bags. Here’s one I particularly like on eating locally produced food.

If you want green content more regularly (hey, that’s the whole point of Earth Day), online TV studio For Your Imagination has created an “eco-conscious social entertainment network,” which it’s launching today. FYI partnered with Web video creator Eric Gunnar Rochow to launch “Real World Green” and “GardenFork” today.

Here’s an episode of “Real World Green” to get you started, all about office recycling.

Refurbished and Remanufactured Items are the new Green Thing
by: vPIP
Embed (copy & paste):

On Book Trailers, Book Vlogs, Book Videos

April 21, 2008 6:00 AM

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: Book publishing is going to be the next area that gets hip to online video. Already we’re seeing signs of publishers and authors experimenting in this area, and I really think it’s going to explode in the next year or two.

To back up my point, let me show you some new videos from authors. Horror and sci-fi author Scott Sigler has generated 7,000 views for his book trailer for “Infected,” which was released earlier this month. That’s not too shabby for a book trailer on YouTube.

I also had the chance to speak with Ori Brafman recently. He’s the co-author of the book “Sway,” to be published in June. On the book’s site Swaybook.com, the page is all about Flash video for now. The fact that a book’s Web site is so video-centric is an important sign.

Brafman told me, “Especially on a Web site, writing can be really boring. It’s a lot easier to get the story down in a two-minute video than the typical marketing-speak on a Web site.”

As an aside, though, I wish there was a way to stop the intro video on the site if I wanted to.

But online video and publishing won’t just be about book trailers and book promos. We’re starting to see savvy authors use videoblogging to help get their names out there in advance of publication. I like the efforts by young adult authors Jackson Pearce and Mandy Morgan because their videos are about writing, not about their own books. Which sort of turns them into experts, who share information and insight. So here are their latest video blogs.

(Thanks for the shout-out, Mandy!)

And let’s not forget TurnHere’s site, which is full of author videos.

Wine Wisdom on Your Bookshelf

April 18, 2008 6:00 AM

Remember when Mel Gibson won the director Oscar for “Braveheart?” And he said, “Like most directors, I suppose what I really want to do now is act”?

Well, it turns out all these Web video stars are just wannabe writers!

Gary Vaynerchuk, host of Wine Library TV (tv.winelibrary.com), is going to be an author, too. Because who doesn’t want a little old-school fame, a little pen-and-paper notoriety?

He made the announcement this week on his Web show and you can check out his book “Gary Vaynerchuk's 101 Wines Guaranteed to Inspire, Delight and Bring Thunder to Your World” on May 13 or pre-order via the link.

So there you go. More proof everyone really just wants to be a writer after all.

Christina Is Samantha

April 17, 2008 6:00 AM

Did you ever see Christina Aguilera do Samantha on "Sex and the City"?

OK, so it’s Saturday night and nothing’s on, so we come across an old episode of “SNL” on E! Christina Aguilera was the host back in 2004 and she played Samantha in this sketch imagining the final episode of “Sex and the City.”

We watched it several times, and then I decided it was so funny it had to be on the Internet somewhere, someplace, even though the episode first aired well before the YouTube revolution. And vive la Internet, because we found it on AOL Video.

This is the best video ever and the best impersonation of anyone I have ever seen. Christina is Samantha.

NBC Loves Arcade Fire

April 16, 2008 9:51 AM

I usually hate those cheesy, over-edited, oh-too-happy video montages that companies put together for their executives to show in advance of a keynote presentation.

You know what I mean: The video clips about how cable loves you and has saved the world, or how broadcast networks bring us closer together into one big happy worldwide family.

Usually they just make you want to retch. But every now and then you see hints of coolness.

Like the fact that this morning’s opening video montage from NBC Universal at the Ad:Tech conference in San Francisco included an Arcade Fire song in the background.

NBCU’s chief digital officer, George Kliavkoff, spoke in a keynote session at the ad conference this morning and presented one of those short video intros for the 2008 Beijing Olympics. And about 30 seconds into the video, the background soundtrack shifted to Arcade Fire’s “Rebellion (Lies)” from its 2004 album Funeral.

Since Arcade Fire is my favorite band, I have now decided that NBC and the Olympics are exceedingly cool.

Kind of like when I decided Justin Timberlake might be worth listening to after his “Dick in a Box” turn.

Don’t Believe Everything You See

April 16, 2008 6:00 AM

Esquire ran a story earlier this month on Internet video hoaxes. The story debated whether some of the popular viral videos were really just fakes, dummied up in a digital age.

That story (and sadly, the videos embedded in it have all been taken down) reminded me of video I received from a PR firm earlier this week featuring Rupert Murdoch in a tirade. Do you think it’s a real or fake?

Apparently the Web world was all atwitter over its authenticity, but yes, folks, it’s a fake—though a darn good one, I’d say.

It appears the video was created by Wall Street Journal Parody, a parody magazine of the Wall Street Journal, created by several humorists.

So there you go.

Notes From NAB

April 15, 2008 9:57 AM

If you want to check out the Tim Robbins f-bomb keynote speech from the National Association of Broadcasters convention, here is the video on the Web site of AR&D, the local-media strategy company. Thanks to Steve Safran, who shot the video and alerted us.

That Chocolate Rain Guy Is Back

April 15, 2008 9:01 AM

Another great story by my friends over at TilzyTV on a new production launching Wednesday from Warner Brothers Studio 2.0.

Check out the Tilzy link above for all the good details, but suffice to say the show looks like a serial spoof of the viral video business. Plus, we’ll be seeing one of my favorite Web stars again soon – Tay Zonday of Chocolate Rain fame. Check out this link for his cameo.

YouTube Users Search Blue

April 11, 2008 11:57 AM

Wow … here’s the big news today, folks, and it’s a shocker: Sex is the top search term on the YouTube site, according to research firm Compete.

I know, I know. You thought it was cute kittens or dogs on skateboards.

But nope. It’s the blue content everyone wants to see on the world’s biggest video site.

Here’s the complete list of top 25 search terms on YouTube.

Thanks to NewTeeVee for the tip: http://newteevee.com/2008/04/10/sex-and-hip-hop-top-youtube-searches/

The Funniest Reality TV Parody on the Web

April 10, 2008 2:26 PM

I can’t keep this show to myself.

You all have to watch “Cleveland’s Next Top Model.” It’s from Fremantle Media’s Atomic Wedgie TV. I shared the first episode earlier this week. Here are the next two and I hope you’ll laugh too.

Talent Helps

April 9, 2008 10:12 AM

You know how Web video is all about being edgy and cool and maybe a little unpolished?

And yeah, that whole garage look and feel can work for a while, both for the host and the video.

But checking out this clip from a former on-air TV reporter who’s fashioning a new career as a mom expert in the online-video world reminds me of how nice it is to see people who really know how to be on camera.

It’s called presence, and Lizzie Bermudez has it. Check out this clip.

Taking a Bite Out of Apple TV

April 8, 2008 10:43 AM

I watched “Cleveland’s Next Top Model” on My Apple TV

That’s right. I have an Apple TV.

And I love it.

Because now I never have to be separated from YouTube or iTunes by anything as annoying as not wanting to spend another freaking second on my computer!

Anyway, my husband just set the Apple TV up yesterday and there are still a few tweaks needed here and there. Like, for instance, I told him I didn’t want to unplug the DVD player every time I want to use the Apple TV because you decided to use the same cord. Buy another cord!

But I digress. The point is now I can watch YouTube from my couch. Is there anything better than that? Now I can watch podcasts and Webcasts and Web video shows in iTunes from my couch with a bowl of popcorn in hand.

So I did yesterday, watching Arcade Fire on YouTube, then a little “Internet Superstar” on iTunes and then back to YouTube for Atomic Wedgie’s new Web comedy series, “Cleveland’s Next Top Model.” Now I’m going to go watch the second episode on my Apple TV, but if you don’t have one you can watch the first episode right here.

Catching Up With ABC's Returning Shows

April 7, 2008 8:14 AM

ABC.com is offering several catch-up Web quickies to get you back in the mood for returning scripted shows later this month.

The network says you can catch up with brief overviews of shows like “Brothers & Sisters,” “Desperate Housewives,” “Grey’s Anatomy,” “Lost,” “Samantha Who?” and “Ugly Betty” on ABC.com

As for me, I’ll be checking out the "Grey’s Anatomy" Quick Cut.

Your Friday Fun Video

April 4, 2008 10:24 AM

I’m off today, but that doesn’t mean I am slacking off in my responsibilities to supply you with fun and interesting video content.

Check out this video from CurrentTV that pokes fun at the online video offerings from financial magazines and newspapers, pointing out how financial reporters handle baldness, report in gusts and laugh at strange moments.

“Viral Video Film School” is part of “Infomania,” which debuts as its own half-hour show beginning April 10.

She’s *&@ing Obama?

April 3, 2008 10:38 AM

This video landed on YouTube on April Fools Day, but you won’t be Rick-rolled when you click on it. In fact, this may be one of the best parodies ever of Sarah Silverman’s famous viral video about Matt Damon. Only this one is a mash-up of comments from presidential hopefuls Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama set to Silverman’s tune … with slightly different words.

Will it Blend Glows in the Dark

April 3, 2008 6:00 AM

It’s been a while since you’ve been treated to a Will It Blend video. That’s the series of amazingly cool videos from Blendtec that satisfy our primal urge to watch things be destroyed. In this case, all sorts of objects meet their demise in a blender.

The most recent object to pass the blend test? A handful of glow-in-the-dark sticks. Check out this video as Blendtec CEO Tom Dickson purees the glow sticks into a neon green mess. Turn out the lights!

LonelyGirl15 Star Returns to Web

April 2, 2008 10:55 AM

The star of the first big breakout Web series, “LonelyGirl15’s” Jessica Rose, is returning to the Web in a new series from 60 Frames Entertainment.

Rose will star in “Blood Cell.” Here is the trailer: http://www.deadcelldeadfriend.com/

Cleaning Up

April 2, 2008 6:00 AM

Hey there…have you guys seen this video on the cute girl from Tiki Bar getting into the shower?

Ha, you’ve been rickrolled!