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

May 2008 Archives

‘Sex’ and the Video Spoof

May 30, 2008 9:58 AM

This is going to be the first of many “Sex and the City” movie spoofs.

Since the movie opens today, here’s a parody that imagines the girls as buff bodybuilders, courtesy of the site Heavy.com.

And here’s one imagining the quartet as average-looking ladies, courtesy of Web shop 60 Frames.

Indiana Jones Was a Swinger

May 29, 2008 10:28 AM

It’s not hard to get me to watch any Indiana Jones video. I’m on the record having declared my allegiance to the man in the fedora. I even referred to Indiana Jones once on Twitter as the greatest movie character ever. Yep, that’s how serious my love for him is: I Twittered it.

So when Black20.com sent me a link to an Indiana Jones video, I was all over it.

This short video is a classic movie mash-up: clever, unusual and not like all the others. The pop culture references and the swinging theme offer a fresh take on my hero.

NBC Not Too Big to Run a Web Contest

May 28, 2008 10:20 AM

So you want to be a TV star?

Here’s the latest contest for you. And it’s not too shabby. No sirree. You don’t just get a new camcorder or $5,000 in editing equipment. It’s a chance to be a host on an NBC local station.

NBC-owned KNBC-TV in Los Angeles is looking for a host for its new show “1stLook LA,” which runs on Saturday evenings at 7:30 p.m. The show covers the best of nightlife, shopping, wellness and dining in Los Angeles. KNBC is soliciting audition videos on its site: http://www.lxtv.com/ishouldhost. The contest runs May 17 to June 14.

What’s interesting to me about this contest is that it’s NBC. It’s NBC, folks! It’s not just YouTube or DailyMotion hosting a contest. This is big media, big broadcasters getting swept up in the contest madness! Oh, what has our precious big media world with its big gates come to? It’s opening up, imitating the little guys, the indies.

Is nothing sacred?

(Actually, I think this is a good thing!)

Dear Diary: Today My Podcast Got Its First Report Card

May 27, 2008 9:37 AM

I have officially arrived.

Yep, it happened today.

In fact, I am going to mark this day in my diary.

Dear Diary:

Today, the New Media Minute received its first ever review.

So watch this episode of Jim Kirks’ “The Clip Show.” And Jim: mea culpa, mea culpa, mea maxima culpa. I am giving you an honorary “Hot Male Web Host” award.

CNET Brings CBS to the Hulu Dance

May 21, 2008 7:55 AM

CBS is on Hulu.

Well, kind of.

You can find CNET content on Hulu.com, and CBS is in the process of acquiring CNET. Ergo, CBS is on Hulu.

At any rate, I bring this up as a reason to share some figures that Hulu is now sharing. The NBC-Fox online video joint venture is boasting in its email newsletter that it’s leading all network Web sites in total video streams and engagement time.

Hulu delivered more than 63 million video streams in April and its users are watching more than two hours of Hulu content each month, according to Nielsen Online figures provided by Hulu.

Hulu also said it added a subscription feature that sends email alerts when new videos are available; it also lets users send video from Hulu to MySpace, Facebook or Digg.

I’m Hosting 'This Week in Media'!

May 20, 2008 7:44 AM

Today’s blog is dedicated to shameless self-promotion. Be sure to listen to this week’s edition of the audio podcast “This Week in Media.” I’m already a regular weekly contributor, but this week I’m hosting the whole shebang! And here’s a link to listen/subscribe using iTunes.

In other news, are you listening to your kids? Because kids are influencing their parents when it comes to new-media buying decisions, according to a study released this week by Motorola. The study looks at the behavior of young adults, ages 16 to 27, regarding consumer technology and media consumption.

The study found that:

—71% have influence over parental decisions about cable, DSL or satellite-dish services, including young people who no longer live with their parents.

—62% have influence over which HDTV set and programming package to buy.
—70% feel their expectations and demands are far greater than their parents’ for rich media experiences (such as mobile TV or video) and on-the-go broadband access.

This generation also wants content when they want it, not on someone else’s schedule. The study found that:

—84% expressed interest in archived TV programs and movies available on-demand.

—87% would find it appealing to watch programming in areas of their home where they don’t have a TV.

—86% have interest in being able to pause a TV program in one room and resume play in another room in the house.

—83% have interest in the ability to download TV programs from a DVR to a memory device for use on mobile players.

Amanda Is Back

May 19, 2008 11:00 AM

If you’re in the know with Web video, you know Amanda is back.

Amanda, who really can go by only her first name online, is Amanda Congdon. She’s the first breakout video blogger, thanks to her stint as the first host of “Rocketboom,” and she’s busy now doing her new online variety show “Sometimes Daily.”

OK, so her show is technically in beta right now, but you can check it out at www.sometimesdaily.com and it’s a good thing it’s in beta, because it only sometimes works.

If you go to the site itself, the video is really hard to watch. But if you click around on the links for Vimeo and Blip, the videos play just fine on those sites.

The new show is basically Amanda and her cohorts exploring topics ranging from news, politics and the environment to money, fitness and technology.

Sometimes an insider becomes an outsider from Sometimesdaily on Vimeo.

Subtle Brand Marketing Works

May 16, 2008 9:40 AM

Savvy marketers are getting hip to creating branded entertainment for the Web. Advertisers are learning that when it comes to the Web, you can’t just disseminate your own message. To be successful, you need to produce—gasp—interesting content and then step back a bit.

Like this new travel-video Web site CitiesbyFoot. The site consists of a series of well-produced videos on places to eat, shop and play in cities such as Aspen, Las Vegas and New Orleans. It’s sort of a mini-version of “$40 a Day,” the Food Network show starring Rachael Ray.

Turns out the site is produced by footwear maker Crocs. But what works about the site is that the information is useful. The videos aren’t infomercials for the shows. They are, instead, useful travel videos that just happen to be sponsored by a brand.

The site was conceived and produced by Tom Flanagan, CEO of Red Robot, which also has worked with General Motors, Sun Microsystems, MTV and others.

YouTube Insight Offers Demographic Info

May 15, 2008 10:48 AM

YouTube just can’t stop adding features to its service, it seems.

A couple days after introducing its buzz-targeting tool, YouTube announced today that it has added demographic features to YouTube Insight, the recently introduced feature that lets YouTube users view detailed statistics about the videos they upload.

The demographics information breaks down views by age group, gender or a combo of the two. The information is anonymous and aggregated, YouTube said.

And just so you have a visual with today’s blog, here’s the first installment in “The Hiltons,” the video For Your Imagination is producing for TV Guide Broadband.

The Moment You’ve All Been Waiting For

May 14, 2008 12:02 PM

And the winner is…

YouTube Product Follows the Buzz

May 13, 2008 11:16 AM

YouTube introduced a product today called “buzz targeting,” which tracks videos about to go viral and pairs them with ads.

It’s something Google CEO Eric Schmidt hinted at earlier this month on CNBC when he talked about new products coming out soon.

The new product predicts which videos are most likely to go viral by measuring acceleration of views, favorites and ratings activity. The service then allows advertisers to target their ads specifically to these videos on YouTube.

“Every advertiser hopes that their campaign will be the next big viral hit online, and they come to YouTube to reach the millions of video viewers who are on the site every day,” Shiva Rajaraman, YouTube product manager, said in a statement. “Buzz targeting lets them do both at the same time. They associate their brand with the hottest content of the day while reaching the most engaged users in our community.”

Lionsgate has used buzz targeting to promote the release of its film “The Forbidden Kingdom,” with ads running against more than 500 of the most popular partner videos in music and entertainment, including content from major music labels and videos from users in the YouTube, the video site said.

I like this tool because it has the potential to bring more advertisers into YouTube and because it’s a “smart” tool. It’s real-time and it’s about following the consumer and the videos that consumers are watching.

In related news, if you are looking for more information on Google’s Video Ad Sense, placing ads in online video and the trends in this business, check out this video from an Ad:Tech session. It’s about an hour long, but it features Google product managers discussing trends and how-to issues for online video ads.

Yahoo Web Series Draws 4 Million Views a Day

May 12, 2008 10:46 AM

Yahoo has found a way to bolster its Web video traffic in a big way.

The portal hit a high last week of 4 million streams per day for its new Web show “Primetime in No Time,” Beet.TV reported today.

Wow. That, folks, is an eye-popping number. I don’t have to do the math for you, but that translates into possibly 20 million views a week. How happy do you think Verizon is right now? (It’s sponsoring the show.)

If Yahoo is reporting accurately, that’s an amazing number of views for an online TV show. And it could be a clear sign of the trajectory for Web video (Hint: up, way up), especially in light of today’s New York Times article about the loss of 6 million prime-time TV watchers this year.

“Primetime in No Time” is a recap of what was on television the night before, along the lines of TV shows like E!’s “The Soup” and VH1’s “Best Week Ever.” The show launched in March.

Here is Beet.TV’s interview with Yahoo’s Karen Gilford, VP and general manager of entertainment at Yahoo.

The Polls Are Closed!

May 9, 2008 10:15 AM

The polls are closed. We will announce the winner of the first ever New Media Minute TVWeek.com Tournament for the Hottest Male Web Host on Wednesday May 14.

Hot or Not: LAST DAY to Vote!

May 8, 2008 9:07 AM

Today is the last full day of voting. C’mon boys! What will you do to represent? How will you get the fans to turn it on for you and send you to victory in the tournament? Now is the time to pull out all the stops and put your best tactics into play.

Hot or Not: Somerville Steps It Up

May 7, 2008 3:08 PM

OK, so this Somerville dude. He is mega-determined to win the New Media Minute-TVWeek.com Tournament for the Hottest Male Web Host. Check out this video he just shot this afternoon taking his case to the streets of New York.

Will all you other contestants do the same?

Meet the Hot or Not Dark Horse

May 7, 2008 10:14 AM

So what everyone really wants to know these days is who the heck is Michael Somerville?

Because right now he is one of the top two contenders for the Hottest Male Web Host. And nobody seems to know him. Yet enough people seem to know him that he’s often leading in the votes, jockeying back and forth with Captain Speedo—aka David Price of “The Middle Show”—and Leo Laporte.

So who is this dark horse?

Well, you might not yet know him from his online persona. But I bet some of the ladies who read my blog will know him from his other life. He's Jake from Glamour magazine! You know … “Ask Jake,” the guy who gives you the guy’s perspective on relationships.

And that’s sort of what he does in his new show “Love, Somerville.” It’s a tongue-in-cheek series on relationships and it can be quite funny at times. Just check out this recent episode, especially when he breaks up with his girlfriend via a puppy greeting card.

How to Win the Hot Web Host Prize

May 6, 2008 9:41 AM

So you want to be crowned the Web’s sexiest male host?

I’ve got one for you on how to win: Twitter.

Twitter, the online messaging service, is quite possibly the most powerful social marketing tool.

Leo Laporte, the host of This Week in Tech, is leading in our polls by a commanding margin. His good looks and charming personality notwithstanding, he’s also got Twitter in his favor. When you use Twitter, you post short updates on the service and those updates are read by your followers. People sign up to follow you and over time, if your Tweets are good and you’re enough of an online draw, you can amass a decent following. Leo Laporte has done just that.

He is ranked as the Twitter user with the second most followers. More than 28,000 people follow him and receive his short Twitter updates. So when he Twitters about the New Media Minute-TVWeek.com Tournament for the Hottest Male Web Host (as he did yesterday, God bless him), many of those followers came running to the polls.

He is second in followers only to Barack Obama, who has about 100 more. The third most followed is Kevin Rose, host of “Diggnation” and also a contender in our poll. He has 25,000 followers, but has yet to post a Tweet urging fans to vote for him.

Here is the list of top Twitter-ers: http://www.twitterholic.com/

Oh, and you can always follow me too: www.twitter.com/DaisyWhitney

Winner Takes All

May 4, 2008 6:36 PM

And then there were nine.

After a heated week of voting in the first round of the New Media Minute-TVWeek.com Tournament for the Hottest Male Web Host, we find ourselves staring at the finish line in the final round. And it’s Winner Takes All. Mano a mano. Sudden Death.

That’s right. Eight guys made it out unscathed from the initial pack of 16 and we added a wild-card name to the final round, due to audience demand.

And now there will be no more brackets, no more whittling the boys down. Nope. It’s just a war of attrition, a battle 'til the end.

The male Web hosts left standing are: Leo Laporte (This Week in Tech), Gary Vaynerchuk (WineLibraryTV), Jeff MacPherson (Tiki Bar TV), Erik Beck (Indy Mogul), Michael Somerville (Love, Somerville), Kevin Rose (Diggnation), Martin Sargent (Internet Superstar), Chris Leavins (Cute with Chris) and David Price (The Middle Show).

You have until Friday at 2 p.m. Pacific to cast your vote. Go objectify!

Final Day to Cast Your Votes!

May 2, 2008 6:00 AM

The first round of voting in the New Media Minute-TVWeek.com Tournament for the Hottest Male Web Host officially closes today at 2 p.m. PDT. We’ve got a few tight races, so every vote counts.

Can Adam Roberts upset Gary Vaynerchuk? Will Chris Leavins beat Philip DeFranco? Is Merlin Mann staging a comeback over Leo Laporte? You have only a few hours left to weigh in on these and other burning questions.

Eight initial winners will move on to the final round, along with one wild-card pick. Those nine will go up against each other in a winner-take-all round that will run Monday through Friday of next week.

Then, the winner will be crowned.

Power to the People

May 1, 2008 6:00 AM

Adam Roberts is rocking the vote. That’s right. The Food Network Web host and hottie-in-contention has rallied the troops.

After this post on his blog, Adam went from about 25% of the votes in his matchup with WineLibraryTV’s Gary Vaynerchuk to 47% of the votes in the New Media Minute-TVWeek.com Tournament for the Hottest Male Web Host.

In fact, this particular pairing has generated the most votes so far in the contest. (I’ll announce vote totals on Monday).

I wonder if Adam can pull it off and upset the king of Web marketing.