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

January 2009 Archives

Send Your 'Actually Good' Videos to YouTube

January 29, 2009 8:16 AM

YouTube has launched a new contest for videos that are “actually good,” according to this latest news report from the Onion. Check it out.

YouTube Contest Challenges Users To Make A 'Good' Video

More Funny Stuff From MacFarlane

January 26, 2009 12:21 PM

Television writer Seth MacFarlane introduced the latest installment of “Seth MacFarlane’s Cavalcade of Cartoon Comedy,” his online series.

Priceline is now on board as the sponsor. The Priceline-Cavalcade shorts will be distributed via online video ad network Tremor for this go-round, as well as on Mr. MacFarlane’s YouTube page.

Media Rights Capital is the studio releasing the Web series.

The first installment of “Cavalcade” generated 14 million views in its first three weeks online last fall, with Google as the distributor and Burger King as the sponsor.

Singing the Avocado's Praises

January 22, 2009 7:00 AM

Online video comedy duo Rhett and Link landed a gig with the Food Network to serenade nature’s lard, otherwise known as the avocado. In advance of the Super Bowl—the time of the year when most avocados are bought and consumed in guacamole form—Food Network released “The Guacamole Song” online this week on its site and on YouTube.

Food Network said Americans will consume more than 46 million pounds on Feb. 1, the day of the big game. The video accompanies an extensive guacamole recipe section on FoodNetwork.com.

‘Lost’ Parody Primes Pump

January 21, 2009 10:38 AM

In honor of the premiere of “Lost” tonight, here’s the latest “Lost” parody from Internet comedy team The Fine Bros.

Sing Along With Obama Girl

January 20, 2009 8:51 AM

In honor of the inauguration today, it appears our new president has partnered with Web star Obama Girl to create a celebratory duet video. Funny thing, I didn’t realize Obama was singing when he was delivering all those speeches, but evidently Obama Girl got a little harmony out of him.

Google Video No Longer Taking User Submissions

January 15, 2009 2:55 PM

Can you count the ways Google is regretting its YouTube purchase now?

The site’s hard to make money on, music labels are pulling content, the court battle with Viacom rages on, and now Google is no longer accepting user submissions for Google Video.

OK, so Google has been steadily shuttering Google Video since its acquisition of YouTube more than two years ago. Still, this seems yet another example of collateral damage from the YouTube buy.

How Does He Do That?

January 15, 2009 8:43 AM

Here’s the thing: You know it’s a trick. You know bizarre magician Brian Brushwood can’t actually have just stabbed a knife all the way through his hand. Still, you wonder how the heck he pulled the trick off…

How do you think the host of Revision3’s “Scam School” did this knife-through-the-hand trick?

Calling All Do-It-Yourselfers

January 14, 2009 11:10 AM

Can’t afford a new vacation home this year? (Who are we kidding, I can never afford a vacation home!)

But if you’ve got a do-it-yourself bone in your body (I have none), then you can join in DIY Network’s so-called “citizen design” project to create a vacation home.

The project and companion TV series, dubbed “Blog Cabin,” kicked off this week. The network will document the communal design of what could be a Frankenstein-ian vacation home (Who cares? I’d still take it!) in a 10-part series that will premiere on-air in August.

This year marks the third season of the project. The second season generated nearly 3.5 million votes cast on DIYNetwork.com for cabin features such as floor plans and other elements of the home. I guess that’s why they call it an interactive home-building series.

Oh, and did I mention, one lucky winner gets to keep the blog cabin for him- or herself? The sweepstakes kicks off in August.

Computer Keyboards Are So Old-School

January 13, 2009 7:00 AM

Have you gotten your new MacWheel from Apple? You know, the new laptop that revolutionizes computing by ditching the keyboard and relying solely on an intuitive touchwheel? Well, you better check out this video from the Onion to see what you’re missing.

Apple Introduces Revolutionary New Laptop With No Keyboard

The Viral Video Everyone 'Pants' for Is Here

January 12, 2009 8:14 AM

I owe you all a big apology because I fell down on the job.

I missed one of the greatest viral videos of all time. I failed to showcase it here for nearly five weeks since it was released into the wilds of the Internet on Dec. 6.

Since then this "Saturday Night Live" digital short has amassed nearly 17 million views on YouTube (at least four of those were my views) and surely many more on Hulu, NBC.com and other places.

It’s “Jizz in My Pants” and it’s sort of like a companion video to my favorite viral video of all time, “Dick in a Box.”

And in case you were wondering, it’s pretty naughty. But don’t let that stop you.

Words to Live Longer By, From Dr. Oz

January 8, 2009 12:42 PM

Your waist needs to be half your height. Watch your belly fat, lower your stress, don't forget to breathe and you'll live to be 100.

That was the advice from Dr. Mehmet Oz when he appeared during Howard Stringer's keynote at CES. At least that's the word on the street.

Why I Am Sad at CES...

January 8, 2009 11:38 AM

Hello KItty Lamp at CES

Because this awesome amazing Hello Kitty neon lamp is available only in Europe.

Imagine my excitement when I saw it here at the Spectra booth.

Imagine my sadness when I learned I could not possess it.

Sony Spans Platforms at CES

January 8, 2009 11:36 AM

Sony Booth CES

Over at the Sony booth at CES, you can see Sony syndicated shows, court shows, talk shows and cartoons, while on the digital side you can see Crackle, the minisode network, FearNet and mobile games on Sony devices like computers, mobile phones and TVs.

Not sure how gee-whiz this is. But the big screens look nice.

Getting in Touch With NBC Programming

January 8, 2009 11:24 AM

If you can't find me at CES, it’s probably because I’m busy touching NBC.

NBC Booth at CES

No, I don’t mean like that! Sheesh.

But I’m sort of like Chuck Todd, NBC’s political director, because here I am touching with my bare hands all sorts of NBC content over at CES. At the NBC Universal booth is a sort of coffee table with a clear top that lets you touch what look like cards for NBC programming, such as “The Office,” “Countdown” or “30 Rock.”

Just as you’d do with an iPhone, you can use your fingers to drag Keith Olbermann over to you, or pull along a video player with Jim from “The Office” in it.

And here’s the cool part: You just tap the play and pause buttons with your finger to make the show stop or start. It’s very hands-on, clearly.

This kind of interface for everything you could possibly want from NBC is not available to consumers now. But maybe in a couple of years it will be the coffee table in your living room, said Adam Benalt, broadcast director at MSNBC, who showed me the coffee table device powered by Microsoft's Windows Vista.

The touch screen is going to be huge.

(Uh, yeah, those aren’t my hands in the pictures, people.)

Talent Locker Room

January 8, 2009 11:22 AM

So Panasonic has a little room at its CES booth called "Talent Locker Room." What do you think is kept there? What do you think the talent does in a locker room?

First Google, Now Netflix

January 8, 2009 7:51 AM

Netflix has become the latest verb.

If you want to know how, you can check out this week’s episode of my podcast “This Week in Media.”

Follow Fred's Methods to Web Video Success

January 7, 2009 3:04 PM

He’s the biggest thing on the Internet right now and I’m the only one who’s heard of him?

C’mon, people. You need to know about Fred.

So I’m at MacWorld at the booth of MDialog, an online video technology firm, and Web creator and French Maid TV producer Tim Street is speaking about some of the most popular online videos of all time. When he cued up an image of a teenager on helium with anger-management issues and asked if anyone knew who he was, I was the only one who shouted out, “Fred!”

But that’s beside the point. Mr. Street’s presentation is actually about how producers can use video to deliver on their brand promise online. “What is the promise of your brand? What are you delivering? What are you offering?” he said. “As you prepare your video, think about story, think about spectacle, think about emotions. What specific emotions are you going to move in creating your video?”

And if you have a great story, with spectacle, that moves two or more emotions, your video will go viral. Well, that’s what Mr. Street says.

The MacWorld Superman-YouTube-Ministry of Magic Phone Booth

January 7, 2009 1:17 PM

The word so far about MacWorld is it’s been an entertainment-free event in the sense that there aren’t oodles of cool television- or video-centric gadgets on the show floor, and certainly not in Tuesday's Apple keynote.

Daisy Whitney

Still, I strolled the show floor this afternoon just to see if something would jump out at me—some cool new device that delivers entertainment to your pocket kind of thing. (And yes, Sling did announce a cool iPhone app yesterday, which is likely the closest this show will come to a gee-whiz moment.)

And I found the YouTube phone booth! In the corner of the Google exhibit, you’ll find a red phone booth—the kind that either changes you into Superman or delivers you into the Ministry of Magic—and people were using it to upload videos right there from the show floor! OK, it’s not earth-shattering, but it’s just kind of cute and cuddly.

One of the booth workers took a picture of me in front of it. The best part was when she tried to just touch the screen of my BlackBerry to take the picture. I had to explain that on most BlackBerries, you still press buttons. They don’t have touchscreens. Yet.

Do Not Try This at Home

January 7, 2009 10:37 AM

Remember when you thought it was crazy to push your buddy down the stairs in a shopping cart? That’s nothing. How about skiing off cliffs? Check out this latest video of extreme air action, both on skis and in winged suits. Thanks Buzzfeed for pointing me to it!

wingsuit base jumping from Ali on Vimeo.

Life Is Good in the ‘Fast Lane’

January 6, 2009 10:00 AM

Popular Web series “Fast Lane Daily” posted its 500th episode Monday. That’s quite a milestone in Web video.

The Next New Networks series on car news has generated more than 40 million views on YouTube alone. Not too shabby.

The video, shot inside the Next New Networks office, includes a fun theme song and a shot of the host standing on a wooden block inside the office, which is just kind of bizarre and fun for that reason.

Read Starz' Detailed Online-TV Viewership Study

January 5, 2009 8:38 AM

Late last month the premium cable network Starz shared with TelevisionWeek a research report that showed people who watch movies and television shows online or on alternative devices are just as likely to also watch programming on the television set.

I received a number of e-mails asking for the study itself. I’m pleased that Starz has agreed to share a PDF version of the study with TelevisionWeek readers.