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TV Guide Talks Online Video Guide Strategy April 29, 2008

Posted by David Card in Media.
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PaidContent is wisely wondering about TVGuide.com’s future if the proposed merger of TV Guide/Gemstar and Macrovision goes through, especially since Macrovision hinted it might unload the magazine. Meanwhile, among other things, TVGuide.com is attempting to establish itself as the guide to (professional) video content online. There’ll be a lot of competition for that role.

Some things TVGuide.com is doing well

– TVGuide.com believes, as I do, that robots alone won’t solve the problem. So it has its spiders and algorithms, but it also has a smallish (10 people) staff of editors doing content as well as promotion.
– TVGuide.com is embracing the notion of online networked media, and pursuing syndication via deals and widgets. It’s also aggregating content on its site
– This might be controversial, but its editor is also its marketing VP. That makes sense to me for online networked media
– They demo’d a feature that made it pretty easy to create a little widget that creates an auto-refresh search. If you wanted to have constantly updated Justin Timberlake video content on your fansite blog, you could do so

Some things that need work

– It only spiders about 65 cable and broadcast sites for its professional content. It covers music videos but doesn’t work with Yahoo, which is the leading site for them. Right this moment, the top video on Yahoo Music (no. 4 on AOL Music) is Mariah Carey’s “Touch My Body.” A Mariah Carey search result for that tune on TVguide takes you to iTunes. YouTube gets you the right video.
– Because it doesn’t have deals with many suppliers, it’s a very inconsistent user experience when you “click thru” on content. Sometimes it plays locally; sometimes it carries you off to a site
– You can embed feeds with one click in MyYahoo and iGoogle. But not in Facebook or MySpace, where people actually use widgets. “Open Social support” — well, that and 5 bucks will get you a cup of coffee at Starbucks
– The advertising syndication strategy is, as we analysts often say, “nascent”
– Notice how I had to give two links for the main site and the online video guide?

Net: strategy on-trend; some execution details TK.

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