Why Is Savvy Media Still Forcing the Form Factor?

This weekend I wanted to catch up on the D8 conference, which is basically a series of who’s who in the tech industry being interviewed by Walt Mossberg and Kara Swisher. The D8 website has dozens of 5-minute clips but offers no convenient way to watch them in one sitting. Some of us, you know, can handle watching (dare I say, want to watch) certain things more than 5 minutes at a time.

Regardless, I’ll give a go at consuming your content the way you want me to. But how’s the experience? The audio is so low that I can barely hear it even with my laptop speakers maxed out while the viewing window is small, and the same 15-second commercial plays once between clips.

Is there an easy way for me to get this on my TV? No. And, by easy, I mean direct integration with my Blu-ray player (which has Netflix/Vudu/YouTube), my Xbox (Netflix/Zune/Media Center), or my cable box. (Plugging in cables to A/V equipment every time does not fall under “easy.”)

Meanwhile, while watching Real Time with Bill Maher, he continually reminds me to check out something called “Overtime” after the show (exclusively online). Basically, when the shows ends, the cameras keep rolling and Bill Maher continues the discussion with his guests a little while longer. I’m already in front of my TV, what if I want to watch this? Can I get it via my cable box or some other integration with my TV? No and no.

One more example: The always excellent Fareed Zakaria asks his viewers “the question of the week” each week on which he used to respond/comment the following week. Nowadays he’s quick to remind us that if we want to know more about the responses to the question of the week, we have to check out the show’s website.

Great. So I have all these screens in my house (computers, phones, TVs, etc.), and I’m the captive audience many of these media outlets want to engage with. So why not make it easy for me to consume any of your content on any screen?

*Update* How could I forget The Daily Show with Jon Stewart? At least a couple times a month he has interviews run long, which means you have to watch them online all over again to see what was edited out. Why are extended Jon Stewart episodes not available on demand somehow directly on my TV?

  • Yeah. I get the frustration. I would watch a lot more of the things you describe if they were easier to get to.

    Seems like the issue might be somewhat more complicated, though, from the perspective of the content providers. While you and I just care about getting our content as easily as we can, the providers want to get paid for making their content. Some of them are probably hoping specifically to drive us to their website, for example, where they can get more ad dollars.

    The other observation I have is that I think we're getting where you want us to be. Even over just the last year or two the content available directly to TV has been increasing. It would be nice for this trend to happen more quickly, but I think it is happening. Which gets back to your original point: a lot of this is just fear or naivete or stupidity on the part of the content providers. They need to get with the program.

  • Yeah, I pretty much agree with everything you said. I have no problem watching some ads on whatever screen I get this on, so it's just left to content providers to figure out a way to optimize the experience such that they still get something wherever I'm getting their content.