Om Malik Opens NTV Station – The Best of Web Video, Facing Challenges

Om Malik anounced a new venture today called NewTeeVee Station, an editorial driven guide to online videos:

...NewTeeVee Station is your guide to online video, pointing you to hot new memes, following the emerging stars of the web, and just generally indexing this new entertainment medium. Whereas in the past we covered online video shows like Ask a Ninja, Obama Girl andWallstrip from a business perspective, now we’re also reviewing content for content’s sake…

….NTV Station features editorial reviews of online videos written by a team led by Liz Shannon Miller, who comes to us from Variety and the Daily Reel. We eliminate the static and bring to you videos that are actually good — but also the stuff that’s so bad it has everyone talking… When you visit the front page of NTV Station, you’ll see in one glance what’s hot at that very moment. Our editors monitor the online video universe and refresh the site with new videos throughout the day. A special widget developed using the VodPod API allows you to scroll through all of our past video picks….

I am a big fan of sites trying to make some sense of all the videos out there. In a past, I wrote a hotly debated post where I asked when would someone create an online HBO equivalent, and gang all the best video shows to one site. This is a form of content discovery in my opinion – a way to bring the best videos to my computer screen. Would Om answer my prayers?

Challenges ahead

Value

There were several initiative in this area, one of them was Jeff Pulver’s Network2.tv. While N2 was aiming at being a definitive guide to all episodic video on the web, it seems that Om’s effort is a mix of being IMDB and an editorial driven site, that does some filtering for the audience. What I am missing here is a clear value proposition, or, in other words, what exactly should I expect – the best videos? The hottest videos? All the “good” videos?

Definition of Quality

One of the trickiest issues in the world of online video is the definition of quality. How can the editor in NTV know what’s good for me? Though philosophical in nature, it is a major challenge, that I’d love to hear Om’s opinion about.

User Interface

Last but not least, user interface is one of the biggest challenges in online video today. Looking at the current interface of most video recommendation sites, one would see the same scroll down page with x amount of videos. This interface works for YouTube, but in my opinion should be improved. NewTeeVee is built as a blog, and as such it is well designed. As a video interface – not so good IMHO:

1. Almost one-third of the screen is dedicated to promotion, ad space, and other money making machines.

2. Viewers need to scroll down in order to see recommended shows.

3. Video player is covering a small amount of the screen – while it is supposed to be the dominant experience

4. Users need to click at least twice to start playing a video

My belief is that online video interfaces should be, well, video interfaces. I’d like to see a site with a dominant video player, where users could navigate and find the best videos for them. This way, the video experience is the dominant one, and not the textual interface.

I hope that Om will be successful in this project – the web certainly needs one!

Watch Out Rupert!!!
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3 Responses to “Om Malik Opens NTV Station – The Best of Web Video, Facing Challenges”


  1. 1 Liz Gannes June 10, 2008 at 3:42 pm

    Thanks for the advice! I think there are really interesting opportunities to build a web-based video recommendation and subscription site for video watching, but at the moment we are focusing on the editorial side. We feel like an awful lot of video could use the context that comes with a written review or explanation, and that’s what we aim to provide.

    But you are right, we should create some kind of statement about what we think good video is. For us right now, we want to write about “noteworthy” video — the stuff that people are talking about at the watercooler. So sometimes it’s good, and sometimes it’s bad. Of course since we are not algorithmic we will also get to slide in there some things we *think* you should be discussing at the watercooler.

    Liz Gannes
    Editor, NewTeeVee

  2. 2 Kfir Pravda June 10, 2008 at 4:06 pm

    Liz – thanks for stopping by:)
    It is a challenge – and an intriguing one. You guys are perfectly positioned for that. However, both UI and marketing story are keys for success in my opinion…
    Would love to learn more about this project.
    K

  3. 3 Liz Gannes June 12, 2008 at 1:23 am

    Just let me know when you want to chat. My first name at gigaom.com.


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