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Why Aren’t Video Channels More Like…Well…Channels?

April 5, 2008

Today, it hit me. Channels on popular video sites have always conceptually bothered me a bit but I really couldn’t put my finger on exactly why. Finally, I realized that channels on any of the major video sites aren’t really like channels at all.

Online Channels Are More Like Mail Order Catalogs Than TV Channels

If you’ve ever received a mail order catalog, you know that in order to find something, you actually have to go that page in the catalog to get more information.  You also have to look at every page of the catalog to know whats available.  Printed catalogs have no way to co-exist with each other.

The cable model of TV service brings everything that you order to the same place – your television. You can casually flip through the channels that you’ve chosen. You also have a guide that spans all of the available channels regardless of the content available.

Channels Today Add No Value As An Abstraction Layer

Think about your favorite online video site and ask yourself how often you ever discover channels before you’ve searched for a specific video. Likely never. Worse yet, online video channels as structured today today don’t add any value as an abstraction layer. Do channels drive more video views, help you find content faster/easier, or do they just serve a a landing page for a given user? Think about this the next time you are on a real estate video site where channels are ordered by some odd measure such as level of posting activity and, although great for those that post videos often,  think about what value -if any- this provides to you as a consumer searching for specific content. This is especially when you may not know exactly what you want and only have a general idea.

 In short, the channel concept has transformed into a publically viewable and basically unindexed online storage area for any video that you upload…reminiscent of some people’s garages.

Channels should add some sort of value and serve to help viewers find the video content that they want using the pull model. We are about to turn the whole online video channel model on its head within the next week so that online video channels actually add value. Stay tuned…

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One comment

  1. […] channels have been historically been parking spaces for video content. The only way content could leave the channel is for the user to either have enough HTML knowledge […]



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