Where’s The Online TV Search?

FutureTV.JPGAs consumers, we should be thrilled the TV networks have started delivering nice, deep inventories of video clips and longer-form videos online. That’s great until you want to explore the current and archived stuff on each domain.

Maybe I should cut some slack to our beloved cable and broadcast networks, who are used to having audiences find their fare through on-air guides and remote controls. After all, TV audiences don’t conduct free-form searches to find shows. But I don’t think any video providers deserve this break.

So where’s the online TV search? Last week, I asked many Future TV Show 2008 attendees about findability matters.

Their responses were very interesting, at least to me. While I won’t name names, I heard several executives flatly say their site searching and browsing capabilities were terrible. The rest I would classify as apathetic, which probably comes from years of limited options and lack of control.

Yet these TV networks are not different online, and sound like other web publishers these days. They are paying attention to acquiring and keeping visitors on their domains.

At the NYC show, I heard many familiar questions: How do I get people to my site? How can I get more video streams and page views? How can I really make money online? How do I measure our success?

We’re all learning that online video isn’t exactly the same animal as its on-air cousin. There are differences in terms of consumption patterns, for starters. The destinations that succeed will learn how to engage and optimize their new online audiences through effective video search, discovery and sharing mechanisms.

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