TV Crush

CBS' Innertube Crashes/Big Love on Comcast VOD/Shiny Toy Guns Everywhere

5/14/2007 6:22 AM

If you missed last night’s Survivor finale, or forgot to set your TiVo, or don’t feel like downloading from iTunes, I might have suggested watching it on CBS’ Innertube, but I’m not even linking to the Innertube site here because the darn thing crashed Safari on my new Mac and froze a bunch of other programs and forced a restart — and I guess I’m not the only one with issues.

UPDATE: This morning’s Wall Street Journal front-page article/Marketplace section, "Can CBS Put the Net Into Network?" Says the WSJ, "CBS, after a year of experimenting with various Web initiatives, says that forcing consumers to come to one site — its own — to view video hasn’t worked.”

Per Innertube, CBS’ chief Internet strategist is quoted as joking that the Web address should be "CBS.com/nobody-comeshere."

CBS has "abandoned attempts to build its own blockbuster portal and is, instead, signing pacts with a raft of smaller — and often untested — Web companies, from Joost to Veoh Networks," says the WSJ.

States Quincy Smith, president of CBS Interactive, "We can’t expect consumers to come to us. It’s arrogant for any media company to assume that."

Then media buyers and analysts speculate about why viewers aren’t using the Innertube site. The problem, they say, is that CBS attracts an older crowd which is "less Web-savvy and the company has a harder time funneling viewers to its Web site with on-air promotions."

That’s right. When the going gets tough, gloss over the problem and shift the blame to your audience.

The real story: Many viewers gave up on Innertube because the site is riddled with technical problems. The Internet is peppered with complaints.

Bottom line: Fans loathe the site because it just doesn’t work.

Go here and here and here and here, where viewers trade notes on all sorts of arcane solutions to the CBS Innertube problem.

By the way, the time required on my laptop to launch an episode of Desperate Housewives on ABC’s site — 20 seconds, start to finish. Not a whiff of a problem. As of last summer, it was reported that ABC’s online experiment was a success.

The LA Times reports today, in a larger article covering ABC’s strategy, that the "Web site’s video player, which won an Emmy Award in August, provides a TV-like viewing experience without the graininess, stuttering and pauses typical of Internet video."

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HBO’s Big Love returns Monday, June 11. In the build up to the sophomore-season premiere, three vignettes charting the back story of how the wives married into the Henrickson family air first on Comcast VOD starting May 28. The content will be available on other satellite and cable systems a week later, according to zap2it.

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Maybe the buzz started at Sundance, or maybe it was the opening-night party at MIDEM 2007, where Shiny Toy Guns headlined both events. The group is ubiquitous and maybe borderline overexposed. Two days ago, the band was featured in a Current TV Viewer Created Content (VC2) pod, along with plenty of promos for their album stitched in.

Several months ago Shiny Toy Guns’ hit, Le Disko, sneaked into promos for ABC’s Dancing with the Stars, Showtime’s The L Word and Sundance Channel’s Asia Extreme. Finally, the band appeared on Jimmy Kimmel Live.

Maybe all of the buzz really started with the unfounded (Radar assisted?) rumor/kerfluffle claiming that Shiny Toy Guns singer Carah Faye Charnow was the voice behind Paris Hilton’s hit single and her subsequent lip-syncing incident at Buddakan.

September