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I want my online TV

For once in my life, I’m an early adopter. Like a growing number of people, I consume much of my television via my laptop computer, rather than my television set.

Sure, the image quality’s a little less crisp than real TV, my connection is sometimes slow, causing the viewer to skip or freeze, and I can’t fast-forward through the commercials as with a DVR. But still—instant, free access to stuff I want to watch whenever I want to watch it is pretty nice.

I can say definitively that I now watch more TV and regularly keep up with more shows than I ever did before. And that’s saying a lot since I rarely watched TV at all before I could access it online. My TV consuming habits have changed significantly based on now available technology. My case is probably more dramatic than most, but I don’t think this trend is going away.

Will the TV networks take advantage of this change in the wind? Or will they stubbornly resist it and try to snuff out the freedom the new technology allows, like the music industry did? Based on the current state of CD sales, which the music industry still depends on to measure success, I’d hope TV networks would choose the former option. The old way of doing things isn’t going to work here. Continue reading

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March 11, 2008 Posted by | Content Strategy, Content Syndication, Multimedia, Selena Welz, Web Content | Leave a comment

Is news more interesting if your friends are reading it?

The Wall Street Journal thinks so. It just added SeenThis? to its online articles, which allows Facebook users to share WSJ articles they find interesting and see what articles their Facebook friends like.

This isn’t groundbreaking; it’s just a personalized version of the article-ranking systems many online newspapers already have. But it’s more public than the super personalized “email this” feature that allows you to send an article to an individual email account.

Will it boost WSJ online readership? Possibly. I like to scan the “Most Popular” articles listed on some of my favorite newspapers. I’m always curious about what other readers are engaging with, and sometimes I spot headlines I find interesting. (The selections tend to be more fun than useful, but so what?) I think it’s fair to say that this increases the amount of time I spend on the site—and that I can be influenced by the reading habits of others.

The user-review method of boosting sales has certainly worked for Amazon. The ultimate test for WSJ will be whether or not the new article-sharing feature will translate into more paid online subscriptions. People might be persuaded to sign up if they see that highly respected or influential “friends” are reading the WSJ.

What about you? Do the preferences of your peers influence your reading habits? Enough to cough up some cash for a special subscription? Selena Welz, associate managing editor

January 31, 2008 Posted by | Content Syndication, In the News, Selena Welz | 1 Comment