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Monday, December 05, 2005

Video Killed the Instant Gratification Effect

Poor CNN.com has been trying so hard lately to get us to notice its free video streams.

At one point they emblazoned the CNN.com logo with the phrase "with free video." Then more recently they added a subsection above the "fold" that called out which online news stories carried related video feeds. Cute little icons of video projectors beckoned me with moving pictures behind a deceptively simple click.

Now, this morning, CNN has upgraded that subsection to a very slick-looking Flash panel that is scrollable and inviting. There's just one small problem with CNN's free video.

It doesn't work.

Well, it "works" in the sense that if you click on a video link, you'll eventually see video. But it doesn't work for me.

The total elapsed time from the moment of clicking to actually viewing the stream can be anywhere from 10 seconds to a few minutes. That's because the following steps have to take place before the video loads:

* a pop-up window must launch
* Windows Media Player must load in the pop-up window
* the connection must be established
* a commercial must play

CNN, can you see that this is simply too much waiting around for something that appeals to our sense of instant gratification? If you truly want to promote adoption of your online video streams, try making it easier to view them.

Instead of using Windows Media Player and pop-up windows, why not use Flash video and Ajax technology? Maybe if you delivered the experience the way I want to experience it, I might experience your precious video more often!

Posted by Cory Kleinschmidt




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