There’s an excellent column today on Forbes.com by Louis Hau, in which he takes up the question of why nobody has found a way to make money from online video. Let me offer my two links’ worth:
1. I return to the work of one of my heroes, usability guru Jakob Nielsen, who two years ago did some excellent work heatmapping and eyetracking talking-head video on the Web, and demonstrating how useless it is in this environment. (Don’t miss the “gaze replay recording” for some real-time fun.) His summary:
Eyetracking data show that users are easily distracted when watching video on websites, especially when the video shows a talking head and is optimized for broadcast rather than online viewing.
To remount my hobby horse: Despite all the money being thrown into online video, it remains a lousy Web experience. People want to use the Web–control their own clickstream, be masters of their own infotour–not passively receive media that comes at them on its own good time. I believe the only online video that will ultimately win an audience that can be monetized is content that is so compelling in its context, and so well suited to the medium, that people are willing to abide it despite a terrible user experience.
I’ve been wrong before, sometimes twice a week. We’ll see how it plays out.
2. All of which makes yesterday’s announcment that Digg has created a separate navigation for video clips!all the less significant. If there is a meaningful distinction between the Digging of video and the rating of it on YouTube, it escapes me. Call Digg’s product MeTooTube.
I think the only significant thing about Digg’s move is that it illustrates that UGV is so rampant among the easily bored, easily amused youth wasting their precious lifeforce on the Web that Digg has to offer up the same stuff just to retain market share. If Digg has a plan to monetize its videos, that escapes me too.
The title of this post, by the way, comes from a 50-year-old quote by another of my heroes, the retro-cool pop poet half-genius Ogden Nash. He was of course speaking of video delivered via a screen nearly as large as the one you hope to get on your next laptop.
I think I’ll go add that quote to the [slowly] growing list of 2.0-phorisms launched just yesterday on this very site. Only one civilian contribution so far. Please feel free to join the fun.