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ITV, you're doing online video wrong…

ITV, you're doing online video wrong…

With the Pet Shop Boys being given a Outstanding Contribution to Music award at The Brits, I thought I’d look at ITV’s Brits website just to see what behind the scenes content they had. To be fair, they had a reasonable range of content, but it was all let down by the following:

  • It took four clicks from The Brits homepage to get to the page I wanted – even though it was prominently advertised on the front page.
  • See that cunning play icon overlaid on the main picture of the Pet Shop Boys on this page? Click it, and wait forever for the pic to change to a video … before realising that the video is being played in ANOTHER window on the right hand side of the page.
  • Then keep waiting as an entire minute of adverts is played out before your eyes before you even get to the main feature. At least other commercial TV websites like Hulu only play one advert lasting 30 seconds.

    It wouldn’t be so bad if you were watching a thirty minute programme … but all this for a clip lasting three minutes?

The trouble with ITV’s approach to online video is that it seems to show a breath-taking arrogance for ignoring the way online video has been built up till now on other platforms, with a determination to do it their way. From YouTube to Hulu to iPlayer, people now expect when you’re clicking on a play icon, that the video will play where the play icon was, not on another window on the other side of the screen. Trying to establish a different user interface for the sake of it just seems incredibly daft, if not arrogant. We’re living in a world where 37% of 15-24 year-olds say they mostly hear music via YouTube. The corporate world is littered with the corpses of once mighty companies who didn’t notice when little minnows slowly took away their audience.

Oh, and why is Kylie hosting with James Corden? It’s almost as inanely dull and self-consciously zany as the Samantha Fox/Mick Fleetwood pairing…

Get a grip? Get a new presenter!

Get a grip? Get a new presenter!

So Get A Grip heralds Ben Elton’s return to stand-up comedy – with a funky female sidekick to act as a younger hipper person to his old-dad persona…

So it’s a bit of a shame that it hits off with a quick comedy skit about the effectiveness of spam. Gosh, that’s so 21st century. No, it hasn’t been done to death by every other comedian up to now… Plus, for a supposedly topical TV comedy show, to go on about the Diana conspiracy theory doesn’t exactly scream of bang up-to-date comedy.

And it just gets worse. Alexa Chung might be ok at reading off an autocue, but she certainly doesn’t seem human doing it – couldn’t they get a funky young female sidekick who actually looks capable of responding to Ben ad hoc instead of reading from a script? (Shame I have to diss her really – how often do you get half-Chinese people on prime-time ITV?) Hell, she looks like Tracy Barlow as she smiles there watching her ranting sidekick go on. Plus, someone should have told her that one of the first rules of comedy is not to smile and laugh at your own jokes.

Ben hasn’t exactly moved on either – all the comedy sketch interludes are almost exactly the same format from his BBC series The Man From Auntie (which was 17 years ago), right down to the upside down chins. He’s kept his ranty persona – but now it sounds like the old dad (that he is), rather than anyone actually funny.

Producers of Get A Grip, there is one thing you can do which would make it so damn better. Get them out from behind the desk – it might make the show just a little more dynamic instead of having two people just sat there reading off an autocue.

Of course, this followed the hilarious comedy City Lights which had our two main characters hounded out of your house after witnessing a gangland killing. ITV’s Wednesday comedy night has some way to go methinks.

PS: I would link to my superlative Ben Elton website at this point, but I’ve got no idea where it’s gone. Such is the way of old web sites.

Silly moments in reality TV

Silly moments in reality TV

As overheard on Soapstar Superstar (think Pop Idol with soap opera stars, non UKTV residents)

– The camp one from Coronation Street sings a heartfelt Stevie Wonder song
– The wise judge suggests that he set aside his comedy persona and concentrate on singing songs seriously
– He is then told the audience will vote for him to sing either song (X) or Copacabana
– Said camp one immediately throws himself before the camera and begs the audience (camply) to vote for Copacabana…

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