While we took our one week break, and probably to keep up with their self-imposed February deadline, Channel 10 launched their new and much anticipated website. I wanted to mention this on the show this week but we ran out of time.
The short review would be “same shit, different shape” but I thought I’d take this time to look at and compare the websites of all three commercial networks.
Firstly, let’s talk about what you want from a network’s website. Show information? Tonight’s viewing lineup? Competition information? Annoyingly loud flash-embedded video previews of upcoming shows which start automatically and scare the shit out of you?
I don’t think it’s too much to ask to get to the front page of a TV network’s website and be able to confirm what time my favourite show is going to be on tonight. On Seven it’s some clicks and scrolls away. On the Nine website you have to think that maybe it will be in the entertainment section and then you find that you’re suddenly on the TV Week website and then you still have to click and scroll before you find what you want. Meanwhile the Ten website has the guide just one click away. This sounds good but it’s not. When you get there the guide is actually difficult to use.
This example just adds more fuel to the argument that the networks really don’t understand their audience. Both Nine and Seven have partnerships with internet companies for their websites. At least if you put seven.com into your browser you get to some Channel 7 content but Nine are just being right-royally screwed by their ninemsn partnership. If a viewer is going to a network’s website it could be for any number of reasons but surely one of them is to find out some information about the network. That might be a program guide or some information about one its shows.
Ten have got this half right with their new site but when they’re spending as much money as they are on “web presence” they should get it all right.
Network executives have got to realise that the world has changed and they can no longer force habits on their audience. There is too much choice out there to not give them what they want from the start. A little bit of market research goes a long way on the internet and TV networks have an opportunity to build some brand-loyalty but instead they just see fit to piss it up a wall.
Give me a reason to stop watching TV shows through other avenues and I’ll do it, but sitting me in front of a station promo while rubbing a cheese-grater across my face isn’t going to work. I’m just going to get pissed off.