ATWT & MSN
Posted by Nick S. on May 18, 2008
In addition to official streaming via the CBS website, ATWT also screens on the MSN TV website (a lesser-known competitor to YouTube and/or Hulu). The interface is considerably better than CBS, and the video seems to be slightly higher quality.
What’s interesting is that I for one didn’t know about this until an ATWT fan on YouTube told me about it, and cross-promotion (or promotion at all) is practically nill. What’s even more interesting is that the majority of the content on MSN TV is mirrored from Hulu – but not the soaps (Hulu having no soaps to stream at all).
It kind of illustrates the problem that official online distribution has at the moment. It’s one thing to establish a portal of official content, and mirror it elsewhere (MSN is a partner with Hulu, and thus content is shared). But confusion arises when you then start adding in other networks only on one of the partners (MSN, with CBS, whose content is not available on Hulu).
It confuses visitors, and makes for a difficult experience trying to watch content officially online – which, if it’s available and easy to use, I for one try to do so. But in order for official online content to be truly successful, networks are going to need to come together and provide a totally centralised content repository, not a half-hearted effort. Case in point – look at iTunes and their music sales. iTunes isn’t successful because they sell music online…they’re succesful because they’re so good at it. When iTunes first started, the catalog was poor, and there was plenty that I couldn’t get hold of (to be fair, it’s still not perfect). But with every record label signed on, suddenly it becomes very attractive.
The idea of networks officially streaming TV online is a great one, but not if the content is all over the place. And, please…remove the 5 day viewing restriction on the soaps 😛