Old Media Doesn’t Understand ‘User Experience’

Local by on March 23, 2007 at 8:23 pm

A common thread with old media companies is that they don’t get that new media is all about the user experience. 6 months ago, I spoke on a panel at the Kelsey Group’s DDC2006 Conference, and while there listened to several keynotes that extolled the strength of the YP business, and their ability to meet the needs of their customers. It took me a little while to realize that their ‘customers’ were advertisers. A few presenters never even mentioned the consumer.

Fast-forward to NewTube, the confirmed video venture from News Corp/NBC Universal. Michael Arrington has a great writeup summarizing his thoughts from the Media/Analyst call that they did. I didn’t listen to the call, so I’ll quote Arrington’s impression:

I think a better approach would have been to focus on the user experience, but this was hardly mentioned (except at one point when Zucker said “we are shocked at the willingness of the consumer to sit through the whole show with ads on NBC.com”).

On television and in movies, content plays a tremendously important role in attracting users. There is little difference between the outlets that provide the content - one theater is not different from another. One television channel provides an identical user experience as the next.

Online, overall experience is far more important. Attracting the users is more than just having great content. The users need to be able to share, mashup and engage with the content. The content itself remains important, but that importance has decreased significantly vis-a-vis the overall experience.

It’s still all about the user. But the users today require more than just the content.


  1. Anonymous — March 23, 2007 @ 9:26 pm

    you should publish a “how to kill youtube (for real, done right)” post from the perspective of the newtube ceo.

  2. Rahul Pathak — March 27, 2007 @ 7:00 am


    Your point about YP Publishers viewing advertisers rather then users as their customer is right on the money.


  3. […] technology to drive incremental consumption. The user experience focus was great to hear about. (Dave’s written about companies that don’t get this and I highly recommend his post.) I’m sure spending time working with and dealing with Steve Jobs has contributed to this […]

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