Report: TV Networks Lag In Web Video

TV networks are streaming a wealth of video online, but their broadband sites aren't as interesting or interactive as sites like YouTube. That's according to a new industry analysis by Broadband Directions.

"Most networks still have not embraced the value of building out robust, deeply interactive, short-form clip properties," the report says. Flaws of the network Web sites include limited possibilities for sharing video content with friends. "The most common interactive element we found was the ability to email the clip along to a friend," but "even this feature was sub-optimal," says the report.

That's just the beginning. The Broadband report went on to detail a litany of failings common to the big networks' sites. Video was often out of date by two years, many of the promotional teasers related to episodes had already aired, and there was no video-search function. There was also no ability to upload video, tag clips, create personalized indexes or playlists, or download clips to portable players.

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Ironically, Broadband Directions sees the market for paid TV downloads shrinking in favor of ad-supported models. According to its study of local TV stations, 82% were generating revenue through advertising in online video, with 88% of this group using "pre-roll" video ads. The remaining 12% used display ads around the video player.

As for future predictions: demand for paid downloads, via services like iTunes, will shrink in 2007. "The consumer-value proposition for paid TV program downloads is diminishing," due to the availability of "catch-up" episodes via DVR or VOD, both of which are increasing in penetration.

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