Video is still duct-taped to most news sites

I’ve been visiting a lot of news sites and looking at video in preparation for a report on podcasting I’ve just completed and an upcoming report on best practices. It’s not surprising how rough a lot of the video is on non-TV news sites. But I was surprised how inconsistent we are about the way that we offer video to our readers.
Usually there’s a dedicated section for video on the site. Often, but not always, it’s linked to the individual story. Sometimes remarkable videos are hidden inside a special package for a particular story.
It’s often unclear whether the video linked comes from in-house, an affiliated TV station, or a wire service — until you start the video.
Sometimes we let the user choose the format (QuickTime, Windows Media, or Real) on the first click, sometimes we ask for them to choose a format after the link, and sometimes we don’t give them a choice.
Sometimes we use a screen capture to link to the video, sometimes a photo, and sometimes we just use a headline or the word “VIDEO” and sometimes an icon. Or some combination of the above.
Worst of all, your chances of getting a reasonable, permanent URL for any video clip, or even a reliable landing page, is pretty much a crapshoot. This continues to be a huge problem, and it’s especially troubling since video benefits so much from viral sharing.
The sheer variety of the way we link to video and promote it on our home pages is a good indication of how immature this technology is. We’re in a stage of experimentation, and producers feel it’s still too early to even steal good ideas. The lack of consistency keeps video adoption lower than it should be. A good resolution for 2007 would be to steal more ideas for designing online video into our sites.
Originally published on my blog at JupiterResearch.