NBC Direct: Why Designing Consumer Entertainment Services By Committee Is A Dumb Idea

from the i-know,-we'll-make-it-suck dept

Even as NBC is working with Fox on their “Hulu” online video effort, the company, which has shown a stunning lack of understanding of the trends and economics it faces, has launched its NBC Direct video download offering that is noteworthy only for the amount of scorn being heaped upon it from almost every reviewer out there. It appears to have made every single mistake in the book. Limited only to Windows users with IE, draconian DRM, bizarre policies that make the content expire quickly and, of course, clunky software that’s difficult to set up and use. Excellent work. Perhaps if NBC spent a little less time worrying about poor corn farmers and a little more on actually providing a product that people wanted, it would get somewhere. Instead, it seems pretty clear that Jeff Nolan is exactly right in describing what happened here. NBC Direct was designed by committee. A bunch of different groups had their say and wanted to make sure this or that “feature” (i.e., “restriction”) got added, so as not to interfere with some other plan. None of those people were concerned about the overall product or (gasp!) the customer experience. So what you get is a totally unusable (and, really, who would want to?) service that was a total waste of time and effort by NBC. And, this is the company that’s blaming Apple for destroying the entertainment business? Compare NBC’s approach to how Apple designs its products, with a strict focus on how it will be used by the consumer. For all the blame NBC is throwing at Apple, it might want to take a look at itself first.

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Comments on “NBC Direct: Why Designing Consumer Entertainment Services By Committee Is A Dumb Idea”

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Matt says:

At least they are trying

I know that NBC has a long way to go and I am not denying that their download service lacks credibility but at least they are attempting to offer free video via the internet.
It is pretty hard to turn around a 50-60 year old company in such a short time (I know some will respond that TV via the internet has been around for a long time but I am speaking in relative terms).
I’m not saying we shouldn’t criticize but at least pay lip service to the fact that NBC is trying.

Sean C. says:

Re: At least they are trying

I agree that NBC is making a good step forward to making their content available. I have not yet gotten an invitation to Hulu, but I can go to NBC Direct and watch an entire episode with my Firefox browser. I still wish that NBC and WB would get their act together so that we could legally watch an ER episode that we miss (stupid Gray’s Anatomy being 1:07 long now!).

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