Sunday, February 24, 2008

Star Trek for the Benefiber Crowd

I've talking a lot about Hulu as NBC and Fox's site for streaming video content, as well as ABC's video play, but didn't bother to comment on CBS. I don't have a favorite show on CBS, so I had no reason to check them out.

However, this Friday, CBS unlocked their vaults and started streaming the first three seasons of Star Trek, along with McGyver, The Twilight Zone, and Hawaii Five-O. their biggest cult hits from the 60s, 70s, and 80s. Very smart!

The first thing I was struck by, however, was the advertising--Benefiber and Promise Active (a yogurt drink designed to lower your cholesterol). Wow, I am not their demographic, am I? Throw in some ads for prune juice and the AARP while you are at it.

But in catering to a slightly older crowd, I have to give them high marks for the user interface--this aims to be the Jitterbug of video sites. The control buttons -- Pause, Share, Volume--are huge and in text, whereas the nods to social networking-- Digg, Facebook--are accomplished via tiny icons. And by making it easy for those who may have watched these shows as youngsters and may now need reading glasses, they also make it easier for those who are viewing the video across the room.

But these shows do have some younger fans too. Hulu has the unique ability to not just let you embed whole shows in your blog, but to actually clip out excerpts and share it with friends, which is often what kids want (let me comment on the good part). Case in point, this clip entitled "Captain Kirk is a Gentleman." CBS might think about building this feature in down the road. But I have to give them props for knowing their core market.

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