Sunday, April 10, 2011

Amazon's non-seller: Instant Video On Demand

A few weeks ago, The New York Times laughably announced their new plan to charge for online content via online subscriptions. It was laughable not just because NYT Clean works around the paper's 'wall' and not just because the pricing plans were confusingly explained. No, the main problem was that this announcement, at the paper's website, for the new subscription plan contained no hyperlinks, contained no way of a reader who wanted to choose a plan to do so right then. That's not just bad business, it demonstrates that The Times still doesn't understand the online world if they truly expect readers to flip around through pages, searching on their own for an ordering form.

And we were reminded of that stupidity as we checked out Amazon's "Instant Video Store." Though we encountered very little problems (there was a streaming issue with 1 of the five which made it feel like we were on dial up and not DSL as we suffered through endless "buffering"), we encountered very little user friendly.

We'll use Goldie Hawn as an example. The actress has starred in many classic films and maybe you're having a rough day and just want to laugh with some classic Goldie comedy?

Goldie Hawn

Well there are five good ones right there. (Swing Shift is a drama, not a comedy.) You're looking at those and you're saying, "Okay, but I want that one where she shows up at the picnic with a boombox, you know, she's working for the diplomatic corps. Which one is that?" If you were at Netflix, you'd just slide your mouse across each photo and would be given a summary as well as a few co-stars.

But you're at Amazon. Sliding your mouse does nothing, nothing displays. You have to click on the image and go to another page before you can learn details. And you have to scroll down over half a page -- for example, down Swing Shift, -- before you get to an actor's name like "Kurt Russell" that is hyperlinked (clickable) and not just in plain text.

Amazon's "Prime" is a joke but we'll save that for another day. For now, we'll just note that far more customers will be doing "instant video store" than "prime" and Amazon's going to really have to work on its presentation if it wants to bring in more money that way because iTunes is so much easier.

And if you're looking for a Goldie film to set your day right, here are our top ten Goldie comedies.

1) Private Benjamin
2) House Sitter
3) Cactus Flower
4) Protocol
5) First Wives Club
6) Death Becomes Her
7) The Duchess & The Dirtwater Fox
8) Shampoo
9) Foul Play
10) Overboard

(FYI, currently Protocol is streamable online at Netflix -- as is the classic drama The Sugarland Express.)
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