Friday, February 25, 2005

UXCentric TV?

Well, let's just say we have a long way to go before that happens.

Even so, there are some bright spots on the horizon, as the Los Angeles Times (registration required, BugMeNot login here) reports in today's front page "Column One," The Plot Thickens Online. Read it now before it drops behind the paywall.

Using Crossing Jordan's fictional Nigel's Blog as his launching point, reporter Chris Gaither surveys Hollywood's increased use of the Web to augment broadcasts:
[P]roducers of scripted prime-time dramas have joined the trend, bringing some interactivity to a historically one-way medium. They are creating web logs, producing Internet-only video segments that introduce new story lines and releasing footage of actors and producers discussing the shows.
Producers aren't doing this out of the goodness of their hearts or because of their UXCentric passions. It's all about promotion, as Lisa Gregorian, senior vice president of television creative services at Warner Bros. freely admits: "Our goal was to find new and innovative ways to promote our content that was airing on the network." Indeed.

There's a tiny breeze of hope, however. "Watching the show is very passive," says Kira Ame, Crossing Jordan's executive story editor. "With the website, they're able to navigate through a case. It's a more in-depth way of participating with the mysteries." Aha! Could Hollywood be discovering interactivity?

While I found the writing on Nigel's Blog to be overwrought and lacking voice, its other features are remarkably well done. In an effort to solve a crime, users have access to police reports, autopsy results and much more. There's a lot of work behind Nigel's Blog and it's work that engages viewer-users. That's a step in the UXCentric direction.

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