The two national newspaper websites re-launched last week offering lots of video as well as text and stills, The Times and the Mirror, have settled down and ironed out technical glitches, but not all of them. The Mirror’s choice of video content is inexplicable: almost entirely US from AP. The tone and content of much of it is entirely unsuitable for the audience.
The Times video player defaulted to a world news bulletin from Reuters, anchored from New York. But they do have the alternatives of Sky content as well as Fox.
My exploration has been limited because I have had real problems with the video players on both sites â€” links to individual items doing nothing, the start and pause buttons behaving erratically and general slowness. They are both using a system from ROO which serves advertising and video reports.
At the end of last month it was announced that News Corp, parent company of the Times, would buy up to 10% of the ROO syndication and technology business. Like Rupert Murdoch’s business it originated in Australia.
According to Techcrunch, Fox Interactive, which is meant to lead News Corp business on the internet, did not know about the deal in advance. Techcruch quoted one Fox insider saying he couldn’t believe News Corp invested in that “fucking disaster”.
Fox was said to have been having conversations with ROO’s competitor Brightcove.
And Brightcove was the choice of the Wall Street Journal for the video service on its recently redesigned site. That works beautifully on the three computers I have used to view the three sites.
The technical problems will be sorted out leaving the much bigger question of the bias towards US content. When people from around the world visit a British site they are looking for a distinctive and different voice. Globalisation should not mean an American view point dominating. It may be cheaper but I doubt if it makes commercial sense in the long run.