Tuesday, May 02, 2006

Going Live

I placed five orders online last week - I shop for almost everything online. Three of the items were from eBay. All three arrived within three days. The other was from Comet, and it took five days. The final order was with Ordnance Survey for a map for my hillwalking trip this weekend. The delivery cost added 50% to the cover price of the map and, after promising five day delivery, at worst, eight days later nothing has arrived. I've now decided to kill two birds with one stone by walking to the shop seven miles away to buy the map...

Our expectations online are far higher than they are in the real world. The reality is that in the real world we're used to being disappointed by the service industry, from builders to retailers. However, there is one notable exception to this - television.

Can you image having a patchy service for your tv signal ? Most of us think that we have as much right to a 24 x 7 TV service as we do to always on electricity or water.

I remember working in live broadcast television. When everything went well, you were just doing your job. When the slightest thing went wrong, your mistake was seen by several million people. Perfect service is the norm in traditional television.

Now that TV has migrated online, viewers still expect the same level of service. Of course, the internet is still coming out of its Wild West phase and controlling any aspect of quality of delivery is next to impossible for a global service.

It makes me especially proud of the team who have worked with me at Narrowstep and before, some for the best part of a decade. Day in, day out, they deliver live programming as if it was live television. The latest being the launch at the New York Motor Show of Land Rover's Go Beyond broadband tv channel.

People often ask me 'what makes a successful broadband tv channel?'.

I think the answer is quite straightforward. Treat it like a traditional TV service with its commercial pressures and programming demands and you have a very good chance of being successful.

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