I had planned to post something on Scoble's new venture today (which was a mystery at the time I made said plan) but I was honestly pretty underwhelmed so I don't have all that much to add. For those who don't know, here's the gist of it from beet.TV
Robert Scoble, who pioneered tech videoblogging at Microsoft with Channel 9 and produced hundreds of segments during his tenure at PodTech, is launching a new business television network for Fast Company.
As he builds the network, he will continue to produce daily technology videos, much along the lines of the ScobleShow. He has the assistance of a full time producer and is looking for studio facilities in San Francisco.
Part of the problem is that I really don't think I'm Scoble's demographic anymore.
I was a big Scoble-Video fan at first. His early Channel9 videos are still the standard that I think tech videos should be judged by. But as time went on they became longer and longer and by virtue of that less and less polished. Now its gotten to the point where he'll spend large amounts of time just joking around with the other interviewee and that's where I get off. I simply don't have time to watch two people (however interesting the people are) joke around with each other.
At this point I should note that Scoble defends this method of video making. In his opinion (paraphrasing so take with a grain of salt) the free form, unedited format of his videos allow the people he's interviewing to feel comfortable telling him things because they know it won't be edited to look like something else down the road. That may be true.
But for me as the viewer, its mind numbing at times. He says he gets a million downloads a month so maybe I'm in the minority (though not alone if his comment sections are any indication) but I can't help but think he'd be better off if he could get me AND the people already downloading to watch.
On that note, and in the interest of making productive posts instead of critical ones, I present a list of the things I think Scoble should do to make his videos more accessible to people like me.
I should point out that I've made similar posts to this in his comments and the ideas have been rejected so I don't imagine this will make much of an impact (if he even reads it) but what's the point of having your own blog if you can't throw out your crazy ideas when you feel like it.
Get a fixed Schedule: Honestly, Tivo aside there's a reason why TV networks since the beginning of time have chosen to schedule shows in fixed time slots. Its because people don't like surprises. They like to know when their favorite show is coming on even if they don't plan to watch them at that time. A show that shows up "when it feels like" tends to breed contempt from its fans after a while.
Go back to editing the videos: Maybe I'm just naive but I can't believe there's a bigger audience in long unedited videos than there would be in shorter, concisely edited videos. I think its great if you want to add something like "Scoble RAW" with unedited versions of the video but not at the expense of a clean, professionally edited offerings. The long "shooting the breeze" segments just have to go.
Make the videos a set amount of time: This goes to the point above about being able to plan one's life. If your videos are 50 minutes one day and then 14 the next it makes it hard to be a normal viewer. Again, its great that some people don't have time concerns but as a guy who has to juggle his love of technology with a job and a personal life I need to plan my life a little better than that. I'll designate a certain amount of Scoble time each day but that amount of time has to be somewhat consistent.
Make videos in bite sized chunks: As anyone with an iPhone will tell you, mobile viewing is the saving grace of video blogs. There's just no doubt in my mind that every VBlog should be developing their interface with mobile viewing in mind and that means splitting your video up into sections so that I can watch a little at a time and not have to re-download 10 minutes of the show over Edge just to pick up where I left off.
Don't overdue the amount of time you ask for in a week: This is one of those things where opinions may vary but I think 110 minutes of new content a week (per show) is all you should ask of a person. That's five 22 minute shows (which is basically the length of an average 1/2 hour TV show) per week, one for each week day. For the record, I'm not making this up off the top of my head. TV Networks have done a lot of research on this and found that, for news type programming, that is the limit. That's why all the news magazines, celebrity news shows, etc... are all 1/2 hour long and view 5 to 6 times a week.
That's pretty much it. There's nothing revolutionary above. In fact most of it is stolen from the most proven video model in existence, namely TV. That I think is a big part of my point. There are places in which video blogging is truly revolutionary but that doesn't mean it has to be different in every way.
Don't reinvent the wheel if you don't have to.
I might not have 35,000 fans watching my videos (my rough estimate of what a million downloads equates to) but I can look at TV shows with millions of fans and see what works and if Scoble wants to succeed at creating a business network he should probably do the same.
...Wow...I had a lot more to say on this topic than I thought...
Addendum: I didn't realize until after I had posted that I didn't actually link to Scoble's announcement, which is here.