Christmas wish list

Lennon and McCartney often combined fragments of incomplete songs to create a composition. Among them were A Day in the Life and Happiness is a Warm Gun. In that spirit, I collect the random thoughts that are not worthy of a complete entry or a full rant but I’d still like to vent, and then pass them on to Santa.

Dear Santa,

I would like the following for Christmas.

1) A Clue for CBS

What the hell was that? CSI: New York’s clumsy marketing deal with Capitol Records was an embarassment. There’s no way Danny Messer listens to Coldplay. In fact I have yet to meet anyone with a Y chromosone who has listened to a complete Coldplay song. But here they were on CSI: New York, two cool detectives about to interview a suspect, when Messer’s phone rings. It’s not clumsy enough that the damn phone goes off for no reason. He doesn’t even take the call. But his partner comments on it, and they discuss the song briefly. It was as obvious as going to a commercial break in the middle of the scene. What’s next? A locker room scene with Messer shampooing his hair and declaring he can feel the Denorex working?

I’m a huge fan of creative promotion. This wasn’t that. This was laughable. It’s imperative someone be fired for this. Product tie-ins can be very effective, but this is exactly the kind of thing that can set the approach back years. Leslie Moonves knows better. He’s quoted extensively in Madison and Vine.

2) An iPod for TV Land because they can’t afford one

As a promotion for the upcoming series Sit Down Comedy with David Steinberg, TV Land created six-minute podcasts of the first few shows and got them listed in the iTunes catalog. Good, cheap promotion. I like that. Then they included video clips, and that’s where their troubles began.

  • A sit down talk show between two people doesn’t make for a compelling video experience. An audio podcast would suffice. We all know what Jon Lovitz looks like.
  • The podcast producer mitigated the audio vs. video issue by offering the user both audio and video podcasts. Choice. We like that. But why put it in the same feed? Why not create two feeds? One can serve the audio and one can serve the video. TV Land should encourage the user to have the content download automatically. This approach doesn’t do that. Since no one wants both, users will opt to pull content manually so they only get what they want rather than let it be pushed.
  • Here’s the kicker. The video on the podcasts won’t load onto a video iPod. It seems the folks at TV Land blindly followed Apple’s flawed guidelines to encode their video. Note to TV Land podcast producers: .mov files don’t go to the iPod. Didn’t anybody test this before uploading it? And my grad students are worried about finding jobs after graduation.

3) Update for Compressor

There’s just no excuse that there hasn’t been an iPod-friendly update for Apple’s Compressor. It hasn’t dawned on Apple that maybe someone editing with Final Cut Pro might want batch iPod encoding capabilities? I also want adjustable iPod presets in Compressor. The H.264 codec looks great on an iPod at 300 kbits/second. It might not look that great on NTSC, but lots of video podcasts aren’t going to the bigger small screen. This patch is already two months late, in protest I’m only giving two iPods as gifts this Christmas season.

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