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Too Much TV: Your TV Talking Points For Monday, August 29th, 2022
HBO Max and the challenge of content discovery
Here's everything you need to know about the world of television for Monday, August 29th, 2022.
THE NEW HBO MAX/DISCOVERY+ AND THE CHALLENGE OF CONTENT DISCOVERY
I spent some time earlier this morning talking to a project manager at one of the major streamer on background for an upcoming story and we started discussing the upcoming HBO Max/Discovery+ streaming service and the challenges of combining two services with so much content into one manageable app.
As longtime readers of this newsletter probably know, I'm a bit obsessive about content discovery and the ways that streaming services can use their apps to drive engagement.
Which got me thinking about what this whatever we're going to call it service should look like. What are some of the bare minimum requirements it should include in order to both surface relevant content and hopefully lessen churn.
1) Create a "Watch Now" bar that includes any show or movie you've added to your watchlist or have previously started to watch. The row should prioritize by the date last watched and if you viewed the previous season of a show, it should pop up in this section when the new season begins. Make it easy to delete items from this section if you change your mind and stick the bar at the top of the home page. It doesn't matter what marketing priorities exist internally. You know what subscribers want to watch first? Their favorite shows and movies. Discovery+ has a version of this now, although it can be buggy and if you don't watch a show for a couple of weeks, it will just disappear from the section. A UX decision that pretty much ignores the way a lot of people mini-binge watch their favorite shows.
2) Allow as much personalization of the home page as possible. If my two favorite genres are animation and classic movies, allow me to personalize what the app highlights to me. Westworld is a great show. But some subscribers, unless Guy Fieri makes an unexpected appearance, they aren't interested. So respect the choices of your subscribers. This is going to be increasingly important when the two streaming services - which have very different audiences - are mashed into one.
3) Enable more social sharing of viewing lists and other recommendations. An ideal scenario would be to offer subscribers the chance to publicly share their viewing data in the same way Spotify does. The default should always be privacy unless the subscriber decides otherwise. But enabling subscribers to share their viewing choices and allowing other people to "subscribe" to their feed would be a gamechanger for engagement. It's a complex enough issue that it wouldn't be ready for next Spring's launch. But other services are working on similar ideas and the service that launches first is going to have a big advantage.
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4) The current HBO Max app does a decent job of including cast and other info about shows and movies. But the TV show listings also need to include release dates. The Discovery+ already does this and it is a super helpful piece of data.
5) Create a "Top Ten" viewing list for TV shows and movies. Yes, it's an imperfect piece of data and the rankings can be skewed by all sorts of outside influences. But as Netflix's Top Ten lists have shown, they are prime ways to move discussion online. And the rankings also allow to highlight trending shows and movies, which is a prime method of content discovery. This is much more useful than HBO Max's current "trending" lists, which appear to be a somewhat random mix of things people are actually watching mixed in with new programs and a few shows HBO Max wishes you would watch.
6) Include a specific date for when a title is being removed. Including a "leaving soon" notice doesn't help the subscriber, who likely wants to watch the show or movie before it expires from the service. In the pantheon of bad customer service decisions, having subscribers complaining after the fact that a show they were in the middle of watching has disappeared is much worse than the marginal amount of bad buzz that comes from publicly admitting a title is disappearing soon.
Have I missed anything? Replay directly to this newsletter or share something in the comments link at the bottom of the newsletter.
SPEAKING OF GOOD UX CHOICES
I saw this when I signed into Amazon Prime on Friday. A great reminder to subscribers.
COMING TO ALLYOURSCREENS THIS WEEK
Here's a rundown of the reviews and other coverage coming to the web site this week. As always, I'll link to stuff in the daily newsletter as I post it. Shows preceded with a * denote those where I was able to receive an advance screener. Those will have review posted once the embargo lifts. Other titles will be reviewed after the fact, which is typically within 24-48 hours after it premieres.
TUESDAY, AUGUST 30TH:
I Am A Killer Season Three Premiere (Netflix)
*The Patient Series Premiere (FX on Hulu)
*Untold: Operation Flagrant Foul (Netflix)
WEDNESDAY, AUGUST 31ST:
*Club América vs Club América (Netflix)
*DC's Stargirl Season Premiere (The CW)
Family Secrets (Netflix)
Guy's Ultimate Game Night Series Premiere (Food)
I Came By (Netflix)
No-Recipe Road Trip With the Try Guys Series Premiere (Food)
Tales From The Explorers Club Series Premiere (Discovery)
*Under Her Control (Netflix)
THURSDAY, SEPTEMBER 1ST:
*It Couldn't Happen Here (Sundance)
Love In The Villa (Netflix)
Mountain Men Season Premiere (History)
*Pantheon Series Premiere (AMC)
Race For The Championship (USA)
*The Secrets She Keeps (Sundance Now)
The Shell Collection (Fox Nation)
FRIDAY, SEPTEMBER 2ND:
Buy My House (Netflix)
Devil In Ohio Series Premiere (Netflix)
Honk For Jesus. Save Your Soul (Peacock)
*House Of Hammer (Discovery+)
*Life By Ella (Apple TV+)
*The Lord Of The Rings: The Rings Of Power Series Premiere (Amazon)
You're Nothing Special Series Premiere (Netflix)
SATURDAY, SEPTEMBER 3RD:
First Time Fix Series Premiere (HGTV)
*Jack Osbourne’s Night of Terror: UFOs (Discovery+)
* Prescription For Love (Great American Family)
Soul Food With Tara Wallace Series Premiere (Impact)
TWEET OF THE DAY
ODDS AND SODS
* ABC has sent along a sneak peek from this Thursday's episode of Press Your Luck.
* Sports streaming makes losers of us all. Being a fan is now more annoying and expensive than ever.
* No reason has been given, but Michael Fishman is leaving The Conners with his character DJ written out of the show.
* There is a reason why most Muppets are left-handed.
* A decade into the streaming revolution, seams are showing and stitches are starting to pop. HBO Max - like other streaming services - has an inventory problem.
WHAT'S NEW FOR MONDAY
Here's a quick rundown of all the new stuff premiering today on TV and streaming:
American Ninja Warrior Season Finale (NBC)
America's National Parks (NatGeo)
Keep This Between Us (Freeform)
Mighty Express Season Premiere (Netflix)
My True Crime Story Season Premiere (VH1)
Under Her Control (Netflix)
Click Here to see the list of all of the upcoming premiere dates for the next few months.
SEE YOU TUESDAY!
If you have any feedback, send it along to Rick@AllYourScreens.com and follow me on Twitter @aysrick.