Too Much TV: Your TV Talking Points For Monday, July 25th, 2022
So what will the new Warner Bros. Discovery app look like when it launches?
Here's everything you need to know about the world of television for Monday July 25th, 2022.
SO WHAT WILL THE NEW WARNER BROS DICOVERY APP LOOK LIKE WHEN IT LAUNCHES?
I was just speaking with an executive of a major streaming service and we were discussing a bit of UX issues at his streamer. As we talked, the subject of the Warner Bros. Discovery plan to combine HBO Max and Discovery+ into one app came up and at one point, he just groaned and admitted, "I don't know the F^&k they'll do. How do you combine all of that content into one app?"
While there's no date that has been announced for this meshing together of streaming services, Warner Bros Discovery head David Zaslav has been consistently insisting in interviews that some sort of service that combines those two apps is coming and it's coming not too far in the future.
But if you are familiar with both HBO Max and Discovery+, it's hard to imagine what that looks like. HBO Max is already often awkward to use and despite efforts to break the content into themed "hubs," it can difficult to find a title that isn't being highlighted by the platform. The Discovery+ platform is a bit cleaner, but it also has its own UX issues. And the thought of trying to combine all of that into one app makes my heard hurt, although you're starting to see some hints of an outline.
On the HBO Max side, Warner Bros Discovery has not just been pulling back on originals for some of its linear channels, it's also pulled previous seasons of the shows off of HBO Max as executives work to license off the episodes to rivals. It's a deliberative culling of the herd, which both frees up a bit of space on the platform and also provides unexpected revenue.
From the Discovery+ side, that platform's catalog can be cut down a bit by dropping the seasons of various A&E Networks and other outside licensed content. And Discovery+ has already been sending some shows and seasons of shows to on-demand platforms and the various TV Everywhere apps.
But those moves are only a fractional solution for the problem and unless streaming executives are willing to cut a lot of content from this combined service, it is difficult to see how they can wrangle everything into an easy-to-navigate service.
So instead, let's take another approach. Rather than focusing on the content, let's focus on the user interface. What features does this service need to be useful to the largest number of subscribers? Here is a list of back-of-the-envelope suggestions:
* The horizontal "Keep Watching" row should be at the top of the home page just under the top promo carousel. And even though the feature doesn't always work, I like the Discovery+ option of adding the last unwatched episode of shows you follow into the row as well. It's really useful to be reminded when shows have new episodes and while Discovery+'s version doesn't do it, having that row include an episode when the new season premieres would be great for content discovery.
* The "Recommended For You" horizontal row comes next, but rather than filling it with content from the list of various corporate priorities (HBO Max, I'm looking at you), use some basic metrics and data so it can be more personalized for users. Every HBO series, every Guy Fieri show...give subscribers a way to suggest what they'd like to have recommended.
* Solid data for every episode listing. A description, premiere date and the kind of in-depth cast and crew info HBO Max already provides on most of its listings.
* A list of every new title added to the platform in the last week (or maybe two weeks). Every title. Not just the buzzy shows or the titles you think people want to see. Any title - no matter how obscure - gets added. Because you never know what title will engage the subscriber and that engagement is what matters.
* Specific expiration dates for titles. Not "leaving soon" or some other vague description. When it first launched, HBO Max has a tab that listed titles set to expire with a specific date. I know that no streaming exec wants to think about titles leaving the service, but everyone knows that it happens. Rather than being passive-aggressive with the information, provide as much as possible and build trust with your users.
* Provide curated suggestion lists. There are several ways to do this, from text lists to special tabs to creating short weekly five-minute video "shows" along the lines of "Five Great British Spy Shows You Might Have Missed." Do everything possible to expedite content discovery, because it's an issue now even before the services have been combined.
What other suggestions do you have? Reply directly to this newsletter or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
I WON'T LIE...THIS SOUNDS LIKE FUN
I really enjoyed the rural Wyoming cop show Longmire, both when it aired on A&E and during its last season on Netflix. But I will admit that I haven't thought much about the show since it ended in 2017. So imagine my surprise to learn that there is an annual three-day Longmire Days festival taking place in Absaroka County, Wyoming from August 18th-21st. Guests include Robert Taylor (Sheriff Walt Longmire), Adam Bartley (The Ferg), and Craig Johnson (the New York Times bestselling author of the Longmire mysteries).
This event just sounds like a blast. There's a Longmire rodeo, a Kiwanis pancake breakfast, autograph sessions, a 5K run and fun event, some writing panels and a "Conversation With The Celebrities" at the local Buffalo High School Gym.
Given that the proceeds of the event goes to local charities and that all six seasons of the show are still streaming on Netflix, this seems like it would be a very cost-effective way for Netflix to build a little goodwill. Maybe donate $20,000 to the Longmire Foundation (which runs the festival) or sponsor a couple of the events. And for not that much more money, Netflix could hire a camera crew to cover the event and create a bit of original "extra" content to both go along with their episodes as well remind subscribers the episodes are there to be watched.
If Netflix is looking to get the biggest bang for the marketing buck, these are the niche events that pay off with that specific audience. I'm guessing Netflix could do all that I've suggested for the same costs as sponsoring one of those marketing activations that don't do much except grab a bit of news coverage in whatever large city they are being produced.
ODDS AND SODS
* I reviewed the wonderfully entertaining Netflix Polish original miniseries Queen, which tells the story of a well-known Parisian drag queen who decides to visit his hometown in Poland for the first time in 50 years.
* Linda Martindale recapped Sunday's episode of Riverdale.
* Paul Sorvino, an actor who specialized in playing crooks and cops like Paulie Cicero in Goodfellas and the NYPD sergeant Phil Cerretta on Law & Order, has died at the age of 83.
* The documentary Viagra: The Little Blue Pill That Changed The World premieres August 12th on Discovery+.
* Season two of the unscripted series Sweet Life: Los Angeles premieres Thursday, August 4th on HBO Max.
* The rom-com action series Wedding Day premieres Thursday, September 8th on Hulu.
* Noah Baumbach's Netflix film White Noise will be the opening movie of the 2022 Venice International Film Festival. The movie stars Adam Driver as a professor in the mid-West going through a very dramatic year.
* Emmy-winning writer & comedian Kevin Rooney has died at the age of 71.
* A really fun photo gallery of autographed copies of old TV Guides.
TWEET OF THE DAY
WHAT'S NEW FOR MONDAY
Here's a quick rundown of all the new stuff premiering today on TV and streaming:
Air Jaws: Top Guns (Discovery)
Gabby's Dollhouse Season Five Premiere (Netflix)
Great White Serial Killer: Fatal Christmas (Discovery)
Mega Predators Of Oz (Discovery)
Rise Of The Monster Hammerheads (Discovery)
Running Wild With Bear Grylls: The Challenge (NatGeo)
Stranger Sharks (Discovery)
World Of Flavor With Big Moe Cason Series Premiere (NatGeo)
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.
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