AOLTV: Stillborn!

We’re still not all that big on suffering fools gladly, and we’re certainly not keen on suffering fools with billions of bucks to waste.


Like AOL. We previously described the doomed efforts in “convergent” television. (See the entire MogulWatch report.) TV Crossover Links kind of work. Everything else doesn’t, because overlaying the Web on a television program drives people nuts.

So it is in the increasingly-entrenched NUblog tradition of schadenfreude that we report on the first press reaction to AOLTV, the WebTV-killer by the Internet for Dummies.

Reaction to AOLTV sums up convergent television in a nutshell: Nobody wants it and it doesn’t work.

  1. Mike Langberg:
  2. Jared Sandberg: “AOLTV papers an electronic menu over half the television picture. Dive deeper into certain features of that menu to, say, use AOL’s chat rooms, and the TV picture is reduced to roughly one-fifth its original size.... Shrinking the picture has some TV networks up in arms. They fret that it dilutes the impact of their shows and allows too many distractions on the rest of the screen. Some network executives say that advertisers will be equally frustrated. ‘If Chrysler is paying for 100 percent of the screen,’ says Eric Shanks, vice president of enhanced programming at Fox Television, ‘they should get what they paid for.’ ”

AOLTV is a turkey. We hope it becomes a very-well--known turkey so as to scare off competitors with similarly limited imaginations and similarly limited grasp of reality. We need a lot of things online, but TV isn’t one of them. We need a lot of things in TV, but the Web isn’t one of them.

Posted on 2000-11-29