Channel surfing and discovery in an on-demand world

G4's Attack of the Show
Kevin Pereira and Olivia Munn, hosts of “Attack of the Show” on the G4 cable network.

Like most Americans, I watch regular TV a LOT.  Nielsen reports here that on average, Americans spend 161 hours (153 hours of linear TV + 8 hours of time shifted programs) watching TV every month!  I’m not THAT bad but I do channel surf a LOT; not an easy task given the lame remotes and current programming guide that *cough* Comcast *cough* has. 

I happen to catch G4’s Attack of the Show with Kevin Pereira and Olivia Munn and it was really entertaining – fast paced, funny, and really well-done product reviews.  I’ll start tuning-in more often.  Their guest was Peter Facinelli – Dr. Carlisle Cullen to you Twilight fans – who was sporting enough to be part of their Breaking Dawn SPOOF video (I laughed). 

Peter also did a really great job demo’ing his new Vampire Transformer iTunes app ($2.99).  Basically, you load a picture of you or someone you love/hate.  The app has transparent vampire/monster underlay images to choose from.  Pinch or spread to size to your image  and rub the parts you want to add (horns, gashes, blood, backgrounds).  The underlying part comes through and appears on your own image.  Use several underlays to create a ghoulish picture.  The cool thing is that you can immediately share your new creation to twitter and facebook.

Note to Peter:  get a copy of that G4 segment and put it on Youtube – it’s better than the ones currently up there.

With over 100,000 iTunes apps out there so far, how do you find the good ones?  It’s not easy.  Sound like a familiar problem?  It’s the exact same dilemma that I just wrote about (see my post).  Millions of online videos in an on-demand environment – it’s overwhelming.  So how the heck do you find stuff?   For starters, the answer is that better-than-what’s-currently-out-there discovery process.

Ultimately though, as the space matures, it’ll come down to regular old marketing and advertising.  Online is just another distribution channel and you’ll have to spend money to gain attention and market share.  I’m sure those lucky apps that got featured on Apple’s “We’ve got an app for that” TV spots saw a nice bump in downloads/sales (right WhatBird?).  Those who can afford to market will have better sales/ views/ ads/ revenues.  With random exceptions, WOM and social networking will only take you so far, and you have to be really good at it.  Peter got valuable air time because of his celebrity status.  Not everyone is so lucky. 

When you launch your next iTunes app, webisode, or on-demand seminar, how will you get the word out?

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