Mike Richman  |  07/31/2008

Moving at the Speed of Video

(Y)our new web site is now up and running.

As Dirk Dusharme mentioned recently in this space (“A Bold Step Forward,” June 2008), we at Quality Digest have been working like mad these last few months to launch a major redesign of our web site, conveniently located at www.qualitydigest.com. The primary upgrade involves the addition of streaming video, most of which we script, shoot, and edit ourselves.

Early last month, the new site went live. The results have been even better than expected, and not just in terms of user response. This new project has offered us a fantastic opportunity to learn some valuable lessons about customer service and quality in a whole new medium.

One of the great things about video is its intimacy and immediacy. If you’ve watched the Profile in Quality interview with Jim Harrington, the Technorazzi how-to/product demo at Indicate Technologies, or any of our weekly News Desks, you’ll see what I mean. I love print magazines in general and Quality Digest in particular, but an interview on a page does not carry the same emotional resonance as that same interview on camera, with a human voice and gestures. Same goes for how-to’s and demos. We’re proud of the case studies that we run in Quality Digest but anticipate that readers will get even greater mileage out of actually seeing that product and how it works on video. As far as the news goes, the News Digest stories that we feature each month in the magazine are useful, playful, and popular--yet our on-air News Desk takes it to a whole different level. The interaction between Dirk and Pamela Huggins, our regular anchors, is something special.

Best of all, we’re just scratching the surface. The programs that you see on our site right now are only the beginning of a paradigm shift in how we will cover our industry going forward. Every conversation we now have with our sources, our contributors, and our marketing partners begins with, “How can we get this story on video?”

Our new site offers a level of insight into the habits of our customers that we’ve never had before. For example, we can tell not only how often a particular video has been downloaded, and when, but also how long the average user watched it. So, if a typical four-minute video was viewed for an average of, say, 200 seconds, that’s pretty good--it means that most people stayed with it most of the way. 20 seconds? That’s not so good. That’s when we go back and see what happened on the video around the 20-second mark to see if we need to be doing something differently in terms of content, editing, lighting, or anything else.

Video has helped us to look at our industry, our customers, and our processes in a whole new way. We’ve come to realize that the highest purpose for our web site is as a forum for interaction. The videos that we produce are intended to open up discussions between all elements of the industry, especially involving users such as yourself. To that end, I encourage you to visit our site, log in, and comment about what you see. Or, if it’s easier, just send us an e-mail at http://www.qualitydigest.com/contact?category=Comments. Even better, send us your own videos, whether they’re responses to content already on the site or general commentary on a quality topic that we need to cover. We’ll soon have a special section of the site, www.qualitydigest.com/videos, available to handle contributions of this nature.

Remember, www.qualitydigest.com is your web site. Let us know what you want to see and help us serve you better.

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Mike Richman

Mike Richman is Quality Digest’s publisher.