Vlog: Getting better

I just finished the third episode of TVA’s Vlog, which I’ve been following since its debut with a critical eye.

I find myself liking the show a bit more this time around, partly because of subtle changes made to it, and partly because I think I might have been a bit harsh in my original analysis.

The show is showing more videos I haven’t seen before, and is showing more of them. The hosts also seem a bit more comfortable in their roles, and their banter seems a bit less fake. The fact that host Dominic Arpin is listening to his audience is also worthy of praise.

Nevertheless, there’s still some issues with the show, and I hope Arpin & Co. will take this criticism constructively:

  • A fantastic video of George W. Bush singing Sunday Bloody Sunday was shown with subtitles explaining the lyrics. I’ve always gotten annoyed by Quebec media (and especially Montreal media) who seem to ignore the fact that 40% of Quebecers are bilingual (in Montreal, the percentage is even higher, around 50%). But even if you ignore the statistic, what’s important isn’t so much the lyrics as the editing that made the words match. (Or am I on the wrong track here? Francophones who can’t understand English can respond below)
  • Can we be done with the Occupation Double Top 3 videos please? They’re not funny, they’re not interesting, and for some strange reason they’re not even of very good quality. Due to how fast they go through them, it seems the Vlog people are being ordered by TVA to plug the show in this way, which would be a shame. It serves no useful purpose.
  • Any chance you could start on time once in a blue moon? I’m sure there’s a valid reason why the show is always delayed by up to half an hour. But this is not the way to gain viewership to a new show. The few who remembered to tune in an hour later than “usual” this week saw some woman being interviewed on a terrace. If you don’t care about anyone but those who watch Occupation Double and want to stick around, that’s fine, but some of us don’t want to watch that crap on Sunday night.
  • When asking people to submit videos of themselves doing things, don’t relegate them to a tiny corner of an otherwise blank screen showing the credits while an announcer promos upcoming shows. Give them at least a bit of spotlight, or they’ll stop producing.
  • And Dominic, as for your dancing…

One thing I’ll stop criticizing the show for, however, is using old videos. The Sunday Bloody Sunday video referenced above is good, and many people haven’t seen it. I don’t see any reason it shouldn’t be showcased on the show. (If anything, an old video that’s out of the spotlight will have been seen by fewer viewers than one that’s burning up YouTube.) Unless it’s tied to some dated news event, go ahead and show it.

Your website still sucks

I’m debating putting that subhead in bright orange just so the powers that be at Canoe figure it out. As far as I can tell, not a single improvement has been made to the website for the show since its launch, despite some very serious problems with it:

  • The URL (tva.canoe.com/emissions/vlog/) is way, way too long
  • The homepage automatically plays a video with audio without asking permission
  • Navigation is done using Flash instead of HTML links (overuse of Flash and Web 2.0-ish bad design is a problem all over the site)
  • There’s a button to watch the show live, but it only works when the show is on TV. This goes against the entire point of the Web.
  • Links to videos featured on the site force new windows to pop up instead of just being HTML links that people can control based on their browsing preferences
  • Clicking on the link for “Blogue” still brings you to a page that’s devoid of content and is missing the navigation buttons related to the show.
  • Doing anything on the website requires going through the 17,000-step Canoe registration process.

All these things need to be dealt with before we can even get to suggestions to improve it (like having an RSS feed with links to all the videos seen in the show).

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