The evolution of CNET video

We're making big changes to how we produce video at CNET, taking what we've learned from six years of podcasting and blazing new trails in tech video.

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It's the end of an era and it's the birth of an era.

If you're a CNET fan, you may have listened to a CNET podcast or a thousand since Molly Wood and Tom Merritt launched the trailblazing Buzz Out Loud podcast in 2005. Buzz Out Loud (all 1,588 episodes!) and the shows that followed in its footsteps, from Rumor Has It to Crave and Dialed In, number among the most creative, fun live shows on the Internet.

But here's the thing: we've closely observed over the past few months how our audiences watch video, and we're finding that a truly tiny percentage of our podcasts are consumed live as they happen. The vast majority of you download and view our videos much later. So we've decided to break out of the small podcast studio and wind down many of our live podcasts.

Don't unpack your throwing tomatoes yet. We were podcast trailblazers, and now we're blazing new trails. We're hard at work on some exciting changes designed to put all your favorite CNET tech personalities into new videos we know you'll love.

First, some context. The past decade has been a time of exploration for video on the Internet, from podcasts to lean-back entertainment sites. YouTube blossomed, and Hulu took off. Set-top boxes brought Internet-based video to televisions. The industry as a whole conducted a broad-ranging experiment, searching far and wide for the right format for online video. Some companies think that live content is the future (ahem, AOL). In the past year, we've seen glimpses of the future of TV, and we disagree. We believe that the future is a fully on-demand world -- more and more, users are busy cutting cords and saving long-form video content to view it later.

You, the CNET audience, know technology better than anyone. You live so close to the bleeding edge, you really should carry Band-Aids. If anyone owns a tablet, a Roku, or an XBox, you do. If anyone knows how to view video anywhere, you do. Because you're ready for video produced only on the Internet, and because you're ready to watch it on your tablet or even in your living room, CNET is going to double down, rolling out new shows and formats that take advantage of this brave new world. And when everyone else catches up and transitions to getting their video wherever they want, whenever they want, CNET will be there waiting.

We're busy working on long-form shows and short, engaging videos that will reset the bar for tech-focused video. Don't be surprised when you see your favorite CNET personalities pop up in new and creative projects across your devices.

Molly has something up her sleeve: the first of our long-form shows with interactive elements completely new to CNET video. The weekly feature, called Always On, is slated to launch in summer and promises a full slate of beautiful tech and amazing moments. Have you ever heard of a skateboard you steer with your mind? Molly has, and she's driven one. Observe, then get your set-top boxes ready for Molly in your living room every single week.

This is just the beginning. The Rumor Has It crew is busy working on a new, on-demand show. Brian Cooley and Brian Tong have exciting projects in the hopper, and we're launching a news show this month called CNET Update. Bridget Carey will host the show in a commute-friendly format with an interactive player that serves up headlines and links (designed for tablet viewing in addition to standard Web consumption) and an audio version for those behind the wheel.

We're putting more news videos where you find the news, too: right on news story pages themselves. Rafe Needleman's Reporters' Roundtable will live on in a downloadable format, and we'll continue to provide the same excellent live coverage for major tech events, with our top talent giving blow-by-blow comment on live blogs and major shows like CES.

And we're not walking away from live shows entirely. The 404 will live on, airing daily on CNET at 9 a.m. PT. Jeff Bakalar and Justin Yu will continue to experiment with live formats, so expect to see some big changes with that show in the coming months. If we discover or invent new live formats, you'll be the first to know. We're reinventing our hands-on product review videos, too. Have you seen Donald Bell's new iPad video? You should.

We want to stay in touch with you because we're just getting started. Follow us on Twitter and every other major social media outlet for announcements about our new videos as they arrive, and please give us your sincere feedback.

Stay tuned. You won't regret it.

 

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