Cable TV networks have made a fortune off of clip shows. Programs like VH1’s 100 Greatest (insert whatever you want here) cost next to nothing to produce. All that’s needed is a host that isn’t ugly to deliver lines that aren’t terrible on a set that isn’t extravagant between stock footage that the network either already owns or can easily license. These shows aren’t great, but they work. People watch.
The newly launched Digg Reel is a clip show for the web. An almost exact mimicry of its traditional TV counterparts.
Produced by Digg-backed new media production house Revision3, the set and writing is the same as similar fare on television. The differences are that instead of counting down the 100 Hottest Hotties, the weekly program highlights the top rated videos from “the most popular social news site on the web,” Digg.com. Instead of Mark McGrath or Tara Reid running the show, it’s TechTV alum and Tekzilla co-host, Jessica Corbin. And instead of working, it doesn’t.
People watch clip shows to see content they haven’t seen before, or to pick up some engaging commentary. The Digg Reel does neither.
You might not know about (and probably wouldn’t be able to find) all 50 Greatest Funny Moments in Music, and the guest comedians on Best Week Ever can have some good zingers when critiquing last week’s pop culture news. The videos presented by Corbin, however, are all things that your average Joe Internet has already seen or knows to get, especially if he’s tuning into Revision3. And their presentation doesn’t give him enough reason to watch. It’s staid, too-tight, too-slick, and too much like mediocre television to keep him engaged.
Get Corbin out of a vacuous studio space and into something that looks real. Give her a stein full of barley, hops, water, and yeast, and loose that tightly-scripted aesthetic. It’s worked for Diggnation. Or instead of investing in smooth transitions and punchlines to bookend clips, focus writing efforts towards sketches or impersonations of the vids themselves. It’s worked for The Clip Show.
Bottom line: Do something different with how you show your clip show. Something that simply presents top internet vids isn’t going to work.