First attempt

The CBSN watching experience was completely different to my NPR listening experience. It was terrible. I had a hard time focusing on it for even a half hour. 24/7 video stream, sidebar to select interesting content, cool ideas CBS. However, the variety of content and the visual appeal of the website will need to be much better to capture an audience.

First of what I did not like was that although it is 24/7 news stream, it doesn’t always provide you new content, at least not for me. The sidebar that displays the videos playlist just rotates the news stories. This is what I saw on my page:Repeating sidebar

The story from the top of the bar just goes back down as the  “coming up” video. The thing is, the first news story that I watched when I opened CBSN was exactly the “Russia Missile Fail” video. This makes me think that CBS just lacks content. Also, out of the total of only 15 news videos, I was only sort of interested in 2, the “Hypnotism Deaths” and “I’m Too High” because they are some what novel compared to the other political and military related news.

A feature that I found ridiculously contradictory to the “24/7 live stream” was this on the screen in the middle of the news stream:

Back iN.... Yes, they had a pause in between.

However, they have this at the bottom of the page:Always on

Is it me or does CBS think that it is okay to make their audience wait? For me just means that I will close the site and go do something else and never come back. I don’t want to wait, what will that be different compared to watching TV? Advertising break? I was very thrown off by this and decided to stop watching there and then.

One more thing that I didn’t like was I had no ability to choose what I want to watch at all. I can’t skip the stories I don’t want to watch, nor can I select the categories of stories that I want to listen to. I think CBSN is not catching up fast enough to our generation. We want what we want whenever we want it. 

Second Try:

Anyways, after giving up yesterday, I decided to try again, just to be fair that I didn’t just catch CBSN on a bad day. Once again, I see the same issue. Although there are more than 15 videos this time, well, from the first scroll, there are only 13 distinct stories. 12 of the 13 stories appears twice on the playlist and 1 story appears 3 times, making a total of 27 sidebar options.

On the positive side, the variety of content did increase and attracted me a little better. The list of stories that I picked out to watch were:

  • Best  In (First) Class
  • Nobel Peace Prize
  • $300M Ghost Airport
  • Why So Bitter? – Turns out psychopaths loves bitter and other weird tasting things

The ones that I thought could be interesting but didn’t finish watching were:

  • Texas Shooting
  • Fleet week
  • Shadow of death

So 7 out of 13 distinct stories, I think this is better than 2/15.

However, a general trend I see in the CBS news selection is that, the stories are often negative or serious or about crimes. From the 13 stories that I can choose from, there was only, “Nobel Peace Prize”, “Best  In (First) Class” and “Why So Bitter” that were not crime, military, war, or politics related.  

The “Nobel Peace Price” news was also something I have listened to earlier in the day on NPR One.

Compared to NPR

This is what I think of NPR One:

  • Simple platform
  • Mobility and portability
  • Customizable
  • Novel news – not only world affairs but findings, research, health related and also podcasts
  • Mindless and effortless listening
  • No repeated stories, unless you follow a particular podcast
  • Casual tone
  • Local news comes up through Local radio – in this case Michigan Radio

This is what I think of CBSN:

  • Immobile – must watch on computer, restricting time and location to use it.
  • Non customizable – cannot skip nor indicate “interest”
  • Mostly serious stories
  • Effort required to watch – can’t pause very quickly if I’m purely listening
  • All stories in the sidebar repeated at least twice
  • Very few local news as the audience cannot indicate location

Given that I tried to watch CBSN two days in a row, I would not watch it again and I definitely would not recommend any other person watching it. Not only watching it didn’t give me any more interesting news that I wouldn’t read or listen elsewhere, such as NPR One but it was almost upsetting to hear about all the gunshots, war and what psychopaths like to eat.


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