Thursday, June 18, 2015

It's All For Our Good...Yeah, Right

Do you get taken in by PR spin? As an example, I will talk about TVNZ, the provider of two free to air TV channels in New Zealand. They started up an OnDemand service where if you miss a TV show, you can go there and watch it later. I would click on my favourites bar and I was there. Go into the show menu and hit the title and voilĂ ! As you watched your show, there were advertisements to make some money and fair enough. So simple. Who could want anymore? TVNZ.

They promoted big improvements were coming. The first one was everyone had to sign up to get in. If you didn't want the hassle, too bad. I know why. Because once you are signed up, they monitor your preferences and when you arrive you are bombarded with suggestions for TV shows. If you go to those, more time spent there and more advertising revenue.

OK, but not everyone wants the hassle of registering each time with passwords etc. Not everyone wants to be peppered with suggestions. So  I fired off an email and said "I don't want to sign up to anything just to watch your shows. Is this new wonderful on demand like everything else on the internet where you want info? Can't I just watch a show?"

The prompt reply was "We're changing TVNZ OnDemand to make it work better. There's a few reasons why we've needed to make registration (and login) compulsory. 

The changes will help make the site work better and give you a more personal experience. Like creating a watchlist, setting up your favourite shows so they’re right there and ready for you when you log in and enabling you to use our shiny new ‘pick up and play’ feature.

If you're confused about something or want more information, we've put some FAQs together below. If your question isn't answered here, send us a note using our Contact Form and we'll do our best to answer it and add it to this list."

They needed to make registration compulsory to make it work better and improve my experience. I like the idea of a shiny new feature. Maybe I'm confused, and I was because they didn't mention the improved monetary gain that it would give TVNZ. 

So I replied again: "I have no doubt many will like your 'personal experience'. You didn't need to make this compulsory, you chose to do it. I don't want it and I am sure in this hi tech age, you could have an opt out button. So I am curious for the real reasons, not the PR spin ones. 

I spend most of my TVNZ viewing on demand, but will not be registering. Please let me know when I can opt out because then I will get the experience I want, not you want. 

Kind regards"

No reply to that so maybe they will be no opt out option just yet. I do feel the need to get people registering has commercial benefits. Why can't I just go to a TV site and watch a show with attached adverts without another password, if I don't want the 'benefits'? To make more money of course, or was it just to improve my experience? Maybe they were right an I'm confused. I must check those FAQ's. 

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