Yesterday afternoon a colleague stopped me in the hallway to express her congratulations on the launch of the new video portal on pbs.org. It has been a long road to get that experience out the door, and it has been exciting to see so much press attention and warm feedback flowing in from stations and users. However, I found myself hesitating before smiling and thanking her. I think I hesitated because, in our world, the launch of the national portal is just a small milestone on the path to where we need to be - to give all stations access to the infrastructure that will allow them to create unique experiences that blend local and national content to serve local audiences.
This week, the Station Products & Services team barely paused to cheer the national launch. A few outstanding bugs have forced us to delay giving the 14 COVE pilot stations access to the final version of the publishing tool that will allow them to enter local content into the COVE infrastructure and begin launching customized portals of their own. Our primary focus has been on getting that service up and running.
As you can imagine, the number one question we're getting from stations about the national video portal is, "It looks great! When can I get it?"
Unfortunately, this is not an easy question to answer as we're still learning as we go, but let me lay everything out as it stands right now.
Our top priority remains getting COVE powered resources into the hands of stations as quickly as possible.
Our immediate concern is to begin the launch support of the fully customized local/national experiences being created by our 14 pilot stations.
The purpose of working with a small sample of stations that are representative of the system is so we can learn what level of support is required given all the different factors that go into a local implementation of COVE. Some of these factors include the size of the station team working on COVE, the amount of local video available, and the amount of design customization desired.
Without having launched a single pilot station yet, we can't confirm that our theories about what it will take to get a station launched are accurate. Despite the bugs mentioned above we are still on-track to begin launching the first pilot stations later this spring and regroup with our lessons learned in early summer.
Stay tuned. We'll be ramping up COVE related postings as we begin rolling out local COVE implementations. We'll also be hosting individual COVE consultations at Showcase to provide one-on-one advice about ways your station can start preparing now to integrate with COVE. Drop us a line if you what more information.
This week's launch is a considerable victory on the path to creating a truly comprehensive online video ecosystem, but the bulk of the project has only just begun.