SetJam is a tool, Clicker is a portal

ape_2About a week ago I had Brian Cohen from iFluence PR come in to talk about the “business previously known as PR” at one of the Free Lunch Friday’s I host at the RTV incubator.  After the meeting I sent him a few of the blog posts I’d written about SetJam to see if he thought they were clear enough to be of value to other writers who were trying to cover the New TV space.

We talked about a lot of things, but the one thing that he did almost unconsciously was to immediately focus on SetJam’s relationship to Clicker.  I wasn’t thrilled about this.  In spite of having written a somewhat panicky post the day they launched, I prefer to think about my users rather than my competitors.  Why should I define SetJam in relationship to another company?

The thing that Brian understood that I didn’t is that I didn’t really have a choice.  Rarely do two companies with such similar objectives launch in a brand-new market at exactly the same time.  He knew that anyone who was covering this space would need a clear way to explain how we were different.  My first post on this set the David vs. Goliath story in motion, but that’s really about the difference between SetJam and Clicker the companies.  What Brian was pushing me to define was difference between SetJam and Clicker the products.

I’ve come up with lot’s of ideas, but yesterday something happened that made defining the difference a lot easier–I invited 2,000 people in to check out SetJam.  Wow… if you’re trying to understand how to describe your product, listen to your users!  Many of the people who tried out SetJam had also tried Clicker.  Much to my relief, many people wrote and told me that they liked SetJam much better–whew!  There were others though, who seemed less convinced.  I spent a lot of time with this second group, and in the process came to understand the real difference between SetJam and Clicker–SetJam is a tool, Clicker is a portal.

Once you understand this, everything else about our two sites makes perfect sense.  Start with the users.  The people who liked SetJam better were like me–they knew what they wanted to watch and just needed a tool that gave them the easiest, fastest way to watch it.  The people who found SetJam lacking were coming with no real objective–they were looking for a place to hang out, a place to browse, a place to entertain them.  It’s like the difference between the way my wife and I shop for clothes.  I’ll go to a giant department store, spend 30 minutes, and have my entire fall wardrobe.  She’ll spend the entire afternoon in SoHo and come back with a skirt.

Next look at design.  The people who liked SetJam described it as “quick, clean, and SIMPLE”–just like a tool should be.  The people who were looking to be entertained thought it was “plain and boring”.  The clearest design indicator of the tool vs. destination difference is how we present shows.  SetJam provides three simple links for each show based on the three business models around content (Free, Buy, or Subscribe).  You click, and we send you to the site just like Google.  Clicker tries to frame everything.  They want you to feel like you’re watching it there.  They want you to hang out.

Features followed the same division.  One of the SetJam fans wrote, “You’re giving users what they want, not inundating them with useless features.”  Yeah… exactly!  Other people, however, complained that we were missing “browsing” and “categories”.  I don’t have the time or desire to post comments to any site, but if you’re looking for a place to post your favorite quote from last week’s episode of “30 Rock”, Clicker’s the place to do it.

You can even see the tool vs. portal distinction in SetJam’s focus on premium content, like TV shows and Movies.  Tools are about efficiency and we didn’t want to complicate SetJam with all the UGC garbage from YouTube.  We spent our time filtering OUT that stuff and going deep into the premium content (SetJam currently has 10 times the number of movies and TV episodes Clicker has).  Clicker went the “YouTube with a pretty face” route.  They want you to be able to find anything video (the suggested searches on their homepage are terms like “Health Reform”, “Windows 7″, “Thanksgiving Recipes”, “Fort Hood”, and “Droid”).

I guess now that I understand the differences this way, I can’t really say which approach is better, but I’m really grateful to Brian for helping me define that difference.  Not only does it help me explain SetJam better, but it helps me focus on what we’re great at.  I like being a tool builder.  I like obsessing about how to shave a quarter second off of our “Time-to-Watch” metric that defines how long it takes to actually watch your show.  The simple, fast tools on the internet are what I value most, and I’m excited to build the best TV tool out there.

If you’d like to checkout our search engine for TV shows and movies, sign-up for our private preview at www.setjam.com.  Although we started with search, we think it’s just the first step toward a new kind of TV that is personal, interactive, and social, and we need you to help us define the future of TV.  Rest assured though–whatever we build, it will be “quick, clean, and simple”–and it will only have the stuff you tell us you NEED!

  • http://www.iControl.tv/ Shakir Razak

    Hi,

    Nice Post!

    Sounds Familiar. ;)

    Kind regards,

    Shakir Razak

  • http://www.iControl.tv/ Shakir Razak

    Hi,

    Nice Post!

    Sounds Familiar. ;)

    Kind regards,

    Shakir Razak

  • marcodeveglia

    You shall define your service in relation to competitors because this is what your potential clients do. Even more, they define your service comparing it to something they already know. There isn't marketing in a vacuum, it's always working with what's already in the mine.
    Having said that, and comparing SetJam to Clicker:

    - SetJam seems like a search engine for shows and movies
    - Clicker seems more like a directory for shows and movies
    - browsing on Clicker is satisfying, browsing on SetJam not
    - searching is clearer on SetJam, but Clicker works too
    - Clickers says “what's on online” suggesting you can search what is online “now”. SetJam “gives you access” to every show and movie ever. There is a subtle difference here that could be exploited

    I could go on, but the basic positioning is that you HAVE to look at your competitors and listen to your customers (something you already did). A good add-on to your service would be a collaborative filter that shows related movies. Probably you could use the Amazon tool if one logins with his/her Amazon account.

    • http://www.setjam.com drstarcat

      Thanks for the feedback! I fully agree about the collaborative filter. We
      had this in our original designs, but it just kept getting put off. It will
      be back soon though!

  • lewisbriggs

    I like the simplicity setjam offers compared to clicker and casting it as a tool rather than portal does help you differentiate your brand and clarify your business model. However, the key question to me is what does the growing population of online video viewers, and eventually, over the top video viewers need/want when they migrate their viewing of premium content away from the pay tv providers? They need a way to keep current with episodes and eliminate already watched episodes. Also, a smooth way to jump into show (i.e. catch up) would be great.

    This will become difficult as more free content is hosted all over the place and with different viewing windows. A simple season pass (like Tivo) combined with notification features to warn you when your chance to watch an episode for free will be lost…that is what's needed. Clicker's playlist feature is unnecessarily complicated. I think people just want a way to watch this premium content efficiently and smartly, with no hassles…setjam could be that product/tool on multiple viewing platforms.

    • http://www.setjam.com drstarcat

      Thanks for the feedback Lewis, and I couldn't agree more with you. You've
      touched upon two key features that we've wanted to integrate from the
      beginning, but haven't yet had the time: Tracking what you've watched, and
      notifications for new episodes.

      We're working as hard as we can to deliver both of these! Regardless, the
      key for us will always be to keep it simple.

    • http://www.setjam.com drstarcat

      Friends, Family, and Once and Future Colleagues,

      I’m writing to let you know that today SetJam was acquired by
      Motorola Mobility. We are all very excited about this transition
      here at SetJam. Motorola and SetJam share the vision of making content delivery, discovery, and consumption seamless across any screen, and as a world leader in video technology, Motorola will provide us with unprecedented levels of reach and distribution.

      I want to take this moment to personally thank you for your continued encouragement and support over the past two years. None of this success would have been possible without your backing and belief in us. While this acquisition was in process, we’ve had to be far less communicative than we normally would be. We greatly look forward to reconnecting with all of you in the New Year. In the mean time, we wish you a happy and healthy holiday season!

      Cordially,

      Ryan

      Ryan Janssen
      (Former) CEO, SetJam

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  • lewisbriggs

    I like the simplicity setjam offers compared to clicker and casting it as a tool rather than portal does help you differentiate your brand and clarify your business model. However, the key question to me is what does the growing population of online video viewers, and eventually, over the top video viewers need/want when they migrate their viewing of premium content away from the pay tv providers? They need a way to keep current with episodes and eliminate already watched episodes. Also, a smooth way to jump into show (i.e. catch up) would be great.

    This will become difficult as more free content is hosted all over the place and with different viewing windows. A simple season pass (like Tivo) combined with notification features to warn you when your chance to watch an episode for free will be lost…that is what's needed. Clicker's playlist feature is unnecessarily complicated. I think people just want a way to watch this premium content efficiently and smartly, with no hassles…setjam could be that product/tool on multiple viewing platforms.

  • http://www.setjam.com drstarcat

    Thanks for the feedback Lewis, and I couldn't agree more with you. You've
    touched upon two key features that we've wanted to integrate from the
    beginning, but haven't yet had the time: Tracking what you've watched, and
    notifications for new episodes.

    We're working as hard as we can to deliver both of these! Regardless, the
    key for us will always be to keep it simple.

  • Pingback: The New TV Stack: How to Watch Internet TV on your TV Set | SetJam

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