Online Videos Aren't Watched, They're Played

Mariah Carey and Barack Obama each had something to sell this week, and they made live videos to do it. Both videos bombed. Ms. Carey’s pitch on HSN, for tracksuits and other sundries from her fashion label, was too weird. Mr. Obama’s pitch on the networks for Congressional compromise wasn’t nearly weird enough.

Both impresarios made the same mistake. They failed to understand the shifting dynamics of the very small screen, and instead aimed to produce traditional TV spots. Spots like these nearly always misfire when they are played on the Web, where most people now see them. And analyse them. And satirize them.

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