MeeVee Overhauls Site. I Want More.

MeeVee, an online TV listings and search provider, recently covered here, launched a redesigned site today with several new features. The new version combines the TV listings grid and watch list functionality into a single user interface allowing users to create a personalized TV guide. They’ve also added a social networking widget that shows your guide on personal pages and blogs and they’ve integrated the “TVwithmeevee” blog, with its creepy, phallic potato mascot (of which I am a fan), into the rest of the site. While MeeVee has moved the service forward with this launch, it still doesn’t go far enough.

The experience is centered on the personalized TV guide. On MeeVee, you select from a list of favorite actors, genres, subjects…or enter keyword interests (e.g. “golf”). The guide then finds upcoming programming based on those interests. It’s a saved search so it’ll keep looking for those programs for you until you remove the interests. If you love “Jennifer Aniston”, you can add her as a favorite actress or keyword and, until you delete her, all shows or movies on TV with Jennifer Aniston showing through your cable or satellite provider will populate your guide. If you are willing to invest the time, you can build a totally customized TV guide and ditch the universal grid completely. It’s an easy-to-use application and it’s a nice model for building a personalized web experience. The TV listings widget (called “MeeVee Guide”) they’ve built shows your personal guide to visitors of your pages on other sites. You can add to a page by pasting a snippet of code to it. They need to streamline the experience, but it’s a nice feature and I expect it will gain some traction.

All in all, these are improvements. The problem, and I’ve alluded to this in previous posts, is the experience isn’t complete enough. People are watching less broadcast TV and the move to time-shifted television is gaining momentum. It’s nice to find what I could watch at 8, but maybe I don’t watch at 8. If I’m looking for a TV show, with the exception of a live event, I want to watch it when I’m ready. At the very least, I want to program my PVR to watch it whenever I want.

I’ve spoken to their CEO, Michael Raneri, and he says the ability to program and watch is in the works. Raneri says MeeVee will take the personalized guide model and apply it other forms of content besides TV listings, with user-generated and professionally produced internet video both coming soon. With the millions of pieces of video content floating around out there, there’s a role for someone to begin to filter it based on personal preferences, so why not MeeVee? When they’ve done that and I can watch more content then and there or whenever I choose, they’ll have given me the more complete experience I crave.