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Summary:

Natali Del Conte’s new show Loaded is up and running over on CNET TV. And thank God, because if there’s one thing the Internet needs, it’s another show featuring a woman reading the news. Del Conte is certainly no talking head; she’s written for a number […]

Natali Del Conte’s new show Loaded is up and running over on CNET TV. And thank God, because if there’s one thing the Internet needs, it’s another show featuring a woman reading the news. Del Conte is certainly no talking head; she’s written for a number of tech pubs including WIRED, PC Magazine and TechCrunch. But do all those smarts deliver a compelling show? Not quite yet.

loaded2.jpg

Let’s just get this out of the way. Del Conte’s got a good presence on camera and good delivery. She’s every-so-slightly stiff with the jokes, but she also drops techie personal anecdotes about eBay and high-end phones, which lend her credibility and believability.

The show suffers in two main areas — audience and timing. (Well, three areas, if you count the wrong day being listed in the screengrab, but we all make mistakes.)

Right now, I can’t figure out who exactly the show is targeted at. Is it for the noob or the tech-savvy? Loaded is basically just someone reading the headlines and lead paragraphs of stories from a handful of reputable tech blogs. The problem is that the tech-savvy already read those tech blogs and get much more analysis than is offered on Loaded. So rundowns of tech news headlines quickly become redundant.

If the show is after the noob, it gets into some pretty obscure stuff — like 700 MHz purchases that mean little to someone just coming into the tech world — and because it’s video, there are no links to provide outside context. And in what is an egregious sin in the modern video world, CNET doesn’t allow embedding, so videos can’t be spread to new audiences. Non-techie people must tune in to the all-techie CNET.

Secondly, yes, the show’s rat-a-tat pace is engineered for the web, but the show feels so quick it’s like eating cotton candy. It’s in a sugary-sweet format, but there’s no substance. It becomes a shallow take on tech news. And even though the show is fast, ironically it’s faster for people to read the tech news they need by scanning their RSS feeds and skipping the stories they’re not interested in.

This isn’t a death knell for Loaded, they just need to figure out a formula that works (and one that already hasn’t been done to death online). It just needs to re-load. Make it all quirky stories — like the sushi feature — or nab more interviews. Or just pick one topic and really analyze it.

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  1. I think that CNET’s Loaded is, at least for now, a re-packaged version of TeXtra, Natali del Conte’s former show that she was working on at Podshow. I agree that it is heavy on style and a little lacking in substance, but I believe that it will improve. Hopefully, they will begin to feature more analysis and interviews making it a blend of John Dvorak’s Tech5 and GigaOm.

  2. Loaded is 10x better than TeXtra. But Del Conte seems 50x more comfortable in this format, which is key. She’s got tons of potential, and I’m confident it will work for her on cnet.

  3. Amen! The last thing the Internet needs is more pretty faces giving the news unnecessary context. Regardless of qualifications, it’s that format that makes television unwatchable for me.

  4. Dear CNET, You’re Doing it Wrong « MyMediaMusings Wednesday, February 13, 2008

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  5. You forgot to mention Mahalo Daily (although not daily “news”) and Morgan Webb’s Web Alert…

    The real question is, how long until Miss Del Conte leaves cnet and ends up on the Today Show? I bet it is within one year. When it happens it will be just another example of the power and draw old media still has.

  6. Brian,

    I thought about adding Mahalo Daily, but didn’t because, you’re right, it’s not really “news.”

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