We don’t have DSTv at home. This is, truth be told, more my wife’s doing as she knows she’d see even less of me if I had multiple sports channels to pick from every hour of every day. Other than the sport, I don’t miss DSTv – the rest of the programming is pretty average and repetitive.

SuperSport VideoSuperSport, the SA DSTv sports channel, recently spruced up it’s various Web properties (courtesy Clickthinking), my favourites obviously being SuperRugby and SuperCricket. The look and feel of the sites is nice and clean, and everything seems to work pretty well. The most significant addition, for me, is the highlights packages now being delivered by online video. These highlights packages were previously only available on the DSTv highlights channel, which meant that a good hour of my time spent at family braais or Sunday lunches were spent catching up on the weeks sporting events. Thanks to the addition of these highlights on the Web, I’m seeing more of my family 🙂

I think SuperSport are getting smarter, especially considering back in 2001 they controversially wanted to charge surfers just to check out their content.

However, the system ain’t quite perfect yet. The conversion of video to Web format is a bit dodgy – the image is a bit stretched, sound isn’t perfect and the player does some rather funny things when switching between tabs in Firefox. Compare the quality to what you see at ESPN.com.

I have some free suggestions for minor improvements that could make a big difference…

1. When I type “supercricket.co.za” into my browser address bar, nothing comes up. Clickthinking – PLEASE get this sorted out for your client! I shouldn’t have to type out the “www” every time I want the page to come up. Your site comes up fine when I type “clickthinking.com” without the “www”, so why shouldn’t your clients?

2. Build a customised player or buy a better flash player. Concentrate on investing in top quality conversions.

3. This suggestion probably renders the previous one null and void, but why not host the highlights on YouTube? You’ll get free exposure and free traffic back to SuperSport.co.za, plus you can just embed the YouTube player. People are going to download them themselves and upload them to YouTube anyways – save them the energy and share your content first 🙂

4. Regardless of whether you go with 3. or not, allow people to make comments on the highlights package videos. Encouraging community interaction (as keo.co.za does so well) will keep your viewers online longer.

Use ’em, don’t use ’em.