Pew Research Center reported recently that web surfers view 3.5 billion pages online each day. One is tempted to suspect that the web site produced by Carlton (www.carlton.co.uk), the TV-based entertainment company, must account for at least half of them. Here are the top three reasons for such a belief:
First, its content has built-in popularity because it repackages and hypes successful TV programming such as Inspector Morse and Peak Practice, plus the Carlton Food Network and more. One of the emerging insights of web media is that successful online brands are seldom born; more often they are borrowed from established off-line brands.
Second, Carlton's web site is brilliantly executed, bursting with Day-Glo graphics and cutting-edge animation and audio. See it.
Third and most important, Carlton's circus racks up the pages because it has learned a lesson from TV: never let viewers switch channels if you can prevent it. So instead of allowing visitors to hyperlink in and out of its site at will, in the standard fashion Carlton mires them with a technical trick that opens windows inside windows inside windows on one's computer screen - like those nested Russian dolls - until the visitor has completely lost track of his or her location and the way out. Welcome to new media's hall of mirrors.