Microsoft’s marketing machine has gotten its new Zune media player in front of many eyes this week—from newspaper, web and magazine articles to TV commercials, special events, and coverage on news shows. Two somewhat contrasting Zune segments appeared this week on NBC’s “Today Show” and CNN’s “American Morning.”
The “Today Show” segment, featuring a pre-recorded report by NBC’s Peter Alexander, was impartial in facts, but twice showed the Zune sitting beside an older, fourth-generation iPod with monochrome screen instead of the latest video-capable fifth-generation iPod. Later in the segment, stock footage of an older iPod mini is also used. After Alexander’s report, Matt Lauer, Meredith Vieira, and Al Roker discuss the Zune, with Lauer saying, “We’re iPod guys.” Roker says the Zune’s wireless features are “Not enough for me” and that the Zune online store is “a little more unwieldy than the iTunes Store.” Lauer ends the segment with a statement about the relationship between NBC and Microsoft. “We should mention that Microsoft and NBC are joint partners in the MSNBC.com website.”
On CNN’s “American Morning,” hosts Soledad O’Brien and Miles O’Brien (no relation) talk with Andrew Ross Sorkin of The New York Times. Sorkin gives an overview of the Zune’s features while holding a Zune and showing it on camera. After the wireless features are downplayed and music compatibility problems are disclosed, the segment takes a turn when Soledad O’Brien pulls out her new second-generation iPod shuffle. “Now that’s the thing that’s a lot sexier than [the Zune],” Sorkin says. “Microsoft in the end will come out with something—I don’t know if it will be that pretty— but something.” Miles O’Brien asks, “Why don’t they get some decent design people to make things look better? It’s clunky.” Sorkin concludes with “No Comment.”
Watch both segments below.