My main pet peeve with the old espn.com was that it had a video player (with sound!) that started playing automatically when opened the page. At least that is no more. But the new site is pretty much entirely a rich media experience. The main story box: video. The headline box on the upper right: 50% or more of the stories are video stories. Even the Bill Simmons' contributions are more often than not a pod cast, not a column. At times its actually hard to find stuff to actually read there.
Of course all of that is well and good if you like to consume your sports news through video. I do not. In fact, I pretty much avoid most video offerings on the net. I prefer the quiet and personal, text experience of a web site. Flash apps, video, audio all tend to turn me away. Now, with that, there are times that I will actively seek videos. In those instances, like everyone else, I go to the sites dedicated to video (YouTube or Hulu) and search for them. Other than that, I'm reading, not watching.
I bring this up because of the news today from Yahoo that they are going to start monetizing their search results with rich media ads. Videos as part of search results? Hmmmm...I'm skeptical.
Search is a lean forward experience. You're looking for something and you want to find it fast. You're not there to lean back and consume a video in the midst of it. Honestly, I can't personally ever imagine clicking on a video as a search result (outside a video search, obviously). Oy.
Now I know why they're (espn.com, yahoo, etc.) doing this: advertisers love rich media ads. The cpm's they carry are MUCH higher than those associated with standard display ads. Fair enough. But as a user, I hope this trend doesn't continue. I prefer my web to be text based.