No Hollywood Budget Required.
I remember when I first stumbled across YouTube, my reaction was a mixture of horror and fondness. The horror came first because I could not understand what drove people to make such nutty videos, and than the fondness began to set in when I found a video to love. I thought it was a brilliant move when Google brought YouTube. Google will essentially make billions of dollars by simply providing enough bandwidth and site maintenance. The entire website is user generated content and there is plenty of space for advertisements. I know a few people who use YouTube or else Peer to Peer Networks exclusively for their entertainment needs-they haven’t watched television in months.
I personally do not think Television is going the way of the Newspapers for a few reasons. YouTube may be cool and addictive, but after awhile randomness gets annoying and people want more story/content/plot than a cute little kitten. Television programs understand their audience and have changed to meet their needs unlike traditional newspapers. Television Networks have begun to put either sample episodes or entire seasons on sites such Hulu and Fancast because they know people are spending more time online. Perhaps one day all Networks will broadcast exclusively on the Internet, but the concept of television will not die out. If anything, YouTube will extinguish before the fall of television.
While Television shows are formulaic, they have originality and a boat load of researchers working for them. Once a YouTube video idea becomes popular, hundreds of people suddenly start uploading videos of their cute little kittens. This is just one example, but I am sure everyone has noticed this trend where similar videos keep cropping up. Since the YouTube format has become instantly recognizable and frequently visited, many other websites (such as IMEEM) have copied the concept but trademark it differently. IMEEM does not only persuade existing YouTube users to their site, but have people post links in their YouTube videos. Television networks do extensive research on what an audience likes while YouTube users only have a few friends for feedback on their next video. No One can attribute YouTube’s success to one component. Yes it is cheap and there is lots of variety. Yet, all videos have an equal chance of getting thousands of hits.