YouTube vs. Television

I was intrigued to see that New Media Rockstars had posted an article titled "Why YouTube Isn't Beating Television And Why It Never Will." I expected to be entertained and enlightened, reading about industry and technological truths that partner well with this title. I have found in my own  research that there are many reasons to believe this, and I was hoping for more tidbits to add to the discussion. I was left wanting.

For one, the title is misleading. While calling it "Why YouTube Isn't Beating Television And Why It Never Will," they should have titled it "Why YouTube Isn't Beating Television Yet." First, they claim YouTube doesn't have the quality of content that television does, yet they include no argument as to why it never could, even including the phrase "it will be a long time before anything on YouTube can replace them." So where does the "never" come into play? Next, they claim that YouTube doesn't have anything to offer that television hasn't beaten before. This is just a glaring untruth, considering the obvious way that YouTube offers interactivity to entertainment in a way that television is technically unable to.

They bring up a valid point when they say YouTube is too "snackable," offering little bits of content in short packages and falling short in terms of long-form content. What they fail to include in their argument is the "never" their title exclaims. They also fail to address the very legitimate reason YouTube is this way, and if they had done so, they would have better made their point.

The Internet is a goal-oriented medium with active users, as oppose to the passive users of television. People get on the Internet to do tasks, not to relax. This adds to the short attention-span audiences and the easier acceptance of short-form content. Had they made this point, their article would have better supported the argument that YouTube can't compete with television.

In their final paragraph, they explain finally that the YouTube format makes things too difficult for advertisers because people can click  away too quickly, and audiences aren't pulled through a commercial passively as they would be during a television commercial break. The glaring oversight in this article is how phenomenally easy YouTube and web video makes it for advertisers in terms of targeting the ideal market. YouTube videos are all classified with tags and by genre, and they are all dripping with immediately available demographic information. It doesn't require a market research company to identify a YouTube show's audience or their numbers - it only requires a mouse. Even witless machines can partner commercials with the right eyeballs, without a minute of time burned by an intern.

This topic is of great importance to me because I would like to see the platform of YouTube expanded. Why isn't drama flourishing on YouTube? Why has no long-form series exploded in popularity quite like The Guild? With the over-saturation of cheaply-made, user-submitted content, will YouTube ever be seen as a provider of professional, TV quality shows? In what ways can TV and web-based video work together to support each other's industry rather than be seen as competition to one another? I hope New Media Rock Stars posts articles in the future that address these issues with more diligence.

1 comment: