YouTube Offers Original Online Channels

30Oct11

Years ago, if you had cable television in your house that meant you probably paid less than $50 a month and had thirty channels to choose from. If you had satellite TV you had the luxury of many more channels; however, you had to deal with the pesky dish that was installed on the side of your house and the interference every time it rained. Within the past decade it has become standard to have hundreds of channels, (though cable prices have also spiked) and other advances such as On-Demand have completely revolutionized the cable television industry. It’s no wonder Americans spend so much time in front of the television – they have a multitude of channels they can watch, they can record shows, order shows or movies, and rewind and fast forward through commercials. The only other thing that competes for our time as much as television does is the internet. And even those lines are becoming blurred.

YouTube recently announced that it will be expanding its presence to online channels, much like cable TV. While viewers spend an average of fifteen minutes a day on YouTube, they are spending and average of five hours a day watching television and YouTube plans to get a chunk of that time. Mario Quieroz, head of Google TV (YouTube is actually a part of Google) says they don’t think this is going to replace TV, but it is designed to be complimentary to it (NY Times).  YouTube’s new venture will indeed be free; however, it won’t be offering traditional network channels, but original channels that can’t be seen anywhere else. YouTube has partnered with celebrities and up-and-coming media companies, as well as their own existing partners to create new channels that will appeal to a wide variety of interests.  Some channels will be released in November, but many more in 2012.

I’m not really sure how this will change people’s everyday lives or if the channels will even be successful. I think it will take some time to get off the ground and establish followers, and I do agree that this is not something that is going to replace traditional TV.  Sure people enjoy the mobility of their computers and the ease of finding a channel that matches their interests, but they also enjoy sitting around with their friends and family to watch a television show. Things like Hulu and Netflix may actually be more competition to cable television, as viewers already know what they want and they offer what is actually on television, at their convenience.  No matter how YouTube TV ends up doing, at least they will get some great consumer data with considerable advertising opportunities.

http://www.adweek.com/news/technology/youtube-announces-channels-136180

http://www.nytimes.com/2011/10/29/business/media/youtube-plans-to-create-new-online-channels.html?scp=2&sq=youtube&st=cse

http://www.youtube.com/creators/original-channels.html

~Stephanie Smith

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