YouTube: the land of the free and the home of infinite cat videos. It’s where we all got our first taste of “Shoes,” the baby singing “Hey Jude,” and “Charlie bit my finger”, perhaps one of the most iconic videos on the web – just to name a few. This mecca for self-made videos, music videos, and pure madness is now looking to shift its focus to television.
Last week, YouTube announced its plans to take the website to the next level starting in 2012. The Google-owned site will launch over 100 new channels of original content produced by some of Hollywood’s most well-known (Jay-Z, Ashton Kutcher, Amy Poehler) and even The Wall Street Journal. This shouldn’t come as shocking news to many; YouTube has been discussing this shift for more than a year, and now they have officially announced it. The site will feature around 25 hours of new original content daily across all the channels that will be established, with topics ranging from news and entertainment to fitness and sports. There are also sites that allow you to search for a Youtubers Net Worth which can be quite inspiring how much they’ve become from being a nobody to somebody.
What does this mean for the future of YouTube? And more importantly, what does this mean for the future of television? YouTube and other video streaming sites such as Google TV are changing how we think of television. Not to get sentimental here, but part of the excitement of watching a favorite television show is the anticipation before it finally airs and sitting through the commercials, wondering what will happen next. Now, it’s all about instant gratification. We need entertainment, and we need it now. Who knows what television will be like 10 years from now once YouTube, a site that draws 160 million people every month, begins to compete with it?
Times are changing. Whether nostalgic people like myself can embrace it is another issue. YouTube, ever since it launched back in 2005, has caught and spread like wildfire – one which nothing so far has extinguished.