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Sunday, 20 August 2006 19:30

YouTube a serious threat to TV

By
Last month everyone was talking about MySpace. This month, no one can say enough of the online phenomenon that is known as YouTube. And from a brief perusal of the site which is basically a vast repository of video clips, it's easy to see why.
I just viewed a less than 2 minute video clip of an unknown Russian guitarist displaying the most dazzling jazz-rock fusion technique I have ever seen. All you see are his fingers weaving their magic on the guitar fretboard. This clip just happened to be near the top of the home page and has been viewed almost 100 thousand times.

If you think that's a lot of exposure, just below that clip is a one minute clip posted three days ago by a nice looking blonde girl (sounds like an Australian) doing a clever rap in a put-on American accent. That one has been viewed nearly 630,000 times!

There is a veritable smorgasbord of thousands upon thousands short and longer videos that home users have made and posted to the site. Users get to give clips ranking of one to five stars. Those that get the highest rankings tend to get put into the most prominent positions and get viewed the most times.

YouTube gets 16 million visitors a day! Along with social networking sites like MySpace and news aggregators like Digg, YouTube is the new media paradigm. The public provide their own content. They decide what's good and what's not. They choose what they want to watch and when they want to watch it.

Instead of channel surfing in front of a TV set, many young people and some older people now sit in front of their computer screen and seek out and watch some of the best original content being made by ordinary and extraordinary people around the world. They can also participate and post their own content if they wish. All they need is a web cam and a microphone.

The TV industry is watching what is happening on YouTube with no small measure of interest. However, early indications are that big TV understands the potential that a site like YouTube can provide as a marketing medium to reach the audiences the TV networks want to reach.

The question is how long will it be before full length TV shows come to YouTube. And how will they be funded.

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Stan Beer

 

Stan Beer co-founded iTWire in 2005. With 30 plus years of experience working in IT and Australian technology media, Beer has published articles in most of the IT publications that have mattered, including the AFR, The Australian, SMH, The Age, as well as a multitude of trade publications.

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