Two of the most appealing aspects about YouTube, and web based TV, are creative original content and minimal advertising. Compare what can be found on YouTube and the Internet to what is currently playing on television, and it shouldn’t come as a surprise why YouTube is steadily gaining in popularity. Television is swamped with “reality” shows, unoriginal ideas, and tons of commercials. Saturday Night Live is an excellent example for the over-advertising that is the norm. I remember when there would be at least three or four sketches before a commercial break. Now, there seems to be a commercial after every sketch. Another factor is how much time younger people are spending online, and are naturally looking for entertainment there as well. The young teen and twenty-something audience those advertisers so heavily rely upon are online, not watching television. It’s time for the advertisers, and TV networks, to get online as well.
The closest thing to a solution so far, at least for TV networks, is probably Hulu.com. This is the FOX and NBC online site that allows you to watch movies, full episodes, and clips of many television shows with minimal advertising. I was surprised not to read about Hulu in the article, but then I saw that it was written before Hulu came around. I wonder what Garfield would have to say about Hulu…is it the missing link he was talking about? But does it compete with YouTube? There are also lots of other web-series out there. Maybe the evolution of mass media is the development of web TV networks? YouTube and the web-series could be compared to what TV was to radio when it first was invented. There are many original, interesting, and entertaining web-series out there. Dr. Horrible’s Sing Along Blog, created by Joss Whedon of Buffy the Vampire Slayer fame, that was immensely popular. The Guild, created by Felecia Day, is another example. The people who are creating series like these are at the forefront of the new mass media. It is my hunch that they are the people who advertisers should be paying attention to, and not YouTube.