I found this discussion of YouTube to be rather interesting, though somewhat dated. The article was written in 2006 and I believe that YouTube has only grown in popularity since then. As far as I have seen, YouTube has changed little since its purchase by Google. The article discusses ways in which a monetary gain can be produced through advertising the way that television has commercials. YouTube has yet to introduce commercials before or after videos placed on the site. I think, and it would seem that the executives in charge agree, that this would be detrimental to its popularity. If YouTube did this, or charged people for membership with the sight, then competitors would create another site that would please users more. YouTube is not a revolutionary technology, but a revolutionary idea that happened to come about at the right time. Adding commercial spots, or charging would simply make for the right time for a competitor to succeed.
The idea of targeted advertising would likely be more successful. This, however, does not guarantee that a user would follow the link to the advertisers page. Likewise, television has developed easy to use technologies that allow viewers to skip commercials. TiVo and DVR have made it possible for people to record shows and fast-forward through commercials. I think that the introduction of non-intrusive targeted advertising on YouTube could eventually prove as successful as television commercials. If internet connections continue to improve, and streaming video technologies allow for better quality then YouTube could probably surpass traditional television in popularity. This coupled with many television viewers skipping commercials could make YouTube the new mainstream media. I think that television networks should start airing second runs of their shows on this platform. This would benefit the user with better quality, reduce illegal copying and sharing, and benefit the networks if targeted advertising can be implemented. Maybe something can be worked out that networks buy YouTube accounts and advertisers pay the networks to place ads on their “channels.” In this way, YouTube could remain user friendly, with limited commercial intrusions.