YouTube - The New TV?

14/10/2013 12:24 BST | Updated 23/01/2014 23:58 GMT

In 2012 I wrote an article discussing the ever growing video platform 'YouTube', and how it arguably has grown into the new TV. Since then I constantly rethink how within that time YouTube has still continued to grow. It is clear to see the e-media platform constantly pulls in an audience and with programmes being available to watch on demand, anyone being able to create their own 'channel' on YouTube, and catch up on programmes, is there any more use for the small box that sits in our living rooms?

A popular form of e-media and broadcast convergence over the last few years has been user generated content on YouTube. The video sharing website allows anyone with access to a camera to share their captured moments. This website has proved popular in the last few years with a certain species known as 'vloggers.' If you don't know what a vlogger is it is a person who makes video blogs or to dumb it down - an individual who sits in front of a camera and talks about their life (I am one of those people and proud to say so! Vloggers are proof YouTube has grown with the latest meet and greet called 'Summer in the City'. Originating with a small group of creators meeting in a park, within three years it has become 'the largest UK event dedicated to the YouTube community'. Thus, Youtube 'stars' are now getting the same attention as television celebrities where thousands of fangirls screamed over a vlogger they have only ever seen on their 13inch laptop screens.The reason vlogging has become so popular over the years is that anyone can make a vlog. Yes even you. The reasons it seems so popular is it is free to upload; free to get feedback and a great way to share your content.

But why am I suggesting this could become 'the new TV'? The generation of today is moving more towards e-media than any other platform. With this mass audience open to the online virtual world 24/7 it seems silly not to consider the fact that the internet is the perfect place to, as YouTube says, 'broadcast yourself'.

In Jason Mittell's (2011) book 'Flow TV' he describes how his generation are use to the 'flow' format of television, allowing you to 'lie back' and absorb, whereas his children's generation are into the 'framework of files' being able to pick and choose what they watch, 'digital objects to be accessed in menus and manipulated via an interface.' YouTube embodies this, same as BBC iPlayer and Channel 4oD, the new generation grows up to interact with what they watch and actively choose. 'Clicking, scrolling, pointing and navigation are practices that transfer across platforms' and, as Mittell comments, actually becomes part of the new generations interaction with their viewing schedule and may be the actions that draw them away from television screens and instead take them to laptops and tablets.

However, there is now the option on devices, like the Sky Box, to have On Demand settings meaning you can record programs and watch them when you choose to, but the internet is somewhere where you have it all in one place. So I can see why YouTube itself may not become 'the new TV' but the internet may take over the idea of a family sitting down on a Saturday evening with their dinner trays to watch the latest episode of 'Doctor Who'.

It is undeniable that YouTube continues to grow, but it may not necessarily be the one site that replaces television. It might become just one of the many online sites that provides its audience with oppositions to create their 'file' schedule rather than old-school 'flow' system. I admittedly never sit on the sofa any more to watch television, this will only be a rare occasion at Christmas when I'm home with all the family and everyone revisits old traditions. Now my viewing takes place sat on my bed with my laptop next to me playing whatever I click on or I spend my time checking my own viewing figures on my channel. Technically, I create my own television content from my bedroom as I film a video, edit it myself and broadcast it to an audience on my own channel. YouTube allows me to do the same as the BBC or Channel Four, just on a much smaller budget for which I thank you for an opportunity that helped me gain work experience and a place at university.

On reflection, has the internet already taken over television and soon will everything being on simply one device smaller enough to fit in ones pocket? However technology grows, we are only being provided my more opportunities so embrace them why you still can.


Summer in the City

MITTELL, J., 2011. Tivoing childhood: time-shifting a generation's concept of television. In: M. KACKMAN, ed. Flow TV television in the age of media convergence [online]. London: Routledge, pp.46-54 Available from: DawsonEra

Original article

Alice Stansfield YouTube