Why Television Has Lost to the Internet

02/10/2012 14:01 BST | Updated 01/12/2012 10:12 GMT

Once upon a time, professionals made television programs and amateurs made home video.

The only time you'd see amateur content on TV was in the form of dreary-looking clips of people falling over on You've Been Framed or some shaky handycam footage of a daring pet rescue filmed by the neighbor and tacked onto the end of the local evening news.

Then along came a website called YouTube which, for a while, seemed to be the perfect platform for all the hilarious slipping idiot and heart-warming-cat-up-a-tree videos the world had to offer; leaving television to the professionals.

Except, as technology got better and more accessible, it became easier and easier for non-professionals to make and share their videos and, at the same time, YouTube had become so popular that even Chinese State Television envied the viewing figures.

Meanwhile, with ever-increasing competition and shrinking budgets, it was becoming harder and harder for anyone with a healthy dollop of originality to make television.

All of which meant that creative types with a good idea, who before would have had no choice but to climb the laborious TV production ladder, now had a viable alternative to a system which was more or less closed to them anyway and seemed to collectively breathe a sigh of "well bollocks to it".

Before long, the internet was filled with brilliant videos, documentaries, animations and short films innovatively showcasing the talents of their non-professional creators the world over. And TV land was left scratching its head wondering what to do next.

To their credit, some professionals raised their game and produced some inspiring television. Others scrambled to tap into this new online potential, even creating brand new TV channels to encourage it. But, alas, the damage was already done.

With a generation of influential viewers and would-be content makers lost to the internet, television soon followed suit. But suffering from a massive creative hemorrhage, the only thing it could come up with was a bunch of list shows with countdowns of the rudest, weirdest or dupstep-iest viral videos as seen on the internet.

Today, there is so much amateur content on television it makes You've Been Framed seem positively ground-breaking. With programs like Rude Tube (which usually feature some squeaky ex-T4 presenter who makes you want to bite off their fingers and punch them in the face until they actually begin to resemble Jeremy Beadle) making a quick buck off the huge pool of original user-generated content, which would never have been commissioned for TV in the first place for fear it would be too rude, weird or dubstep-y.

Now, it seems that the only way to be able to make a truly innovative TV show in the UK is to write clever satirical comments about TV shows from the safety of your own website until such time as you're given a TV show to make the same clever satirical comments about TV shows, which becomes so popular that you're given another TV show in which you make a clever satirical comment about the way in which making clever satirical comments is the way to be able to make a truly innovative TV show.

All the while highlighting that, by the very same process, you've become the thing about which you started making clever satirical comments.

And if you read all that in Charlie Brooker's voice it becomes even more meta.

And if you do that whilst watching Black Mirror you implode into a scathing critique of white noise.

Now that would be a YouTube video worth watching.