Online Video Killed the Television?

Is cable television dead? Are the days of sitting down and turning on the television soon to be a thing of the past? Yes, these are heavy questions and ones we’re sure television executives really wish weren’t viable. The reality is that television might actually be on its way out. All thanks to the Internet. Oh and a very popular website called YouTube.

Yes, YouTube. YouTube has only been around for six years – but given its wide-reaching impact and effect, it really feels like longer. YouTube was officially launched on Feb. 15, 2005 when founders┬áChad Hurley, Steve Chen, and Jawed Karim ┬áregistered the domain. After posting a few short videos on the site, it didn’t take long for retailers, specifically Nike to recognize the potential of online video. On October 21, 2005 the first Nike commercial launched and was viewed on YouTube. The official launch date for YouTube was Dec. 15, 2005 but the website was quickly gaining steam before the “official launch”.

YouTube has now grown to a site that sees in excess of 1 billion visits a day. Yes, 1 billion. Companies, everyday people, advertisers – everyone has embraced YouTube. Basically if you have a way to capture video, you now have a way to access millions – maybe even billions of people. In fact more and more people are turning to online sites such as YouTube for the entertainment and news.

What YouTube did is show us how easy it is to post video on the Internet. It also spawned an entire industry of folks who can now use their creative talents to create compelling digital online video advertising, movies, television shows, and video podcasts. This has wide-spread acceptance of online video has flowed over to mainstream television stations now making their shows available online, providing live streaming of events (recently the World Track and Field Championships), and of companies making video part of their social media strategy.

A couple of weeks ago, the Danny MacAskill video titled Industrial Revolution was posted on YouTube and as of this minute has been viewed 2,116,392 times. And this is for a video of a guy doing some very cool stuff on his bike! Imagine the power of this medium to advertise products, spread messages, make your movie or book a bestseller – yes, pretty much infinite.

And now thanks to various websites, people are even dropping their cable and choosing to download television shows (often free of commercials). The need for the television cable subscription package really may be going the way of the dodo. So what does this mean for your big 50 inch flat panel television? No problems, simply hook your computer up to the television and watch your favourite shows, movies, YouTube videos, Vimeo videos, and live streamed events.

Do we think the days of cable are long gone? No -not yet. But it is up to the cable television stations to really get with the times and recognize that the cable channel subscription package is not really a viable business model. Why pay for 300 channels when you get your entertainment on the Internet and not have to worry about commercials and you can pick and choose what you want – when you want it. All thanks to a small start-up called YouTube.

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