The future of television is now being created by the people running Google’s YouTube video service, John Seabrook writes in an enlightening article in the New Yorker.
That future, which is already well under way, will see a further evolution of the medium from the days when TV consisted of three channels to the fragmented present-day version with hundreds of cable channels, and beyond to the dawning Internet video era, which will bring tens of thousands of channels.
On TV, Seabrook points out, airtime is a scarce resource, but on YouTube it’s infinite.
Google exec Robert Kyncl, one of the chief architects of the new video world, says: “People went from broad to narrow, and we think they will continue to go that way — spend more and more time in the niches — because now the distribution landscape allows for more narrowness.”
According to Kyncl, the advantage of the niche model is its immersive experience. “For example, there’s no horseback-riding channel on cable,” Kyncl says in the piece. “Plenty of people love horseback riding, and there’s plenty of advertisers who would like to market to them, but there’s no channel for it, because of the costs. You have to program a 24/7 loop, and you need a transponder to get your signal up on the satellite. With the Internet, everything is on demand, so you don’t have to program 24/7 — a few hours is all you need.”
Click here to read Seabrook’s in-depth piece.