Is YouTube the future of television?

Source: Google ImagesBy the time you've finished reading this post, more than 35 hours of video content will be added to YouTube. Here is a direct quote from YouTube's blog: "Another way to think about it is: if three of the major US networks were broadcasting 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year for the last 60 years, they still wouldn’t have broadcast as much content as is uploaded to YouTube every 30 days." Just let that sink in for a minute... 

Ok great another 35 hours just got added. 

YouTube has 3 significant advantages over traditional television: Choice, ubiquity and interactivity. Before I go on to explain each of these factors, I want you to seriously consider the possbility that YouTube may become an original content provider very soon. YouTube is also looking into streaming live sports and movies. Ultimately, I believe that Google's goal with YouTube is to allow it to become the only entertainment platform that any consumer would ever need. That being said, here are 3 reasons why this dream may one day become a reality:

1. Choice - YouTube gives a consumer an almost limitless amount of choice. Not only in terms of content (a variety of different channels) but also in terms of picture quality, playback speed and playback time. Essentially, I can choose to watch something when I want and how I want. Yes a PVR may provide you with this same functionality but it lacks one big factor... 

2. Ubiquity - I can watch YouTube where I want. The growing ubiquity of the internet and web-connected devices like smartphones and tablets has given YouTube a tremendous advantage over traditional television. Unless you have a device that can stream your TV to other devices elsewhere (like a slingbox), with traditional television you are limited to the confines of your couch. On the other hand, you can be entertained by YouTube from any location that has a decent internet connection. 

3. Interactivity (most important for marketers) - This is probably the greatest advantage YouTube has over traditional television. Firstly, YouTube is inherently a social platform. It already has a growing community of users and it allows users to easily share content across different social networks. This offers content producers a new level of measurement beyond what traditional TV offers ... the viral spread. Furthermore, with YouTube's new advertising platform TrueView, users can essentially give permission to be marketed to. This not only helps marketers understand what type of ads work better, but also gives users a feeling of control over the marketing message, rather than the constant barrage of messages that traditional TV offers. The final aspects of YouTube that make it a dream for marketers are: the targeting of ad messages (YouTube is owned by Google so you can only imagine how successful YouTube search ads have the potential to be) and the extension of ad messages (Since YouTube is an online medium, extending an ad onto a webpage or social networking site becomes extremely easy for marketers). 

Final thoughts: The only thing which I can see standing in the way of a YouTube television revolution... is tradition and in a way... habit. Ever since its introduction, people have become used to sitting on a comfortable couch/chair and being entertained by their TVs. In order for the revolution to come into fruition, connected televisions need to start replacing regular cable/sattelite boxes. Tradition should fear, disruption is near.