YouTube is revolutionizing the entertainment industry one viral video at a time. From award shows, to million dollar earnings by creators and opportunities for substantial ad revenue, the video platform will eventually replace the television that most of us have always known.
I watch YouTube videos more than I watch television, and I think this applies to most of my generation and the generations to come. As attached to our smartphones as we are, the ease of access and choice of content is what, in my opinion, makes the platform so popular. While television has certainly been around the longest, YouTube has noticeably become surprisingly similar and has almost surpassed television as a better outlet for creators. The website has served as a platform for many of today’s celebrities to launch their careers from.
In 2017, Forbes released its list of the highest earning YouTube content creators, and the revenues are astounding. Lilly Singh, a comedian, raked in $10.5 million in 2017, translating her video diaries into a book deal. PewDiePie, a gaming and commentary channel, made upwards of $12 million. Dude Perfect, a group of five friends, made around $14 million performing stunts and stupid tricks on video. However, the largest earning creator for 2017 was Daniel Middleton (DanTDM). Since launching his channel in 2012, the British Minecraft player has received almost 11 billion views and earned around $16.5 million.
There are even award shows to showcase the accomplishments of YouTube creators, just as the Emmys do so for television. The Streamy Awards “honor the best in online video and the creators behind it. The annual event brings together the biggest names in YouTube and online video for a night of celebration, discovery, and meaningful recognition.” With categories like “First Person,” “Gaming” and “Pranks,” the award ceremony is reflective of exactly what video consumers flock to the platform for. In addition, the Shorty Awards “honor the best of social media by recognizing the influencers, brands and organizations on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Instagram, Snapchat, Musically and more.” While covering multiple social media outlets, the categories range from “Vlogger of the Year” to “YouTuber of the Year.” The rising popularity and notoriety behind video content on YouTube has brought the medium prestige, exhibited by the establishment of these award shows.
Advertising has also noticed this change in viewing habits of consumers. Data from a 2017 Google study shows YouTube as the second most used search engine in the world. According to another Google study, the YouTube user base is also extremely engaged, with 95 percent advertising viewability and 95 percent advertising audibility. As well, in order to watch most videos at this point the viewer has to watch at least five seconds of an ad, as well as having ad pop-ups on the sides of videos. The opportunity for exposure is immense for advertisers online.
On the contrary, ads are struggling trying to survive the traditional, declining TV outlet. Another study in 2017 revealed that television viewership is on its way down. The biggest takeaway from the study lies in the 18–24 age group, where nearly half of TV viewing time has moved to other platforms such as YouTube. Even when people are watching TV, most change the channel to avoid commercials, proving advertising in this platform to often be fruitless.
Whether in its creation of the online millennial celebrity, the promising space for advertising and revenue, or the immense creativity and choice in both making and viewing video content, YouTube is quickly replacing the traditional television set. We will soon trade in our clunky flat screens for its handheld cousin, the smartphone and its YouTube app.