YouTube, Advertisements, and Generation C

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Lately there’s been a lot of buzz about the influence that YouTube has on the rest of mainstream media.  As everything is changing so rapidly networks are fighting for viewers right next to cable networks.  Premium cable networks are fighting with new online content put out by other subscription services.  Somewhere in there, YouTube is holding it’s own.  In fact, it could easily be argued that YouTube is winning.

In order to better understand where YouTube stands, I want to give a brief outline of house these other companies make money.  As much as I am interested more in the creative aspect, having an understanding of the financial makes me more aware of the industry as a future creator and helps viewers to have a better understanding of why these corporations makes choices in the way they do.

Network television includes the “big 4” networks, CBS, ABC, Fox, and NBC.  If you include The CW it’s 5.  If you have the right kind of TV, these stations are free to pluck out of the airwaves.  Legally they must provide news coverage along with entertainment.  They make their money from advertising revenue, AKA commercials.

The next step up is basic cable.  These are networks like TNT, TBS, and USA that create original content to run next to syndicated repeats of network shows, as well as 24-hour news channels like CNN and MSNBC.  Whatever your niche is, you can probably find it on basic cable.  These channels are scrambled in the airwaves and you have to pay a cable company a subscription fee to give you a box to unscramble it.  These companies make money two ways, through the subscription fee as well as through advertising revenue.

Beyond that are premium cable channels and subscription services.  These are considered separate entities by some, but they turn a profit in the same way.  They include HBO and AMC, and Netflix, Hulu Plus, and Amazon Prime.  These services run solely on subscription fees and are broadcast through scrambled airwaves, digital boxes like a Roku or Apple TV, or through online streaming.

Then comes YouTube.  While there are a few other video hosting sites, Vimeo and Yahoo! Screen come to mind, YouTube holds the market share.  YouTube is viable only through advertising revenue which include sidebar ads (that run along the bottom and sides of web pages), lower third ads (that pop up along the bottom of a video), and pre-rolls (commercials that run before a video will play).  The difference here is in the content.

While TV networks and subscription services create their own content or pay syndication fees to run older shows made by other studios or networks, YouTube content is made by individuals and uploaded to the site directly.  This leads to lots of videos of cats and stupid human tricks, but also has allowed for a new type of content to emerge.

Web content falls under a handful of categories and, in a similar style to basic cable, anything you want, you can find it online.  What I’d guess to be the most regular and consistent content is vlogs (video blogs), how to videos, and web shows.

In the case of any of these you can easily subscribe to a channel (the term used for a YouTube creator).  Once you’ve subscribed, their videos will show up in your subscriptions list and you can follow their comments and likes on other videos.

To me, and clearly to thousands of others, what makes web content great is the community it creates.  By following a how to channel I have a group of people I can go to if I have questions.  By following a vlogger and commenting on their videos I start to become a part of their online community.  By following web shows and interacting with other fans in the comments we create a whole new experience of fandom.  Down the line this leads to things like VidCon and other meet ups where fans can meet the creators.

Creators of web content are more accessible to what’s starting to be called Generation C (“C” stands for community).  While sometimes described by year, Generation C is defined more by their way of interacting with each other online.  Generation C is made possible by YouTube, Twitter, Facebook, and Tumblr.  The platforms they use to stay connect to each other across city, state, country, continents, and oceans have shaped their existence and these habits are being cemented into popular culture.  Get ready, because it’s not going away.

Are you a member of Generation C?  What type of media gets your eyeballs?

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Oh Cable Television, How do I Love Thee? Let Me Count the Ways!

So, it seems to be that this month is the month of TV schedules here on the blog, and while that wasn’t necessarily the original plan, I think I like it slightly better.  It is impractical to talk about cable shows by the day they are on the air, so instead I will be talking about these under the slightly broader heading of networks.  In Reverse alphabetical order:

USA has consistently served up shows that I don’t think are going to work and then manage to prove me wrong to the tune of five or six seasons.  It’s one of those cases where I love being wrong.  Seriously though, a football psychiatrist (Necessary Roughness)?  A doctor who only makes house calls (Royal Pains)?  Do those exist?  Couples therapy for cops (Common Law)?  And of course, a fake psychic detective (Psych).

Okay, I’ll admit that the only one of these shows that I consistently watch is Psych, but still, USA has so many cool concepts, and so many great characters.  Bonus, all the people who work on these shows seem to be the chillest people ever.  Proof?  They Psych cast at Comic Con this year.  Okay, even I’m seeing that this is a little pineapple heavy, time to move on.  I’ll watch: Psych.

TNT is the network that I would most like to work for someday.  Well, I’d like to work for anyone who would hire me, but I feel like I would really get along with the people at TNT (in my head everyone who works there is somewhat serious with a dark sense of humor; they wear a lot of black).  Their shows include The Closer and it’s step-child Major Crimes, as well as Leverage, Rizzoli & Isles, a reboot of Dallas, and a show called Perception.

Of most note to me here is Leverage.  You guys. I have seen a grand total of three episodes of this show and I’m already in love.  Gina Bellman!  Christian Kane!  Crime!  I’m overwhelmed by how much I love this show, and I know it’s only going to get better when I, you know, watch more of it.

I’ve also seen bits of Major Crimes, and so many ads for Perception I may as well have seen the whole show.  Both seem good, if not quite my usual style.  I love that Sasha Alexandra is in Rizzoli and Isles.  I missed her when she left NCIS oh way back when.  Overall TNT is pretty awesome.  Because when they aren’t showing their own content they’re playing repeats of The Mentalist, which is also awesome.  I’ll watch: Leverage when it comes back and Major Crimes when I’m at my parents house.

HBO is… heavy.  Everything they do is a huge production, and everything is well done.  The production value on everything they come out with is through the roof and that in and of itself is noteworthy (so here I am taking note).  Comedy and Drama, HBO is the real deal.  Curb Your Enthusiasm, Girls, and Veep are only the beginnings of comedy; and Boardwalk Empire, Entourage, Game of Thrones, and The Newsroom are all fabulous.

As previously discussed, I have mixed feelings on Girls.  It’s a working relationship.  Game of Thrones is one of the most talked about shows in the TV department and I can’t even start with my frustration over having been away while The Newsroom was airing this summer.  I still haven’t seen all of it.  Terrible television student, I know.  I’ll watch: The Newsroom.  And probably Girls.

The Discovery Channel is where I get my “reality” TV.  While I love scripted TV the most, there is a special place in my heart for shows that are unscripted and are actually able to teach me something in the process.  Or at least be wonderfully interesting and full of fun facts to spout out to strangers at a later point in time.

My favorites are most definitely Mythbusters and Dirty Jobs.  Teaching me randoms stuff and being wildly entertaining.  I also think I saw Grant once on the street in San Francisco.  NBD.  I’ll watch Deadliest Catch in a pinch every once in a while too, but for the most part, I’ll watch: Mythbusters and Dirty Jobs (on repeat, forever).

BBCAmerica.  I love the BBC.  I love that they exist and use government funding to make cool shows.  I love that it’s British.  I just love it.  I don’t know that I can actually explain why.  I just do.  I love Doctor Who and Torchwood and The Hour and Sherlock and anything staring Gordon Ramsey.  Really.

At the moment Dramaville includes Luther and Copper, both of which have landed themselves on my too watch list.  I was underwhelmed with Copper upon first viewing, but I feel like I need to give it a second shot.  In the meantime, I’ll watch Doctor Who and Ramsey’s Kitchen Nightmares.

AMC is here so that it doesn’t feel neglected.  Though, with all the talk of their shows (especially Mad Men), I doubt that will happen.  I don’t actually watch any AMC shows for reasons that may or may not be legitimate, but I won’t know how much so until I get around to watching The Walking Dead, Breaking Bad or Mad Men.  Until then, I can’t make much of a judgement call other than to say that they all come fabulously recommended from people who’s taste in television I trust explicitly.

And that’s it.  I think, all cards on the table, I have to say that I don’t actually have cable.  I get TNT for now, though I’m not sure I’m supposed to (not complaining).  I go to my friend’s place and we rent out the media center to watch Doctor Who on BBCA every Saturday.  I get snippets of these shows from classes, loaned DVD’s, friends houses, Netflix, and the shows that are on Hulu or a network’s web player.  What can I tell you, I’m in college.  I can’t afford cable right now as sad as that is to me.  One day.

Cable provides an awesome place for creators to play.  There are less limits and bigger budgets which allows things to happen on a larger scale with more raunchiness or violence.  Neither of those things are elements that I’m always in favor of, but I do think that there is a place for it and in this world, that place is cable TV.