The Clinton Herald, Clinton, Iowa

Top News

June 21, 2013

Can TV ever stop YouTube?

(Continued)

PALO ALTO, Calif. —

I shower you with all these stats not to depress you. Instead, the numbers underscore the huge opportunity that's driving Netflix, Amazon, Apple, Microsoft, Facebook, Google and dozens of startups looking to transform how we watch TV: by giving us more choice over what we see, by adding new interfaces (like voice control), and by unhooking us from a monthly cable bill. But the same stats also illustrate the difficulty of their quest. If nothing has threatened traditional live television so far, what new tech could possibly get us to switch from the tube?

Well, how about YouTube? Over the last couple years, the Google-owned video-streaming site has attempted to transform itself from a vast repository of clips into something more refined and worthy of our sustained attention: the perfectly personalized television network. If the gambit succeeds, one day not long from now you'll think of YouTube as a cable network built just for you, a place you escape to for entertainment, news, learning and voyeurism, no matter what device you're using or where you are.

YouTube has certain natural advantages in its battle to win the TV wars, the most conspicuous of which are scope and scale. The company aims to deliver its videos to every device, from PCs to TVs to phones, in any corner of the world. In May, it announced that people now watch about 6 billion hours of YouTube videos per month, a 50 percent increase over last year. That's more than any other video site on the planet — Netflix, for instance, serves about 1 billion hours a month. But it's far less time than we spend with traditional TV. We watch as much YouTube in a month as we watch TV in a day.

YouTube's efforts to turn itself into the next generation of television have been chronicled before — Fast Company, The New Yorker and Time have documented the firm's $100 million push to create hundreds of new channels by indie producers. (The fund also went to produce video at established sites, including, for a time, some of the offerings on Slate's YouTube channel.) At the same time, YouTube is working on deals to stream the high-budget shows that you get on TV. But two problems have hampered the site's effort to mimic television. The first is speed. Can YouTube ever load its videos as quickly as you can switch channels on TV, and stream them at the same quality you expect on the tube? The second issue is "discovery." Finding what you want to watch on television isn't easy, but it's a problem of manageable scope. On YouTube, the choices aren't infinite, but they might as well be. A given YouTube video tends to be shorter than most TV programming, it appeals to a far more limited and precisely tailored audience, and it's drowned in a sea of millions of other clips. How will you ever find enough stuff on YouTube, then, to make your experience comparable to what you get from the flat-screen on your wall?

Text Only
Top News
  • Take a 'National Night Out'

    For one night every year, communities across the country celebrate National Night Out, a nationwide initiative to fight crime and promote safe communities.

    July 31, 2014

  • David Evers Evers' duck decoy hits auction block

    From just a block out of a basswood tree, David Evers creates award-winning pieces of artwork.

    July 31, 2014 1 Photo

  • The virtues of lying

    Two computational scientists set out recently to simulate the effects of lying in a virtual human population. Their results, published in the Proceedings of the Royal Society B, show that lying is essential for the growth of a cohesive social network.

    July 31, 2014

  • Screen Shot 2014-07-31 at 2.12.55 PM.png VIDEO: Five-year-old doesn't want her brother to grow up

    Sadie, an adorable 5-year-old from Phoenix, wants her brother to stay young forever, so much so that her emotional reaction to the thought of him getting older has drawn more than 10 million views on YouTube.

    July 31, 2014 1 Photo

  • Well affected by mercury spill is working again

    Mercury remains in one of Clinton’s Archer Daniels Midland wells, stemming from a November 2013 spill. But according to an independent study, threat levels are below Iowa Department of Natural Resources standards.
    The affected Well No. 4 returned to operation earlier this month.

    July 31, 2014

  • Blake Holovach Holovach converting back to a starting pitcher

    When Blake Holovach takes the mound tonight along the Mississippi River in Davenport, it’ll be in the first inning, which he wasn’t accustomed to in the past.

    July 31, 2014 1 Photo

  • Relay for Life: Stepping toward awareness

    Statistics reveal that cancer continues to remain the second most common cause of death in the United States, claiming one out of four deaths every day.

    July 31, 2014

  • Holly Youngquist Friends of the Library book sale is underway

    Friends of the Library Book Sale is open now. The sale is open to all until 8 p.m. today and on Friday, Aug. 1, from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. Finally, Saturday, Aug. 2, is box day. From 9 a.m. to  3 p.m., books will sell at $3 per box.

    July 31, 2014 1 Photo

  • LETTER TO THE EDITOR: Cremation service helped pet owner in her time of need

    I wanted to share some positive news about a business located in Clinton that I’m guessing most residents aren’t aware even exists. It’s Northridge Pet Cremation on Main Avenue and for me they were recently a godsend.

    July 31, 2014

  • Darryl Hogue Fulton superintendent settles in to new position

    One month into the permanent River Bend School District superintendent job, Darryl Hogue has experienced the long hours, stress and the learning curve that comes with any new position.

    July 31, 2014 1 Photo

AP Video