For decades’ television dominated American life as the main “medium” for which they received their everyday messages. Like television dethroned print as the most popular medium, television itself is being dethroned by streaming services such as Netflix and YouTube. Television took over as the main medium because it appealed strongly to children. Marshall McCluhan claims “Our children are striving to carry over to the printed page the all-involving sensory mandate of the TV image.” McCluhan also claims “print asks for the isolated and stripped-down visual faculty, not for the unified sensorium.”
YouTube and Netflix are the prime example of “mass media” in today’s society. For many of the younger generation YouTube serves not only as a means of entertainment and to watch cat videos, but also serves as their primary source of news and even television shows and sports. With the rise of YouTube, it is leading directly to the decline of television viewership and the grip of cable companies on American society. According to a study done by Techcrunch.com “2014, 8.2 percent of former pay TV subscribers surveyed by TiVo subsidiary Digitalsmiths said they ditched their service – an increase of 1.3 percent over the prior year. Meanwhile, a much larger 45.2 percent said they reduced their cable or satellite TV service during the same time frame.”
Millions of people are turning to YouTube and Netflix primarily as their medium to receive all their news and entertainment. Netflix has begun to develop their own original series, and some have become incredibly mainstream and popular that some subscribe just to watch one series. One such show is Orange is the New Black. Not only was Orange is the New Black a successful original series, it became a cultural phenomenon, even making its way into the New York Times as a native ad.
A popular phenomenon that YouTube gave rise to was vlogging. Vlogging gives viewers a snapshot on how someone lives, how they dress, how they do their make-up, how they spend their money etc. Vlogging channels such as Charles Trippy and ShayCarl have millions of subscribers and they all tune in to watch how these people and their families live.
YouTube gives viewers and creators something that isn’t afforded to television shows or movies, complete freedom. This freedom allows creator to showcase their own individual behaviors and styles of thinking without corporate or advertisement interference. On one hand, YouTube allows for organic growth of trends, but on the other the rise of YouTube has given way to corporations looking to get into the market and paying for sponsored content. One of the main reasons for cord-cutting is the prevalence of advertisements and with advertisements making their way onto YouTube many are beginning to rebel.
As a result of all these factors, television companies have begun to take drastic steps to compete. Dish has started offering a new service called “Sling TV” which offers an affordable streaming option for live television. One thing that Netflix, Hulu and YouTube can’t offer is live TV, so Dish is hoping that by making the option affordable people will stick with live tv.
Do you think television will one day be a streaming service with options available to have a normal box option? Sort of like the way flip-phones have to be special ordered and smart phones are the normal option.