Can YouTube and TV peacefully co-exist?

Sometimes I wonder how life was possible without YouTube. I’ve spent many, many hours glued to the site since I first became aware of the platform, and it was like a domino effect.

One video would make you think of at least three more clips you hadn’t seen in God knows how long, and down the rabbit hole you gladly tumble. (See video below, for example).

So then I see the headline on the cover of the New Yorker: “Can YouTube Kill Television?” 

Certainly people are used to watching on small screens because whether they’re watching on their computer or an iPhone, access is the key. You want to watch what you want to watch – when you want to watch it. (Try saying that five times fast.) And more Hollywood writers and directors are moving into television, and some believe it’s a new golden age for the medium.

Still, writer John Seabrook did pose the question on The New Yorker if YouTube could kill off TV, which I don’t imagine happening any time soon. YouTube is like plotting your own ADD network, and you can pull up all kinds of stuff to watch, but will they do serious original material and shows some day? 

Tim Shey, an executive at YouTube, told the New Yorker, “I’ve worked in TV, and I’ve been the one green-lighting projects. Believe me, the YouTube way works much better.”

Seabrook also felt there could be problems if YouTube moves away from what makes them YouTube, much like what happened with MySpace, and even more disastrously, NetFlix.Yet another source told Seabrook, “I can tell you what YouTube is not going to do – generate shows like Friends, 24, and C.S.I.” 

And although it hasn’t happened yet, many people point to outlets like YouTube where the next revolution in entertainment could be launched, not in the movie theaters.

At least one person told me if something’s going to spark the explosion, it will be something short and brilliant on the web, not something feature length. Although this hasn’t happened yet, it will be very interesting, potentially exciting and maybe indeed even revolutionary, when something does actually happen.