As the web blurs lines between amateur and professionally-produced content, Seinfeld insists that a hierarchy remains.
Years after dominating television screens, most Seinfeld fans probably think Jerry’s off the air for good. But the “show about nothing” star is still going strong, opting for a show on Sony’s Crackle over another traditional TV gig. “TV is over” he declared, summing up that decision in only three words. But while Seinfeld sees the internet as the future for show business, his comments weren’t entirely positive towards web-original content. Specifically the comic lashed out at Google’s YouTube and the amateur talent that calls the platform home, calling the site a “giant garbage can for user-generated content.”
Jerry Seinfeld sees a big difference between web-original content like his own series “Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee” and your standard YouTube fare, lamenting that people “don’t expect quality programming online.” While it’s true that content quality can vary widely on a site like YouTube, with much of it being of little interest to most, there are also plenty of talented amateurs, success stories, and even budding celebrities who have gotten their start there.
While Seinfeld points out that there’s nothing special about the television medium compared to online video, one key distinction is the lower barriers to entry and lack of traditional media gatekeepers in the online space. Given his distaste for YouTube, which anyone can upload any video to at no cost, it’s possible that Jerry Seinfeld would prefer the presence of those gatekeepers to their absence. But as more consumers dump traditional television for online viewing, they’ve shown plenty of demand for both: professionally produced and curated content as well as quirky amateur content.