It’s no secret that more and more people are opting to watch videos online rather than surfing channels on traditional television. For much their existence, user-created video sites like YouTube have been seen as distinct and separate from television. But as more content is found and delivered through the Internet, and unhappy cable subscribers continue to cut the cord, that line is starting to blur. Now cable TV, subscription services like Netflix, and other online video sources like YouTube are increasingly seen as being within the same category.
YouTube and other such sites are no longer strictly for amateurs. In fact, many of the so called channels and networks are becoming lucrative business opportunities, drawing investments from Hollywood studios and even venture capitalists. It isn’t hard to see why either, as advertisers begin to tap into growing online audiences, shifting more and more of their marketing budgets from cable TV advertisements to the web. The content creators of the web have been quick to wise up, with the most successful ones eschewing the basic offerings of YouTube-owner and web advertising giant Google, and instead pursuing their own relationships with advertisers, negotiating ad spots and product placement deals not unlike the big studios.
The real value for everyone in content created and offered on the Internet is the low barrier to entry. Without a major investment and/or the backing of a large company, your average Joe cannot even get on television for 10 minutes, much less offer a dedicated channel of content. But online, anyone can be up and running with their own “channel” in a matter of seconds. Producing content is easier too. Creating content for online consumption can be done with little more than a cell phone with a camera. Many such videos have gone viral, racking up millions of views. Others have grown small but dedicated followings. Since they are able to achieve such things without the pricey facilities, staff, and equipment of the studios, advertisers and investors see that home-brew content offers access to a significant number of eyeballs with a fraction of the overhead.
Since the inception of television, the big studios, broadcasters, and cable companies have served as the gatekeepers of the airwaves. But now that content is increasingly delivered via WiFi waves instead, and the content viewers and content creators are becoming one in the same, those gatekeepers are becoming obsolete. As the cable companies struggle to keep subscribers, online content outlets are only growing, and companies like FreeCast Inc are embracing the future of television. Their media guide pulls content from across the Internet, organizing it to allow viewers to select content and eventually curate their own TV experience. Just as online video sites puts users in control of content creation, Rabbit TV puts users in control of content consumption. Rather than waiting for their favorite shows to come on, or hunting them down across various channels, websites, apps, and services, content from all these sources comes together in a one-stop-shop, giving the user the power to manage them and watch what they want at their leisure.