There’s no question that traditional media tends to characterize online video — and YouTube in particular — as a cute fad. Certainly the bulk of the stories are about the “one hit wonders,” Internet clichés, and sensational hits like Chris Crocker, Sneezing Pandas, laughing babies and Star Wars Kid.
When I saw some recent Comedy Central parodies, I actually got a little frustrated that comedy writers are captivated with the drama prairie dog, and misses the more interesting trends:
- Amateurs are gaining very active, loyal audiences. Watch the “highest rated” videos of the day, and you’ll see a collection of creators that live on this list. They have relatively small but extremely devoted audiences.
- Artists that create paintings and eBay them. Communities meeting together. Daily webisodes that are more succinct and appealing than much of television.
- Some creators, despite conventional wisdom, aren’t on a rapid pursuit of scoring television shows either. A few are making comfortable livings (six figure and up) and enjoy the creative freedom that only online video can provide.
The boys on Southpark were right that the distribution channel is still far from a mature monetization model. But it’s getting more interesting and obviously an important trend and not a fad.
As I was thinking about all this, I felt compelled to spoof my somewhat defensive reaction. So here’s me taking this argument to an absurd extreme. Attacking media for stereotypes, only to resort to groveling for an SNL deal with Lauren Michaels.