This one is easy. The future of TV is no TV. Or rather, the TV is a display device for content that doesn’t come from traditional sources like NBC or HBO. Don’t believe me? Go into your local high school and take a poll about what kids are watching. There you will learn that most of them are watching more YouTube than anything else.
Next, fire up this video. It’s a highlight of the top YouTube stars from 2015. Recognize any of them? If you’re over 20, congratulations if you get more than one or two.
Put those two things together and you can see that the kids growing up today don’t care about the sitcoms or reality shows on TV. They don’t care about traditional television studios and actors. They are gobbling up content from YouTube stars.
At 35, I’m an old fart in this discussion and my opinion is hardly relevant, but I’ll tell you how my viewing habits have changed. I used to consume a LOT of TV. My scheduled recording list was 40-50 shows long (granted not all of them were actively producing episodes at the same time.) Now it’s down to about half a dozen. On the other side, my YouTube subscription count has gone from 2 or 3 to 39. I love YouTube content because there is a video for every niche. For a while I was watching a bunch of RC plane channels and now I’m watching a lot of woodworking channels. The people in these videos are more “reality” than any reality show on TV. I’ve interacted on social media and even snail mail with a bunch of them. It’s way more engaging than drooling on a couch chuckling at a joke written to appease the lowest common denominator.
So no, TV isn’t dead today or even in five years. If I knew how old-fashioned television studios were going to survive this, I’d probably be a wealthy man. But just keep this in mind the next time you hear about some kid watching YouTube. It’s not just a bunch of people getting kicked in the balls anymore. There are billions of hours of legitimate content out there and all those eyeballs are creating some impressive business opportunities.