In a world where you can watch anything, anytime, anywhere, TV has finally escaped the shackles of, well, the TV.
The rise of BBC’s iPlayer and its swiftly put together on-demand contemporaries have, for the last few years, made TV scheduling near irrelevant. Now available on both the internet, TV digiboxes themselves, games consoles and even smart phones, it’s made missing the latest episodes of a show a non-factor.
Even the uniformity of digital recording has stopped the BBC from telling you when you could watch that latest episode of Eastenders.
The rise of other on-demand services like LoveFilm and recent import Netflix have also done their part to make watching TV a whole lot easier experience. Now, TV shows that would have been lost in time and expensive DVD boxsets can be watched quickly and easily, meaning that quality TV is now only a few clicks away, no matter when it was meant to be on.
But it’s not only the TV channels and companies themselves helping to make TV free, the internet’s doing it its own way, giving air to the content that before would never see the light of day.
The unbelievable success of YouTube has been the catalyst. With tens of millions of users, people who might not have been able to make it in the entertainment industry before have an enormous audience to play too.
Now the website itself is trying to get in on the act, deciding to use their might to create completely original content.
With the announcement that BAFTA nominated director Bryan Singer (The Usual Suspects, X-Men) will be making a new TV show for the website, YouTube’s original content is now trying to match those in the regular old TV business. Having now just released a highly promising trailer, the sci-fi show will be coming out on the website on August 8th.
It’s not the first time that YouTube has commissioned a show though. Far from it.
Over the last month, YouTube has been pumping out TV quality shows with star names on their new, exclusive channel WIGS. Having snared in Jennifer Garner, Julia Styles and Stephen Moyer to star in the shows, these bite sized chunks of quality have been getting over 100,000 views each, not bad considering the poor job YouTube did of advertising the channel.
While the marketing will get better, the start is hugely encouraging.
Other video sharing sites have also been going on the offensive in terms of original content, trying to snare a TV audience ever hungry for more, and importantly, different content. American sharing site Hulu has been creating shows like Kevin Smith’s film review show ‘Spoilers’ and acclaimed director Richard Linklater’s travel series ‘Up To Speed’.
While Hulu continues to believe that only people in the US exist (it’s currently only possible to watch their content across the Atlantic), their willingness to get creative is encouraging.
YouTube’s global head of content Robert Kyncl has even predicted that "Over time, you will see more and more television properties, television channels distributed over the internet."
With American giants Netflix and even Yahoo now entering the production game with the announcement they will create drama re-make House Of Cards (starring Kevin Spacey) and Electric City respectively, the traditional TV makers are going to have to take a lot more notice of the growing online forces in the next year.
FemaleFirst Cameron Smith