Technology is our friend: Tough Quotes about TV and Digital Natives
Back To Normal

April 17, 2013

Tough Quotes about TV and Digital Natives

You will find a million new quotes everyday how TV is dead and how advertising will kill it once they get to realize it. But if you find quotes from a guy who will very soon reach a billion (1.000.000.000) views with a news channel (!!) on YouTube, it might be advisable to listen.



The guy's name is Cenk Uygur, and I found these two quotes in a short article on paidcontent.org:

“They grew up on YouTube. That is their TV.”

Of course "they" refers to the audience of "The Young Turks", the billion-view-channel. From my own experience, i can somewhat relate to that. When i was growing up, having an own TV in your kids room was the most desireable thing. Getting older, the richer kids could add a game console and a VHS recorder. But owning a TV was really important. Now, kids in my environment ask for their own laptop, an iPod touch or an iPad (to add to the Nintendo DS that they get a lot earlier in life) - and all they do is watching stuff on Youtube. There is no linear programming, and you don't even have to record anything. Except for movies on DVD the laptop is their primary source of audiovisual entertainment. TV is used for stuff "that isn't on Youtube" - and for TV events, currently for example "The Voice Kids" (in our household). I think it is legitimate to say "YouTube is their TV", meaning it is a (way cooler, richer, better) version of what the TV was to us. The second quote is even more interesting (and disturbing, in a way):

“To them, TV now equals fake. And online equals real.”

To us, the "old generation", the (early or late but still:) immigrants in the digital world, this may seem cynical. But I think Uygur has a point there. He lead into the quote by talking about "authenticity" as a primary success factor, and YouTube as an environment for content features both animations, Batman and music videos but also home made, authentic stuff that - and you get a sense for this when you heavily use YouTube - can be published by anyone. Content on TV must have gone through hundreds of hands and must have been challenged, discussed and changed by multiple boards and committees. Not that anyone would be aware of these processes, but everyone gets the feeling that it is "controlled" (even if only controlled by time - each TV channel still has just a capacity of 24 hours of content each day). Controlled is suspicious, uncontrolled is not. This might sound disturbing at first, but there is a truth in it: If I can find the opposite opinion on Youtube as well, or read in the comments that something is fake, I can at least get the impression of an open "competition of opinions" or "battle of interpretations". That is real. On TV, the news - think for example about Fox News - claim to be the voice of truth. The same channel does not really give me a second, maybe completely different opinion or interpretation of things. From this standpoint, diversity and plurality is real, and controlled, monopolistic media offers are suspicious at least. The kids' instincts are intact, I think.