“Television as we know it is dead” is a statement we’ve been hearing for years, but the truth of the matter is that few people are actually “cutting the cord” on conventional television. This dream may still be a few years off, but listed below are few of the many sites that are working to bring us to that dream.
Created originally by Sony Pictures as a way to promote their new movies and back catalogue, the site has grown immensely in the past few years. Beyond old Sony content, an impressive host of popular anime shows, the site also releases a host of short- and long-form “TV” shows exclusively on their site. Including shows featuring Jerry Seinfeld, Dominic Monaghan (“Lost”), the Groundlings, Michael Ian Black and even Joshua Malina (“The West Wing,”) makes for an exciting lineup of alternative content.
Originally created as Yahoo’s video-sharing alternative to YouTube, the user-generated content side of the project was scraped. In its place, Yahoo! Screen hosts original short form “TV Shows” from a variety of industry professionals. These shows include an original animated series produced by Tom Hanks, a fake reality show from Ken Marino (“Children’s Hospital”) and Ben Stiller and even a comedic interview show from “Saturday Night Live” writer Mike O’Brien. Although their catalogue of original shows may be less extensive than other sites’, the quality of the shows and talent involved tend to be first rate.
My Damn Channel
Created by former MTV and VH1 programming exec Rob Barnett (he helped create “Behind the Music”), My Damn Channel is a platform for comedians, actors and filmmakers to produce profitable online content. Through Barnett’s connections and the site’s success, the site now produces shows from entertainers such as Jimmy Kimmel, Sarah Silverman and even Gilbert Gottfried. Beyond content backed by pseudo-celebrity names, the site also produces hits such as “You Suck at Photoshop” and “Wainy Days,” both of which are definitely worth checking out.
Originally a “network” for video podcasts, Revision3 has acquired many online video producers to create a formidable site for alternative content. Acquiring favorites such as “Epic Meal Time” or Gary Vanerchuck’s “Wine Library TV,” Revision3 has proven itself to be a premier online content provider. Recently purchased by Discovery, the network is even using a number of the shows to promote the channel’s infamous “Shark Week.”
Although watching videos on YouTube as an alternative to conventional television would not be much of an insight, in the past year partnerships from major content producers mean that YouTube is now producing and distributing more conventional “shows” that serve as strong alternatives to conventional television. With YouTube “channels” such as Sourcefed (a news and politics channel) or WIGS (Where It Gets Interesting) a “channel for women” producing weekly shows at an upwards of 20 minutes in length and with production values of major studios, claims that “YouTube will kill traditional TV” may be coming true and may be happening in a more conventional sense than originally thought.
Donald Dimick is an Arts and Entertainment columnist for the Trinitonian. He is a senior communication major at Trinity University.