What Will Kill the YouTube Star?

Backlit keyboard on my MacBook Pro
Photo by Casper Folsing

The Buggles once sang, “Video Killed The Radio Star.” The Limousines sang, “The Internet Killed The Video Star.” However, as time goes on, and future generations give birth to new inventions, we are left wondering what, if anything, will kill the Internet? After hearing a story earlier this week about a couple of prominent YouTubers, I assumed the answer would be the inevitable evolution of building the Internet through commercialism.

It all started with an announcement from Fine Bros Entertainment, run by brothers Benny and Rafi Fine, announcing a new plan to license out its React brand and video format on a profit-sharing basis. Anything resembling their incredibly general video format would be scrutinized, and the act called attention from a very angry YouTube community who pointed out how much of a slippery slope having ownership to any reaction videos would have, since no one needed a template in the first place.

The endeavor, thankfully, backfired after the repercussion due to the potentially obvious act of profiteering and exploitation of the creativity of others. Their announcement video was soon taken down, while everyone on the Internet spoke their piece about the controversy, and a taste of the inevitable was left in the mouths of the millennials hoping to share their artistic side online, make money themselves, and become Internet famous.

Managing a YouTube channel with AdSense coupled with other moneymaking opportunities becomes a business with innovative people creating interesting content and developing their own studios and networks. The same story happened for today’s major television and film networks, which was only a repeat of the once mighty radio.

We have watched creative people over time invent new technologies and mediums for sharing their own content. We have seen those content creators grow and form large organizations and sustain themselves through commercial means, and we have looked on while some of these mediums either have died or evolved drastically over time to stay relevant in a world where the next best thing is banging on its front door hoping to steal the stage.

Individuals have uploaded most of the content on YouTube today, but major well-established media corporations and other organizations offer some of their material via YouTube, as part of the YouTube partnership program. YouTube Red, YouTube’s premium subscription service, has launched and then re-launched offering ad-free streaming of all videos, as well as access to exclusive original content.

In a matter of eleven years YouTube has went from three PayPal employees to the world’s most popular online video site, with users watching 4 billion hours worth of video each month, and uploading 72 hours worth of video every minute—but what comes next?

If “Video Killed The Radio Star,” and “The Internet Killed The Video Star,” what will kill the Internet?

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