Video didn’t kill the radio star, but the Internet probably will. It’s not going to happen real soon but statistics by different organisations in recent times are already showing an upward trend of people starting to watch more videos online than on television.

In the United States, websites like Hulu has become like God’s gift to couch potatoes. One is able to watch many popular TV shows on the Net, and for free, including the likes of Glee, Family Guy and Lost, among others.

Unfortunately for us in Malaysia, this service isn’t available out of the US.

Many of you are not fretting however because there’s always YouTube. While some of the videos posted on the social media site are not all legal (and they get removed a day or two later), you can find virtually anything you want to watch there.

Heck, sometimes the amateur videos are way better than the Hollywood flicks.

The numbers speak for itself. YouTube turned five yesterday and announced some staggering numbers to commemorate the occasion.

Five years is a long time in Internet age, but YouTube‘s numbers keep increasing. Its videos now exceed over two billion views a day. That is double the viewership of the three biggest networks in the US put together — ABC, CBS and NBC.

In five short years, YouTube has changed the landscape of popular culture. Susan Boyle would never have been such a phenomenon, T.I. and Rihanna might never have sampled the Dragostea din Tei for their hit song Live Your Life if not for the Numa Numa Guy.

We would never have been introduced to the lonelygirl15, who poured out her soul to captivated viewers each day (by the way, she turned out to be an actress for a web-based video series) or discovered that Star Wars fans are all, umm, geeks.

More so than this however, YouTube has changed the way people watch videos. People blame MTV for its audience’s shorter attention spans. Well, YouTube is not helping.

These days, it is not unusual to watch web-series shows which are barely a few minutes long! Even in Malaysia, online reality shows like Malaysian Dreamgirl and Project Alpha have adopted the same concept.

Of course, there is still the issue of sustainability, and YouTube, for the most part, remain free.

There are other options of course, in terms of viewing shows online (and there is an abundance of made-for-web shows out there, if the Streamys Awards I wrote about a few weeks ago is anything to go by).

Then there is the soon to be launched Google TV, which is said to be able to bring the web to television sets. Sure, this is not specifically related to watching shows online but with this move, who knows what the future of television or videos are?

Even locally, there is all the talk about TV channels, video-on-demand and interactive channels to be offered by TM’s new high speed broadband feature, Unifi.

These possibilities, together with new technology gadgets — like the iPad — for example, is enough to get your imagination going as to what the future of video might just be.

So, will the Internet kill the radio and TV star? Only time will tell.

YouTube, in its blog post to commemorate its fifth anniversary, wrote:

”Since we never could have predicted all that happened in YouTube‘s first five years, we certainly can’t imagine what the future will look like.”

But then, it went on to make a bold statement.

”After all, this is only the beginning of the video revolution. We’re just getting started.”

Between you and me, I can hardly wait.

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