Originally Published at http://goo.gl/g7sqOT
I have beheld the future of television, and it is not a television, it is not a bunch of competing apps, it is not a service dedicated to re-airing broadcast shows on the internet. In fact, it is not television at all, not in the classic sense. It is social video, and it is dominated, at the moment, by Google.
YouTube is the top social video service on the market by light years. It rivals Facebook for time spent on its service by its users (and YouTube videos are widely shared on Facebook and other social networks), and for number of users and active members.
Google is adding thousands of music videos, movies, and television shows to YouTube, and will be actively marketing and promoting original YouTube content to the tune of about a quarter-billion dollars. They are in the processes of pitching and developing YouTube more formally as a platform for brand marketing, content monetizing, and even eCommerce.
Google TV or no Google TV, YouTube stands a good chance of becoming the new primary mode of video consumption and video maketing, if it isn't already. YouTube does one thing and it does it well: social video. Its name is memorable and easy to market, and it's proven to be "sticky".
In one area, however, YouTube's social video prowess has been a let-down: video as a means of real-time social communication and entertainment. Microsoft owns Skype, the largest video chat service on the planet, integrated directly with Facebook. Real time social video entertainment, meanwhile, has been the domain of things like Justin.tv and Ustream. Enter Google+ Hangouts and Hangouts On Air.
Google+ hasn't yet found the one niche that every consumer can identify it with, but the one emerging most rapidly, especially as the media and entertainment industries embrace it, is the Hangouts feature, real-time video chat with up to ten people at once (at the time of writing this). Hangouts On Air have extra features, like Live streaming of the Hangout and recording of the Hangout to YouTube.
The potential of this feature is recognized by pioneers like musician (and Google+ success story: http://goo.gl/DeJvV)+Daria Musk, News Anchor +Sarah Hill of KOMU-TV in Columbia, Missouri, +Melissa Carlson of KRNV in Reno, Nevada, +Dan McDermott of Google Plus Week, and more.
Sarah Hill's example is instructive, a glimpse into where television news is heading. As an anchor she brings the Hangouts into the newsroom and into the news cycle, and recently began to stream the television broadcast itself (sans commercials) into the Hangout. The experience is one of total immersion and engagement in the broadcast experience.
Guests in the Hangout watch the broadcast unfold, and interact with each other and the news anchor. She interacts with guests Live on television, and during commercial breaks and between segments. She asks guests their views on news stories of the day, or asks about what's making news in their world. She also engages with the stream of comments during the broadcast left by people watching but not joining the broadcast. After broadcasts, she uploads recordings of the Hangout to her YouTube Channel (http://goo.gl/ZLqVS).
The future of news is social, and what Sarah Hill is pioneering is true social news for an era of true social television, with real time reactions and trends, and global reach to a Live online audience. It's the way news should always should have been, in my opinion.
Daria Musk is another example, a musician "discovered" by hosting marathon Google+ Hangout Concerts, which she continues to do in support of the online community that brought her to where she is today. Her Hangout concerts are a sign of the future of all musical concerts, some day in the not-too-distant future, when all (or most) concert hosts will want to leverage the power of social networking.
Mobile devices and Smart TV's will only accelerate this trend towards and bring it into other areas of the media and entertainment industries. Google, if they are clever, will probably want to accelerate adoption of Hangouts in these industries by doing more to develop and promote them on Google+, and also to bring them more fully into YouTube. Hangouts seem to belong on YouTube more than Google+, anyways. By rolling it out, little by little, to YouTube users, they can even encourage membership in Google+.
The technology for video chat, recording, and streaming is becoming mainstream and even portable, and the possibilities for social video to disrupt existing channels of media (including any social networks that are weak in the social video market) is inestimable. Together, Google+ Hangouts and YouTube could pack a wallop to topple industries, erect new ones, and change social networking, communication, and entertainment forever.
special thanks to +martin shervington for helping to inspire this article.
#SocialMedia #YouTube #HangoutsonAir